From a young boy who grew up in Canberra, to the legendary basketball player he is today, Patty Mills’ career has reached remarkable heights.
Today, Patty was named ACT Australian of the Year for her sporting achievements and work as a native mentor.
Patty grew up in southern Canberra and traveled to the United States in 2007 on a sports scholarship to St Mary’s College, California. He was the National Basketball Association champion in 2014 while playing for the San Antonio Spurs, and currently plays a key role for the Brooklyn Nets alongside NBA stars Kevin Durant and James Harden.
Although he is known for his achievements in the United States, Patty is a proud Australian who describes his role as Australian flag bearer at the Olympics in Tokyo as “incredible”.
“As the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flag, my connection between our country – the land, the sky, the sea, our culture, our history and this special moment – sticks extremely deep.”
It was at the Tokyo Olympics that Patty once again made history when he led the Australian Boomer basketball team to win his first ever medal at the Olympics.
Although there was no live audience for the match due to COVID restrictions, the emotions and pride of Patty’s performance surpassed TV screens across the country, resulting in a collective national celebration.
Off the field, Patty is an outspoken advocate for native rights.
He has written children’s books, supported youth groups and is the founder of the Team Mills Foundation – which gives a voice to minorities through multiculturalism and diversity. He also launched a non-profit organization Indigenous Basketball Australia to provide grassroots basketball programs to young indigenous peoples.
In 2020, Patty donated $ 1.5 million to the Black Lives Matter Australia, Black Deaths in Custody and We Got You campaign.
Patty, a proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, inspires the next generation of native children to see that they too can represent Australia, no matter which platform they choose.
While Patty was unable to attend the ceremony due to training commitments, women’s rugby pioneer and Wiradjuri woman Katrina Fanning, who was named the ACT Australian of the Year in 2019 and has known Patty “received most of her life”, received the award on his behalf.
“What Australia thinks Patty has achieved on the basketball court is probably nothing compared to what he will achieve in the course of his life. He’s a great guy.”
Other winners of the ACT Australian of the Year 2022:
ACT Senior Citizen of the Year: Val Dempsey
Read the story of Waltz
ACT Young Australian of the Year: Sean Dondas
Read Sean’s story
ACT Local Hero of the Year: Luke Ferguson
Read Luke’s story