Spurs' Patty Mills launches Indigenous Basketball Australia

Annotation 2020-07-30 222708.jpg
Annotation 2020-07-30 222708.jpg

After pledging the remainder of his NBA salary this season for social justice causes and forming the "We Got You" campaign to address racism in Australian sports, San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills has now announced the launch of Indigenous Basketball Australia.

According to the website, IBA has been established to overcome the many challenges and barriers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face in the current Australian basketball systems and structures, and create pathways and opportunities at the grassroots level so they have a better chance to advance and succeed at the elite level.

IBA will focus on fundamental skills development and competitions by facilitating programs in regions across Australia to commence in 2021. These programs are designed to engage and empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and unlock their full potential.

“Basketball will be the vehicle, and IBA will drive this vehicle to one day see more Indigenous Australians pulling on the Green and Gold for the Boomers or Opals," Mills said. "But if IBA can create the positive environment that allows my people to enjoy a healthy and safe life, to be accepted and participate in a society free from discrimination, then that’s the real win for my people in this life.”

IBA programs will provide a safe environment free from discrimination, criticism, judgment and exclusion. It will create a sense of belonging within the wider community and serve as a platform to educate and address the socioeconomic disadvantage.

The programs run by IBA will be underpinned by culture, education, health, safety and well being. It will allow young Indigenous people to retain cultural practices, strengthen and promote their individual cultural identity and lead healthy lifestyles.

The programs to be delivered by IBA will be the first of their kind in Australian sporting history. The programs are aimed at providing a consistent flow of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players into elite basketball leagues in Australia and across the world and into Australian junior and senior national basketball teams in the future.

Mills vowed to continue to use his platform for good despite being sequestered in the NBA "bubble" campus and it seems he is living up to that promise.

Before leaving to Orlando, Mills promoted COVID-19 safety in San Antonio as well as bringing the NBA's first "Indigenous Night" at the AT&T Center.

Twitter: @JeffGSpursZone