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Spurs' Patty Mills launches Indigenous Community Basketball League

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San Antonio Spurs' Patty Mills, left, drives against Los Angeles Lakers' Dennis Schroeder during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

SAN ANTONIO - San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills is wasting no time making 2021 his best year yet. Not only is Mills launching 3-pointers at a career-high pace this season, he’s also launching a youth basketball league in Australia, his home country.

The 32-year-old guard from Canberra, Australia plans to launch the inaugural Indigenous Community Basketball League this week with games scheduled to begin February.

Mills’ new eight-team league for under-14 will stretch across Australia to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, like him, an opportunity to fall in love with the game of basketball.

"To continue my efforts as a leader for my people and to follow my family's legacy of providing legitimate opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through my sport of basketball is the true outcome of my personal success and accomplishments," Mills said in an interview with Australia's The Canberra Times.

"Our complementary programs throughout the competitions of IBA will support these kids and their communities in embracing their culture and unlocking one's full potential in an environment that is safe and free from any discrimination.”

Whatever Mills accomplishes on the hardwood this season, I’m sure none of that will measure up to helping out the dozens of kids involved with his league. Mills’ hot-start to the season has him on pace to set career-highs in points (15 PPG) and 3-point shooting percentage (50-percent). Spurs twitter donned him with a new nickname entering this season: “FIBA Patty.”

Mills helped lead Australia to a fourth-place finish during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, where he averaged 22.8 PPG on 40-percent shooting form beyond the arc. The veteran guard continues to be the spark off the Spurs’ bench. His increased offensive workload has proven crucial to San Antonio’s success early this season.

Mills plans to expand his league to more areas and age groups. Who knows, maybe one day he’ll start a team in San Antonio?

Twitter: @PaulSaldana

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