Patty Mills has confirmed his commitment for his fourth Olympics in Tokyo next year, declaring he won’t stop until he wins an elusive medal for the Boomers.
Australia is yet to win a major men’s medal, and after the heartbreak of another fourth-placed finish at last year’s World Cup in China, Mills is determined to stand on the dais.
Asked what he was looking forward to most about the Tokyo Olympics next July and August, the veteran guard didn’t waste his words.
“A gold medal,” Mills said on a live panel discussing identity and wellbeing for the Australian Olympic Committee’s Wellbeing Week.
“And I say that in all seriousness. It is what you dream of as a kid, and it is what you continue to dream of as an adult.
“The mental and physical grind it will take, and the process we will go through as a group to get to that point to sing a victory song in the locker room while spraying champagne and feeling the burn in your eyes.
“Then standing on the podium with the biggest smile and biggest tears rolling down your face.
“When you look down the line and see your teammates presented with a gold medal around their neck, and to share that moment with the rest of the country – that is what I can’t wait for at Tokyo.
“Having that clear picture and vision in my mind is what I’m eager to achieve.
“After that, you know you’ve earnt the right to sit at the front of the Qantas plane on the way home.”
Patty Mills loves representing Australia, as seen at last year’s World Cup in China. Picture: Zhizhao Wu/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Mills also talked about the importance of the Olympics as one of the last global events that can genuinely connect the world in the current climate of racial tension and political agendas.
“The Olympics to me is about unity – worldwide unity – and it might be the only thing we have left that actually brings the entire world together in a positive way,” he said.
“That is the power of sport and that is the power of the Olympics as a worldwide movement.
“When you combine that with the history, what it symbolises and embodies, it becomes a highly prestigious event that you feel very honoured to be a part of.
“Every single person knows about the Olympics, whether they like sport or not, and they watch it because they feel part of it.”
Mills meets a young fan during a recent trip to Australia. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied
As brilliant as Mills is on the basketball court, his presence is equally potent in the community.
The San Antonio Spurs guard runs multiple programs, including the Team Mills Foundation and Indigenous Basketball Australia, a program aimed at creating pathways and opportunities at a grassroots level.
For Mills, making a difference in society means everything to him.
“My biggest achievement so far hasn’t been the NBA or an NBA championship or even being an Olympian,” he said.
“My biggest achievement is being able to accomplish all of these things but never lose who I am or my identity as a strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander man while inspiring everyone else to do the same.”
Mills is particularly focused on helping his fellow Indigenous people who struggle for an identity or even survival in some cases.
“And that needs to be accepted and respected,” he said.
“We as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia can’t afford to lose our identities.
“I think all Australians have to be involved in the progress within this space because it is our responsibility as Australians.
“And it starts by making the world understand the traditional culture of Australians and how important that should be to all of us.”
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