Australian NBA player Patty Mills has set his focus on matters close to his heart, announcing the formation of Indigenous Basketball Australia (IBA) recently.
Just last month, Mills made headlines after announcing that he would be donating his NBA restart salary (over $1 million USD) to the Australian Black Lives Matter movement, in addition to the We Got You campaign, which Mills helped launch in early July and aims to eliminate discrimination in Australian sport.
Now, Mills has launched his first initiative, with Indigenous Basketball Australia seeking to to “instil basketball skills, values, and wellness in the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait lslander youth across Australia,” as per a press release.
Set to commence in 2021, IBA looks to overcome the numerous challenges and barriers faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in current Australian basketball systems and structures, and aims to focus on fundamental skills development and competitions by facilitating programs in regions across Australia.
Designed to help engage and empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and unlock their full potential, programs from the IBA aim to provide a safe, all-inclusive environment which fosters a sense of belonging within the wider community.
“Basketball as a sport has inspired me to be an exceptional athlete,” Mills explained. “It’s allowed me to dream big and continually find ways to learn and grow. But my love of basketball has come from the fact that it has brought me happiness, joy, health, education and knowledge with greater appreciation and perspective on life.
“At the end of the day, a platform was created for me to carry and be seen as my true identity as an Australian, an Indigenous man of the land.
“When I combine those experiences, I become aware of the positive influence I can have on my own people in Australia who are continuously oppressed. It makes me want to work harder at finding ways to provide better opportunities to make a real impact on the lives of my people. ”
Citing disproportionate detainment rate for Indigenous youth, Mills explains that everyone should feel a responsibility to take “urgent and innovative actions” in an effort to address this fact and help to improve the lives of Indigenous youth.
“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 concluded. “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.”
For more information regarding Patty Mills’ newly-announced Indigenous Basketball Australia (IBA), head along to their website.