SAN ANTONIO – Longtime Spurs guard Patty Mills was honored by the NBA on Wednesday for his continued efforts to create opportunities that empower Indigenous young people and advance social justice in his native Australia.
The league awarded Mills with February’s NBA Cares Community Assist Award that recognizes a player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and NBA players share for giving back to their communities.
The 12-year veteran recently founded Indigenous Basketball Australia to provide pathways for Aboriginal Australians to play basketball. The IBA tipped off the first-ever Indigenous Community Basketball League (ICBL) for players age 14 and under in eight locations across Australia.
The league uses basketball and Indigenous cultural practices to development and life skills education, including mental and physical well-being for dozens of children.
Throughout his NBA career, Mills has been dedicated to giving back to Australia with a particular focus on empowering Indigenous young people and communities of color.
Last summer, Mills, with the help of other Australian pro-athletes, launched the “We Got You” campaign that is dedicated to eliminating racism, exclusion and discrimination in sports. He donated the remainder of his 2019-20 season salary to social justice organizations after the Spurs went into the NBA bubble in Orlando.
Prior to that, Mills created the “Give Mama Coffee” campaign to help San Antonio coffee shops amid the pandemic and also raise money for victims of domestic violence.
Mills also organized a $750,000 donation from nine Australian NBA players in the wake of the devastating Australian bushfires earlier in the year. He traveled to Australia to help with the wildfire recovery efforts.
The award, which also honors the community service standard set by Spurs legend David Robinson, will be given to Mills before Wednesday’s Spurs-Kings game. Mills is now in his 10th season with the Spurs and has become a vital part of the organization and community off and on the court.