Boomer Patty Mills on Friday launched Indigenous Basketball Australia (IBA), an initiative that focused on giving native and Torres Strait Islanders pathways to basketball.
Defined as “the first of its kind” in Australia, the IBA will begin in 2021, with the aim of bringing more Indigenous Australians onto the grassroots pathway that will enable them to encourage selection in professional competition both in Australia and abroad.
According to Mills, the program will enable Indigenous Australians to hone their skills and development in an environment “free from discrimination, criticism, judgment and exclusion”.
In a media release, the San Antonio Spurs guards and Olympian Mills three times said basketball “inspired” him to “dream big and continue to find ways to learn and grow”, and helping Indigenous Australian youth realize their potential and their own dreams were important to him as “a native.”
“My love for basketball comes from the fact that it has brought me happiness, joy, health, education and knowledge with a greater appreciation and perspective on life. In the end, a platform was created for me to carry and see. As my true identity as an Australian citizen, a native of the country, “Mills said on Friday.
“When I combine these experiences, I become aware of the positive influence that I can have on my own people in Australia who are continually oppressed. That makes me want to work harder at finding ways to provide better opportunities for make a real impact on the lives of my people. “
Mills also moved to explain the “massive negligence” faced by Indigenous youth in Australia every day, and added that he hoped the IBA would become a “vehicle” that would make more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living in Australia “healthy and safe lives “, with the ultimate goal of seeing more green and gold appeal in the future.
“Indigenous youth are detained at a rate of 23 times that of non-indigenous youths,” Mills said. “At present, of the 10-13 year olds imprisoned, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children make up about 70 percent of this younger age group. Statistics are disturbing and we must feel responsible for taking urgent action and innovative to overcome the major negligence that occurs in the lives of young Indigenous people.
“Basketball will become a vehicle, and IBA will drive this vehicle someday to see more Indigenous Australians using Green and Gold for Boomers or Opals. But if IBA can create a positive environment that allows my people to enjoy health and life security, to be accepted and participate in a society free from discrimination, then that was a real victory for my people in this life. “
Mills’s announcement came just weeks later he promised to donate his salary earned during the NBA “bubble” to the Black Lives Matter and other social justice organizations.
He also founded the Team Mills Foundation earlier this year, non-profit organization that aims to support minority groups and underprivileged families throughout the world.