Aussies in the NBA: Mills talks leadership, his website and losing Banger
This is part 2 of The Pick and Roll’s exclusive interview with Patty Mills conducted by Alistar Sullivan. If you didn’t catch part 1 where Mills talked about Kobe Bryant, his plans for the All-Star Break and his toughest player to guard in the NBA, you can read it here.
Becoming a leader
Patty Mills is in his seventh season in the NBA, fifth with the San Antonio Spurs and the team is now entrusting him with the responsibility of imparting some of the knowledge he has gained in his career.
Mills has embraced the opportunity given to him by the Spurs and has been fortunate to learn his leadership skills from three future Hall-of-Famers in Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.
“Timmy is a leader different to what Manu is, both of those are different to how Tony leads is as well. So it’s good to oversee the different ways to lead” Mills says.
The Spurs experienced the highest turnover of players between seasons they’ve had for a long time and Mills says he has relished putting his leadership chops to work helping the younger additions and new veterans adapt to the Spurs way.
Having the young guys in, and newer guys as well and being able to help them, get them going with a new group, a new system and then buy in, but it’s both off the court, on the court and locker rooms and all sorts of stuff, but it’s great to put it to work at least, and test it out. I think it’s there’s any environment that you can succeed as a leader it’s going to be this one. Any other environment from here on out, I think it will be easy.
On his upcoming website
Mills is set to launch his own website which will detail both his personal and hoops life which he hopes will be able to readily explain who he is and his background.
“I think it quickly answers everyone’s questions about me and who I am and where I’m from, especially over here in America, really quickly and easily” Mills says.
That’s probably the biggest thing I’ve learned about being over here is that it takes people to ask the question and for me to answer before they really understand and know where I’m from. There’s times where people don’t even believe it, they need to ask me like ‘are you really from Australia and Aboriginal?’
— Patrick Mills (@Patty_Mills) January 29, 2016
Mills was recently appointed as the first official ambassador of the NBL, and says when he is finished playing in the NBA he plans to give back to the game in Australia at the grassroots level.
“I’ve obviously teamed up with the NBL to be able to set the basis to be able to build something for the end of my career, so that will be awesome.”
His goal is to reach out to more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children around Australia and get them involved in basketball, while providing them with a positive role model.
“It will be great to be able to see my vision and their vision come together to make it happen. That’s where I think it’s going to make strides, to be able to team up with them and get it onto a national level to help all indigenous kids around Australia,” Mills says.
“To give them an opportunity because that’s all they really need. For me to stand in front of those guys, and be actually there for them to see me, I think it’s going to be the biggest thing, because they may have some sort of belief when they can see [me]”.
— The Pick and Roll (@PickandRollAU) August 26, 2015
Mills lost his Aussie teammate and good friend Aron Baynes during the off-season when the big-man signed with the Detroit Pistons.
While he misses having Baynes around the locker-room, he is happy for the ‘Big Banger’ knowing he has found himself in a good situation.
“Yes I miss the banter, and more-so him backing my banter” Mills says.
But I wasn’t [unhappy] because I knew he would get more of an opportunity where he is now, he’s going to make the most of it. So I wished him all the best because that’s the best move for his career at that point of time, and he’s doing really well there.
— Daniboo (@liradani9) October 19, 2015