New home, same goal: Mills is ready for the banner chase once more
After leading Australia to a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, Patty Mills has continued this momentum with the NBA's Brooklyn Nets.
The Tokyo Olympics marked not only a historic moment for the bronze medal winning Australian Boomers, but also Patty Mills’s ascension to the seat as Australia’s greatest ever national player. Entering the tournament as his nation’s flagbearer alongside swimming veteran Cate Campbell, Mills already had a decorated career in the green and gold, but his best was still yet to come.
Australia approached their climactic bronze medal contest against Slovenia with a determination to avoid another fourth place heartbreak. Luka Dončić had amassed a 17-1 record with the Slovenian national team, who reigned as the defending EuroBasket champions, and only narrowly lost to France following a last minute Nicolas Batum block.
But it became the Patty Mills show, as Australia’s talismanic point guard recorded 42 points and nine assists in a 107-93 Boomers win. The magnitude of these raw numbers, combined with the context of a medal on the line, probably make this effort the greatest individual game in the history of the green and gold. Mills deservedly made the Tokyo Olympics All-Star Five, joining the likes of Kevin Durant, who would soon become his teammate in the NBA.
Mills deserves credit for staying focused on his Olympic campaign while NBA free agency dragged on in the background. The 33 year old was previously San Antonio’s longest tenured Spur, and the last remaining relic of their 2014 championship, but sought greener pastures in a bid to win a second ring.