12 October 2023

NBA champion Patty Mills inspires Indigenous youth on and off the court

| Chisa Hasegawa
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patty Mills wearing a basketball jersey on the court preparing to shoot.

NBA champion and olympian Patty Mills uses his passion for basketball to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. Photo: University of Queensland.

University of Queensland (UQ) researchers have partnered with NBA champion Patty Mills’ not-for-profit organisation to boost sporting, educational and cultural pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.

Indigenous Basketball Australia (IBA), founded by Mr Mills and his parents Uncle Benny and Aunty Yvonne Mills, delivers grassroots basketball programs to inspire young Indigenous players on and off the court.

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Dr Keane Wheeler from UQ’s School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, a proud Ngarabal man, said the research partnership with IBA would use participation in sport to improve health outcomes.

“We’ll be developing a program for IBA players, coaches and officials to achieve at the highest level, with a strong focus on recruitment, retention and progression,” he explained.

Mr Mills said the collaboration with UQ would strengthen the IBA’s mission to provide pathways for participation and success for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths.

Uncle Benny Mills, wearing a black cap and black polo shirt, is smiling standing next to Dr Wheeler, wearing a royal blue UQ polo shirt and holding out a basketball.

Uncle Benny Mills from IBA (left) and Dr Keane Wheeler from UQ (right). Photo: University of Queensland.

“Dr Wheeler’s expertise and passion in using sport and exercise to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples perfectly aligns with what we aim to achieve through IBA,” he said.

Dr Wheeler explained that “by co-designing physical movement programs in a culturally responsive way”, the partnership had the opportunity to make a difference in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s lives.

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“I’m thrilled to be working with the Mills and the incredible IBA team, and to give back to my people in genuine and meaningful ways.”

Mr Mills said that working with like-minded partners brought “a true sense of fulfilment”.

“This collaboration will allow us to go beyond the court by encouraging our young people to embrace their culture, unlock their full potential and provide them with the best possible chance to succeed,” Mr Mills said.

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