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17 August, 2021

Hoops icon backs statue of Patty Mills

Australian basketball royalty Danny Morseu has backed calls for a statue to be erected of his nephew Patty Mills on Thursday Island.

By Matt Nicholls

By MATT NICHOLLS

Morseu, a Torres Strait Islander who represented Australia at the Olympics in Moscow (1980) and Los Angeles (1984), said it would be fitting if Mills was honoured with a bronze statue after leading the Boomers to a bronze medal at the Tokyo Games.

“I think it would be a wonderful opportunity to make it happen in the Torres Strait,” he told ABC radio last week.

“If they put it on Thursday Island I think it would be great for tourism in our part of the world.”

Morseu said he was brought to tears when the final whistle was blown in the bronze medal match between Australia and Slovenia, a match the Boomers won 107-93.

“It’s been a long journey ... it took us about 56 years to achieve that goal,” he said.

“When you reflect back to the 1964 Olympic Games and some of the great players we have had along the way; we have finally accomplished something with the bronze medal.

“It’s the culture in which Patty has probably instilled in a lot of the guys to be proud to wear the green and gold.”

PROUD PARENT

PATTY Mills’ dad Benny says he can’t wait to see his son after a long wait due to COVID restrictions.

“We haven’t caught up with him in a while because of the situation we’ve been in,” he said.

“We’ve spoken on the phone with FaceTime after the medal ceremony and kind of got in with the excitement and joy with him and his team.”

Mills is currently in quarantine and will have a short stint in Australia before heading back to the United States to link up with his new NBA team, the Brooklyn Nets.

He was traded from the San Antonio Spurs in the middle of the Olympics campaign.

The Spurs paid tribute to Mills in a video dedicated to the star point guard.

“We didn’t know what we were getting, really, when we got him,” legendary coach Gregg Popovich said in the video.

“As a basketball player, he’s gone off the charts with development.

“But as a human being and as a member of our society and a leader on our team. He’s been fantastic.

“He embodies empathy, awareness, an ability to be actionable after he speaks about things.

“He’s a very special human being, he’s doing things to try and make the world a better place.

“It’s been a thrill to watch him grow from just a guy who got signed and didn’t really have a role or wasn’t sure whether he was going to stay in the league or make it or anything like that.”

The Spurs picked up Mills after a lacklustre start to his NBA career with the Portland Trail Blazers, who took him with the 55th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.

Popovich took Mills under his wing and turned him into one of the finest role players in the league, with a ball-handling and shooting game that should benefit a Nets team featuring Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden.

After claiming the gold medal with Team USA at the Olympics, Popovich was in the stands – with a glass of red wine – to watch Mills score a stunning 42 points to guide the Boomers to victory in the bronze-medal game.

Popovich shared an emotional embrace with Mills after the game.

“We’ve talked before about what a wonderful human being he is,” Popovich said.

“He’s a really unique player. And he has been special for the Spurs, but he’s moving on to Brooklyn now, and we’ll miss him a great deal.

“It’s a good move for him, playing for a team that’s going to be a contender.”


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