|Farewell, And Thanks Patty Mills|
Numerous ‘fans’ will hate, others will mourn and some may not even care, but the influence Patty Mills has brought to the NBL and Australian basketball in such limited time has to be commended.
The 23 year old had so much on his plate this NBA offseason. With the NBA lockout in full force, Patty had no-one from the Portland organisation advising him on what to do.... so he did what he thought was best for him and that was to play some basketball. Not the ‘no defence’ exhibition games we see on mixtapes that Lebron and the rest of his fellow All-Star friends dominated over the summer… but real basketball. He led Australia on an international campaign that saw the Boomers play games over in London and Spain whilst sweeping New Zealand to qualify for the Olympics. He became the face of Australian basketball and fought hard for any publicity that would assist the sport in Australia. Patty could have easily signed with a European team sooner if it was about the money but instead, decided to pull on the number 20 for the Tigers in order to bring fans back to the NBL.
The influence Patty has had on NBL can't be measured. His persona alone brought supporters and publicity to the game. For the Tigers, his brilliance generated the Ambush Army, a collection of loyal supporters that bring passion to The Cage week in and week out. Fans flocked The Cage, selling out home games (the first in years) in order to get a glimpse of Patty. His Tigers jersey can be seen around the streets of Melbourne and his voice can be heard weekly on SEN. His influence on the Tigers organisation and fellow teammates must also be admired. With all his obligations to the NBL, he still finds a way to bond together with teammates, committing to 'Movember' whilst still being involved in his own fundraising for the Queensland Floods.
It is time now for Patty to do what’s best for him and his career. Patty has always had to fight for his NBA contract and nothing is guaranteed for him in the US. He needs to be in a position where he can, not only physically and mentally but financially. If it means signing a contract in China, then go for it! The NBL and Australian basketball public won’t do him any favours by holding him back. He is 23 and only 2 years into his NBA professional career. The first of which was in limbo after breaking his foot in his first ever training camp. Little do people know how hard Patty had to fight for a contract through that period without any financial backing. The time is now for him to solidify his career and make the most of his hard earned talent.
It’s also now time for Australian basketball to make use of the platform Patty has generated over the past few months. It’s up to the Ambush Army to continue bringing the 'Orangutan' and being a vocal force against other teams. It’s up to passionate fans to keep coming back week in and week out to support their teams. It is up to the Australian basketball public to recognize the work one man has done for the league and it’s up for the rest of us to put in the hard yards to put basketball back on the map.
Patty. We thank you and good luck!
Image via Melissa Sudero.
|Last Updated ( Sunday, 20 November 2011 13:03 )|