• Patty Mills in action for San Antonio Spurs (AAP)Source: AAP
Australian NBA star Patty Mills has announced the launch of Indigenous Basketball Australia (IBA), an enterprise designed to create elite pathways and "instil basketball skills, values, and wellness" for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in Australia.
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SBS Sport

31 Jul 2020 - 6:57 PM  UPDATED 31 Jul 2020 - 6:57 PM

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IBA programs, set to commence in 2021, aim to launch more young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander basketballers from community level to the global elite.

They will focus on skills development and competitions in an environment designed to be free of discrimination and exclusion - addressing the socioeconomic disadvantage faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players.

Mills stated his desire to help his "continuously oppressed" Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a tangible and meaningful way.

Awareness of the positive influence he can have makes him "want to work harder at finding ways to provide better opportunities to make a real impact on the lives of my people."

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Mills points to the "disturbing stats" regarding Indigenous youth incarceration, saying: "We should feel responsible to take urgent and innovative actions to address this gross negligence occurring in the lives of young Indigenous people."

"Basketball will be the vehicle, and IBA will drive this vehicle to one day see more Indigenous Australians pulling on the Green and Gold for the Boomers or Opals.

"But if IBA can create the positive environment that allows my people to enjoy a healthy and safe life, to be accepted and participate in a society free from discrimination, then that’s the real win for my people in this life."

The first of their kind in Australia, IBA's programs aim to consistently produce elite Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander talent for professional leagues in Australia and the world, as well as Australia's national teams.

IBA seek to provide more and better opportunities for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, with programs involving targeted community competitions, national tournaments and development camps.

They will also involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander coaches, referees, supporting organisations and volunteers.

Earlier this month, Mills pledged 100 percent of his NBA restart salary to social justice causes, and the IBA launch is the latest in his ongoing commitment to improving social and economic conditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia.