• Basketball star Patty Mills is named the recipient of the 'Don' award by the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. (Sport Australia Hall of Fame)Source: Sport Australia Hall of Fame
Basketball hero Patty Mills was presented with the 'Don' honour overnight at the 2021 Sport Australia Hall of Fame awards, recognised for his outstanding contributions to Australian sport in the past year.
By
SBS Sport

3 Dec 2021 - 8:22 AM  UPDATED 3 Dec 2021 - 8:22 AM

Named after legendary cricketer Sir Donald Bradman and considered the highest honour in Australian sport, the award is given to an athlete or team who has most inspired the nation through performance and example over the past year.

And it was hard to go past Mills for the achievement, as he represented his country as a flag bearer while leading the Boomers to a historic Bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics while also becoming more of a global figure in the NBA with his amazing play for the Brooklyn Nets. 

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The Sport Australia Hall of Fame Committee said they it was hard to go past Mills for the award because his, "determination, skill and inspirational leadership to guide the Australian men’s basketball team to an historic bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics most inspired the nation."

Mills accepted the honour with his usual admirable humility, recognising the achievement as a chance to further inspire others to reach their sporting goals.

I never set out to win awards like this,” he said in an interview on Channel 7.
 
“I go about my craft as a professional and learn ways to get better, trying to carry myself in a way that I think can inspire others.

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"Being recognised in this way to me isn’t about who I sit alongside, it’s about how I can inspire others with my journey.”

Bradman's son John praised Mills when announcing the award as an all-around champion of Australian sport and an exemplary figure for others to look to.

“He’s not just a champion player, he’s a champion person, a leader, a star on and off the court, and most of all an inspiration to all of us,” John said.

Seven-time Grand Slam Tennis champion Evonne Goolagong-Cawley was also named the inaugural winner of the 'Dawn' award on the night after fellow tennis great Dawn Fraser, for being a, "courageous ground-breaker who has demonstrated achievement against the odds and challenged the status quo."

“To win The Dawn Award is an incredible honour,” Evonne said. “I have been unwell and this has been the ultimate cheer-up for me. To be the first recipient makes it even more special.

“Dawn is one of Australia’s greatest athletes and has been a source of inspiration throughout my life. She is also a good friend, and I am so pleased the Sport Australia Hall of Fame has chosen her to have such a prestigious award in her name alongside Sir Don Bradman.”

You can next watch Patty Mills in action for the Brooklyn Nets on December 13 when they take on the Detroit Pistons from 10am (AEDT) live on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand.

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