Patrick ‘Patty’ Sammy James Mills AM was awarded a Scholarship within the 2008 Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program and was paired with athlete Member and fellow basketball icon Luc Longley AM as his mentor.
Born the child of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal parents in Canberra on August 11, 1988, Patty was a studious and athletically gifted child; achieving high levels of representation in Australian Rules, cross country running and of course, basketball.
Patty was an All Australian Junior Basketball representative between 2003-07, where his talents were recognised by the Australian Institute of Sport in 2005 who offered him a scholarship at the cost of forgoing a prospective AFL career. A speedy guard with lethal long-range shooting capabilities, Patty captained the U19 Australian National Basketball Team in the 2006/2007 World Championships in Serbia, concluding his Australian schooling days at Marist College Canberra.
Patty went on to be accepted into the prestigious NCAA institute of St Mary’s College (Gaels) in the United States in 2007, where his performances were unparalleled by fellow freshman student athletes. In his opening season for the Gaels, Patty set freshman records for most points in a season (472) and most points in a single game (37 v Oregon). This college stint was the foundation that would transcend Patty from a homegrown basketball prospect to a legitimate international star.
Following two stellar collegiate seasons, Patty declared himself for the 2009 NBA Draft; the pinnacle of basketball competitions, where he was selected as the no.55 overall pick by the Portland Trailblazers. Given minimal opportunities, Patty found it difficult to consolidate a position in the starting line-up within two years at Portland, rather, chose to spend time toward further developing his skills and abilities in their second’s team, the Idaho Stampede (NBA D-League).
A potential blessing in disguise did present itself in 2011 in the form of an NBA lockout which lasted just over six months, forcing patty to return to Australia and play for local NBL team, the Melbourne Tigers… much to the delight of Australian fans. This joyful experience was however short lived, as Patty was lured to Chinese basketball powerhouse Xinjiang FT for his explosive speed, youth, and high on-court IQ for the 2011/12 season.
Through continual robust performances in Australia and China, Patty’s talents were not forgotten by those in the NBA, particularly by former Boomers Head Coach, Brett Brown, who was instrumental in bringing Patty back to the NBA.
In 2012 the San Antonio Spurs (NBA) recruited Patty from Chinese competitions under direction of Brett Brown, who was assistant coach of the Spurs at the time, in an attempt to further develop Patty’s capacities under basketball coaching legend Gregg Popovich. The dynamic guard from Canberra has been involved in over 600 NBA games in addition to an endless list of accolades and achievements to boast about. With maturity and experience now on his side and a national team accustomed to the rigours of international basketball.
In 2021, Patty lead the Australian National Basketball Team to a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
- 2005-2007: AIS
- 2007-2009: St Mary’s College (NCAA)
- 2009-2011: Portland Trailblazers (NBA)/Idaho Stampede (NBA D-League)
- 2011-2011: Melbourne Tigers (NBL)
- 2011-2012: Xinjiang FT (China)
- 2012-Current: San Antonio Spurs (NBA)
Awards, Honours & Achievements
- 2005: Australian Youth Olympic Festival – gold
- 2005: National U18 Men’s Basketball Championship – leading point scorer
- 2005: Nike Asia Region Basketball Camp – best shooting guard
- 2005: ACT NAIDOC Sportsperson of the Year
- 2005: Pacific School Games, gold medal – All Star & MVP
- 2006: R E Staunton Memorial Medalist (Most Outstanding Player)
- 2006: Nike Hoop Summit – World Select Team
- 2006: Australian Boomers Squad – youngest ever selection
- 2006: ACT Junior Male, player of the year
- 2006: National NAIDOC Sportsperson of the Year
- 2006: ACT Young Australian of the Year – finalist
- 2007: R E Staunton Memorial Medalist (Most Outstanding Player)
- 2007: Basketball Australia Junior Male Player of the Year
- 2007: WCC Player of the Month x2 (November & December)
- 2008: All-WCC First Team
- 2008: WCC Newcomer of the Year
- 2008: Beijing Olympic Games – participant
- 2008: Gaze Medal (Male International Player of the Year) – winner
- 2009: All-WCC First Team
- 2009: Bob Cousy Award (Nation’s Top Point Guard) – finalist
- 2010: NBA debut
- 2012: London Olympic Games – points per game leader (21.2)
- 2013: First Indigenous Australian to participate in the NBA Finals
- 2014: First Indigenous Australian to win the NBA Finals
- 2015: FIBA Oceania Championship – winner
- 2016: Rio De Janeiro Olympic Games – quarter finalist
- 2017: National NAIDOC Person of the Year
- 2017: 7th Ambassador the 2018 Commonwealth Games
- 2019: FIBA World Cup – lost bronze medal match onwards
- 2020 (2021): Tokyo Olympic Games – bronze
- 2022: Made a Member or the Order of Australia (AM)