Patty Mills is more than a basketball player, more than just Australian of indigenous heritage and more than a Brooklyn resident, but all three form the basis of who he is and on Saturday, it all came together on a street in Sunset Park, just across the Gowanus Expressway from the HSS Training Center.
P.S. 958 which serves Sunset Park held a block party for a mural and not just any mural and not just any block party. As P.S. 958 Principal Emily Shapiro said, this new mural covering an entire wall of the building’s exterior, its effects will be lasting for the students and the community:
“The mural is so much more to us then just a painting on our school’s wall. Watching it go up was such a unifying experience for our staff, families and students. And Victor has become an honorary member of our community,” she said of artist Victor “Marka27” Quiñonez. “And I know that for our students, coming out to see this progress, getting to talk to a real artist as he worked is a memory that they’ll carry forever, and we’re just so grateful.
“This mural serves as an important tool for our students to deepen their understanding of Sunset’s Park historical and social context, and we look forward to teaching them all that it signifies for years to come.”
Sunset Park is a big part of Brooklyn’s history of welcoming immigrants, the latest being a surge of indigenous peoples. One of those immigrants, is also a player on the Brooklyn Nets ... Patty Mills.
“I hope they feel the diversity of what Brooklyn is. And the understanding that not only is Sunset Park a heavily Indigenous population here but also, many diverse cultures throughout the world and understanding that all of that is acceptable,” said Mills, whose role with indigenous peoples in Australia helped the community choose him to dedicate the mural. .
“And that we are one and that’s why I feel so comfortable in this in this community because I do feel accepted. I do feel welcomed. I do feel the community has welcomed me and my wife with open arms.”
As he so often does, Mills also used the event to make a larger point, this time about the importance of clean water.
“And even just like the mural, you know, it’s come to give through water,” said Mills pointing to Indigenous Flow. “You see the water in the background of the mural, you know, to sort of highlight the case of water is the thing that brings all of us together and the pot of water not being clean. Drinking water isn’t accessible to a lot of not only indigenous communities but a lot of communities around the US and around the world. Another powerful thing that you know, I hope people resonate with and understand that you’re fortunate to live in a place like.”
The global game
The Brooklyn Nets will be well represented in the upcoming FIBA games. Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson will be suiting up for Team USA when the games tip off in late August. Patty Mills will be donning the green-and-gold for Australia, and he might have a familiar face playing alongside him on the Boomers. Ben Simmons, his teammate and friend, has been on the road to recovery since his season ended with a back injury in March. Simmons has posted images of his offseason training regimen, and appears to be on track to return for the upcoming NBA season. He may be back on the court before that. The Boomers are holding space for him to join the FIBA World Cup roster, and Mills spoke about his teammate.
“It still feels like weeks away yet, but from all accords and from what I’ve heard, he’s looking after his body, and getting into his shape and healthy that everyone wants him and needs him to be,” said Mills of someone whose family he’s known since Simmons was a child.
“So first and foremost for him it’s getting to that part where he can be Ben again. Obviously, a full off-season of rehab, of healthy workouts both in the gym and on the court is what he’s looking at. From what I’ve heard, he’s looking good, feeling good but we’ll see how we roll out from then but until then, I think we’ll have to wait and see.”
The comment didn’t add much to the mystery of when Simmons will step on the court again, but that’s not surprising. Simmons personal life is intervened with the professional and Mills would like to protect both.
Australia has had a lot of success on the international stage as the Men’s team won bronze at the 2020 Olympics with Mills as captain and high scorer. The women’s team took home bronze at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney.
“It’s huge, I guess. Australian basketball on the international stage is what you know, we’ve tried so hard to to become an international powerhouse. I mean, you have all the European teams obviously the US but you know Australia, especially from a men’s standpoint, arriving at the scene, I think and trying to still achieve some some really big things that we’re trying to do,” said Mills.
“So um, you know, some big tournaments coming up here with the World Cup this year in Paris Olympics next year. Great opportunities for us to get in the trenches together. So so to speak, and get it done. Our women’s team over the decades have been so successful, you know, so for us to try and match that is what we’re after.”
For Mills, basketball and community are intertwined. He is the founder of the Indigenous Basketball Australia in hopes of developing the next Patty Mills ... and developing the community in places like the Torres Straits where he grew up. Similarly, the dedication of “Indigenous Flow,” is another example of how he’s embraced Brooklyn. It’s all good.
“Yeah, you play it day by day and see how it unfolds,” said Mills. “A lot of changes over the last two years, so you take the advice of just being able to control what you can and get yourself ready for really anything. For me, a good distraction, so to speak, with the national team and the World Cup is cool to be in that mindset and get prepared for. But yeah, we’ll see what happens.”
- Patty Mills hopeful Ben Simmons will be ready for FIBA World Cup - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Australian basketballer Patty Mills honours Indigenous cultures with Brooklyn mural - Jo Khan - The Guardian
- Nets’ Patty Mills, Sean Marks encouraged by reports on Ben Simmons’ rehab - Evan Barnes - Newsday