Boomers captain Patty Mills has been chosen as the flag bearer for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with swimmer Kate Campbell.
Creating Australian Olympic history, Patti Mills became the first Aboriginal Australian to carry the flag at the opening ceremony. He is the third flag bearer to represent basketball, joining Lauren Jackson (London 2012) and Andrew Geese (Sydney 2000).
Patty Mills says it’s hard to wrap his head around this privilege.
“As a proud man of Kookatha, Ngirgal and Dawarib Maryam, it is incredible. A very emotional moment that I feel in my bones. But what does it mean to me to be a flag bearer?”
“My answer comes from how in years past, in this role, this person has affected me. It’s leadership and acting and it’s insanely meaningful. It’s an inspiration. It’s symbolic. It’s an icon.”
“But I think my honest answer would be, What does that mean for others? What does that mean for the team? What does that mean for everyone in Australia? Thousands of ex-salaries living around the world? What does that mean for the next generation? The people who came before us?”
“Because these are the people I proudly represent and for whom I will carry the flag. As the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flag bearer, the connection that I have to our country – the land, the sky, the sea, our culture, our history and this very moment is a very deep connection.
Head of the Australian Olympic Team in Tokyo, Ian Chesterman, said, “Batti is an inspiration to all Aboriginal Australians. He holds the culture and country close to his heart as a proud man of Kokatha (South Australia), Naghiralgal and Dauareb-Meriam Man (Torres Strait).”
“Most importantly, he is someone who turns ideas into action. By creating the Australian Basketball Association (IBA), there are new opportunities for young Indigenous athletes to shape a successful path in sport and life, embracing their culture and unleashing their potential.”
“And how fitting when we have a record number of Indigenous athletes representing Australia at these Games in Tokyo, we have such an exciting number to lead fellow athletes in this global celebration.”
This will be Patty’s fourth Olympics after she competed in Rio 2016, Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
Congratulations to Patty from the Australian Basketball family, we are so proud of you.