10 May 2023

Bronze medal for our Patty

| Matt Nicholls
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The Torres Strait Island product was amazing in all the big moments as he led Australia to a 107-93 win against Slovenia to pick up a much-deserved bronze medal.

Bronze felt like “rose gold” to Mills.

“I’ll start by saying that our motto that we were living by was ‘gold vibes only’, and yes, our goal is to win gold. We’re at the Olympics, that’s what everyone’s goals and dreams should be,” Mills said.

“If you don’t have that goal set out for yourself as a team, as individuals, then what are you doing here?

“We talked about gold vibes only as being the standard. And if it’s below that, we don’t want it.

“So, yes, it does feel like gold, rose gold. And that’s the thing that I’ll say that hasn’t been said yet is the Aussie spirit is the Aussie spirit. And if you’re Australian, you understand what that is, especially when it comes to team sport.

“And what we’ve done is just being able to take that Aussie spirit, which has always been there, and just put belief in our group and our team that we can achieve this.

“We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. And it’s taken a lot of experiences, a lot of ups, a lot of downs, for us to get over the hump,” Mills said.

“And it’s our culture, at the end of the day, Australian culture, our Aussie spirit. It’s the boys being able to hang together and understand the meaning of what it means to represent your country, and how deep the layers go.

“For it to just come pouring out in moments like this. Now that we’ve made it over the hill, this is the standard now of Australian basketball form and, and we take nothing less.

“I think we have been able to build our Boomers culture in understanding the lay of the land that goes far beyond basketball.

“For us, that is always giving back, and where we have been able to build our Boomers culture to this point is understanding where we come from, where we see the future, you know.

“Living in the present, and who we represent. Our name is the Boomers for a reason, and for us to give back to our nickname, it is where we started this campaign.

“We are able to dig deep and find all of these, and it touched everyone.”

Aussie basketball legend Andrew Gaze swelled with pride at the enormity of what the current crop of players had achieved.

Gaze broke down in tears on live TV as he explained why the medal meant so much to Boomers who had come beforehand.

“Gee whiz, that man on your screen (Mills), boy oh boy, did he come out with something special for his nation today,” Gaze said.

“There are a lot of people along the way that have got their fingerprints on this historic moment.

“Congratulations to those that are on the floor and had the privilege to be out there like (coach) Brian Goorjian.

“We’ve all been in that situation before and (know) how badly we want it and how much it means to the basketball community and the Australian community.

“This country expects greatness. We over-achieve, put our blood, sweat and tears into this for providing for the sport, inspiring youngsters, wanting the game to grow.

“Our Opals have done it for many years. Now to see our men’s team do it, just a historic moment.”

Boomers star Joe Ingles praised Mills for his commitment to the national team.

“Our paths have been different throughout our careers, but the continuous constant factor and consistent thing was the national team,” he said.

“Every summer for 12 years we’ve come back to this thing, to build it and build it and build it. And obviously in Beijing, we were, I was 20, Patty was 19 turning 20. And we’ve continued to build this.

“We’ve got this unbelievable relationship. We catch up on the road and in our regular seasons and talk about the Boomers. It’s always been brought up, it’s been such a focus for us. It’s very, very special to be able to do it with him.”

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