Indigenous NBA champ Patty Mills reveals the tragic question he asked his mother at the age of five – and the racist insult that cut him the most growing up in Australia
- NBA star Patty Mills has revealed details of racial abuse in his youth in Australia
- The indigenous star spoke of how he had to learn to shield himself from racism
- Mills uses stories from his childhood as motivation in his fight for social justice
Patty Mills has opened up on growing up with racism in Australia and the torment he suffered from bullying in his childhood.
The 32-year-old Indigenous NBA star has revealed stories from his youth in Canberra detailing horrific racial abuse.
In a video on the San Antonio Spurs website, Mills spoke of how he learned to cope with racial bullying and use it as motivation in his fight for social justice.
Mills’ mother Yvonne was a part of the Stolen Generation; removed from her home by the government along with her four siblings in 1949 after her parents separated.
Mills recalled the heartbreaking question he asked her as a five-year-old after she told him of her past.
NBA star Patty Mills (pictured with wife Alyssa) has revealed details of racial abuse in his youth in Australia
‘Mum, does that mean that they’re going to come and take me away too?’ he said.
Mills said he was subject to constant racial abuse growing up and had to learn to deal with it.
‘I’ve been called black, everything under the sun,’ Mills said in the video.
‘As well as abo, darky, blackie, petrol sniffer, n*****, monkey, chimp.
‘But for whatever reason, the worst one out of the lot for me was being called a black c***.
‘Unfortunately it was a constant for me and I just had to get used to it.’
Mills made the heartfelt video in an effort to influence other people to give confidence to share their own experiences of racial injustice.
He told ABC he had to learn how to shield himself from abuse.
Mills (pictured in action for the San Antonio Spurs) said he had to learn to shield himself from racism
‘It was just me walking away from it all, no matter how brutal it was to hear or to face, or who said it,’ Mills said.
During the lockdown period of the NBA season, Mills launched Indigenous Basketball Australia, which provides pathways for young Indigenous athletes to excel in the sport.
‘Having to stay at home for so long, finding the silver lining, it was like one temporary door closed on basketball, and it just opened up many other doors for us to really dive in deep on these things,’ he said.
The initiative aligns with Mills core values and ethics to promote diversity and inclusiveness in basketball.
The point guard also has a foundation called Team Mills and works with the We Got You initiative on a range of social justice issues.
Mills said his work off the basketball court has given him motivation and drive to create a better landscape for young Indigenous athletes.
‘I’ve found a way to live a life of impact and purpose, and I play basketball that exact same way,’ he said.
Mills (pictured at the 2019 NBA Awards Show) said he uses stories from his childhood as motivation in his fight for social justice