Australian NBA star Patty Mills’ dreams for Indigenous basketballers throughout the country came to life in WA today as the state’s elite junior players began a tournament that could see them exposed to the junior NBA.
The Indigenous Community Basketball League will see the state’s best 40 boys and girls aged 14 and under competing in a six-week tournament, culminating with an elite squad playing at the National Indigenous Basketball Tournament in April.
The best players from that tournament will earn the right to join the Junior NBA Global Championship Asia-Pacific Athlete Selection Pathway Camp.
“It’s such a cool opportunity for them to show people on the wider stage what they can do. It’s mind blowing what some of the kids can do and how hard they work,” WNBL star, and one of the ICBL’s head coaches Maddie Allen said.
“Patty Mills has done so much for the community. To bring his name to this is going to change the way people see it.
“This will show that you can take a different path and still be good. People often see Indigenous players hit the court and just think they have natural ability but they don’t see how hard they work behind the scenes. We are about to see some really cool basketball.”
Iconic Australian entertainer Ernie Dingo, former Perth Wildcats stars Damian Martin and Greg Hire, ex-Fremantle Dockers Des Headland and Troy Cook, and Australian Opal Darcee Garbin were among the big names at the opening day.
IBA’s Adam Desmond said Mills’ vision had changed lives.
“There has never been a specific basketball program like this for Indigenous kids to compete on an elite national event,” Desmond said.
“And to then have a junior NBA camp which will give exposure to coaches these kids would never have had is fantastic for the pathway.”