During his Wednesday virtual press conference with the media, San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills announced that he will be joining the Spurs in Orlando and he’ll be donating all money he earns from the games to social justice groups in his home country of Australia.
“It’s not been an easy decision to make,” said Mills of weighing the health concerns of playing basketball while Covid-19 is around. “I also understand my responsibility to this team and the organization.”
“I’m playing in Orlando because I don’t want to leave any money on the table that could be going to black communities,” said Mills of donating the salary he earns in Orlando to three groups for social justice in Australia – ‘Black Lives Matter Australia,’ ‘Deaths in Custody,’ and the ‘We Got You’ campaign.
If the Spurs only play eight games and don’t make the playoffs, Mills will earn a little more than one million dollars. That money will all go directly to those organizations.
“Safety is the number one priority for everyone in this position,” said Mills of living in a world of Covid-19 without a vaccine yet. “It’s a massive concern for everyone. Not just in basketball, but around the world.”
“It’s only human for me to have concerns from a health and safety concern,” said Mills of playing basketball again.
Mills also discussed how the protests for social justice in the United States have impacted the whole world, including Australia.
“A lot of different emotions,” said Mills of what the protests sparked. “A lot of conversations with a lot of different people.”
“It’s captured the eye of the people it needed to,” said Mills of the social justice movement.
Mills provided more details on one of the groups he’s working with called the ‘We Got You’ campaign. He said it’s a group composed of some of the top athletes in Australia from all sports that is working to root out racism in Australian sports. Mills says that while racism is a big problem in all of society, being able to narrow down on getting rid of it in sports is a objective the group can try to accomplish.
While in Orlando, the NBA will be focusing on social justice from discussions to allowing players to wear statements of movements on their jerseys.
“There’s a platform now,” said Mills of the NBA’s focus on social justice.
Mills said that though he’s from another country, he relates to other minority communities in the United States.
“I relate very heavily with the African Americans, the Native Americans, the minorities in this country.
Along with focusing on social justice, Mills also said he wants to have discussions about the wildfires that ravaged Australia last year, noting, “these wildfires are around the corner again.”
Mills said there needs to be more work done on allowing the indigenous people of Australia to allow them to make decisions in regard to the land, so wildfires in the future will be limited and eventually stopped.
Mills and the Spurs will be flying out to Orlando on Thursday.