Basketballer Patty Mills will don the green and gold of Australia at the Rio de Janeiro Games but gained inspiration for his third Olympics in the red dust of his country’s vast, empty heartland.
The first indigenous Australian to win an NBA title, the San Antonio Spurs point guard will hope to blaze a new trail in Rio by becoming the first to win an Olympic medal in the sport.
But for 27-year-old Mills, a recent trip out to Uluru, the massive red rock that rises improbably out of the central Australian desert, was all about the team.
Mills took the Olympic squad on a tour of the rock which is sacred to local Aboriginals and was the first Australian stop of the torch relay for the 2000 Sydney Games.
“There’s no question that the goal (of a medal) that we’ve set for ourselves is one that will take a lot of hard work but it’s one that we really all believe that we can get done. But for us to get there we need to beat great teams and that’s what the Olympics is about, achieving greatness by beating great teams.” – Patrick Mills