Patty Mills' commitment to boosting educational, cultural and sporting pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders has continued, with the San Antonio Spurs star founding the inaugural season of the Indigenous Community Basketball League.
The competition, run by Indigenous Basketball Australia (IBA) and set to begin in February, will offer Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders under 14 years of age a basketball participation pathway.
Round 1 of the six-week regular season begins on February 7 and will be staged in eight locations, including Thursday Island, in the Torres Strait. Two weeks of finals will follow in late March.
Mills built the competition around the core principles of culture, education, health, safety and wellbeing. The community basketball competitions, national tournaments and development camps will allow underprivileged youths to preserve cultural practices, strengthen and promote their individual identity, while also leading a healthy lifestyle.
"What we will do with the IBA programs and competitions has never been done before and is the first of its kind in this country's sporting environment," Mills said. "It's game changing and we're creating history.
"As a starting point, we will begin with the age group of under 14. The early adolescence years are crucial for a child's cognitive, emotional and social development - our complementary programs throughout the competitions of IBA will support these kids and their communities in embracing their culture and unlocking one's full potential in an environment that is safe and free from any discrimination.
"We want to give them the best possible chance to succeed. As we grow, we will expand to more regions and more age groups."
Cairns Taipans forward Nate Jawai has also thrown his support behind the program.
"As a proud Torres Strait Islander, I am incredibly supportive of Indigenous Basketball Australia and the real opportunity it would bring to my people - both on and off the court," Jawai said.
"The IBA model will see young players supported in a positive and safe environment to fulfil their dreams; equipping them with invaluable tools, skills and experience to flourish and succeed.
"I strongly encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths to sign up today to participate in the Indigenous Community Basketball League and the innovative IBA programs. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing the talent of tomorrow emerge."