Mills signing a huge boost for NBL

Mills signing a huge boost for NBL

Basketball Australia Chief Executive Officer Larry Sengstock says the signing of Australian NBA player and Boomers star Patty Mills by the Melbourne Tigers is a strong sign of the continued resurgence of the National Basketball League.

Mills, who plays for the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, confirmed today that he had signed to play in the iiNet NBL Championship for the 2011/12 season during the course of the NBA lockout rather than accepting more lucrative offers from a number of high-profile European teams.

Sengstock said that Mills’ decision to choose the iiNet NBL Championship over Europe was significant.

“Patty Mills is an NBA player in the prime of his career, and one of Australia’s best basketballers,” said Sengstock.  “For him to turn his back on much larger contracts in Europe in order to play here in Australia is an amazing vote of confidence in the iiNet NBL Championship.

“This is one of the most significant signings in NBL history and one which I have no doubt will help us record our third successive year of attendance growth,” Sengstock added.  “For fans to be able to watch a player of Mills’ ilk at the peak of their powers is a rare opportunity and one which I am sure plenty of people will take up either in person on via our TV broadcasts.”

Mills is currently in Australia preparing for the Boomers’ do-or-die Olympic qualification series against archrivals New Zealand, which will be the first opportunity for Australian fans to see the NBA star in action on home soil since 2009.  Mills and the Boomers will face the Tall Blacks in a three-game series for a ticket to London 2012 with games in Melbourne (7 September at the State Netball Hockey Centre), Brisbane (Brisbane Entertainment Centre on 9 September) and Sydney (Sydney Entertainment Centre on 11 September). 

Mills and the Tigers will commence the 2011/12 iiNet NBL Championship season on Opening Night, hosting the Sydney Kings at the State Netball Hockey Centre (AKA ‘The Cage’) on Friday 7 October.