Creating Australian Olympic history, Patty Mills becomes the first Indigenous Australian to carry the flag at an Opening Ceremony. He is the third flag bearer representing basketball joining Lauren Jackson (London 2012) and Andrew Gaze (Sydney 2000).
Patty Mills says the privilege is hard to wrap his head around.
“As a proud Kokatha, Naghiralgal and Dauareb-Meriam man it’s incredible. A very passionate moment I can feel in my bones. But what does it actually mean to me to be a Flag Bearer?
“My answer comes from how this particular person in past years, in this role, has impacted me. It’s leadership, representation and It’s insanely meaningful. It’s inspiring. It’s symbolic. It’s emblematic.
“But I think my honest answer would be, what does it mean to everyone else? What does it mean to the team? What does it mean to everyone in Australia? The thousands of ex-pats living around the world? What does it mean to the next generation? The people that have come before us?
“Because those are the people I proudly represent and will carry the flag for. As the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flag Bearer my connection between our country - the land, the sky, the sea, our culture, our history and this particular moment runs extremely deep.”
Australian Olympic Team Chef de Mission for Tokyo Ian Chesterman said “Patty is an inspiration for all Indigenous Australians. He holds culture and country close to his heart as a proud Kokatha man (South Australia) and Naghiralgal and Dauareb-Meriam man (Torres Strait). “
“Importantly, he is someone who turns ideas into action. Through his creation of Indigenous Basketball Australia (IBA), there are new opportunities for young Indigenous athletes to forge a successful path in sport and life, embracing their culture and unleashing their potential.”
“And how appropriate when we have a record number of Indigenous athletes representing Australia at these Games in Tokyo, we have such a rousing figure to lead his fellow athletes into this global celebration.”
This will be Patty’s fourth Olympics having competed at Rio 2016, Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
Congratulations to Patty from the Australian basketball family, we are so proud of you.