Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Patty Mills talks about his controversial heritage

Blazers guard Patrick Mills is often described as the latest in a reasonably long line of Australian players in the NBA that includes Luc Longley, Andrew Bogut and Andrew Gaze. It's a new, growing hotbed for hoops products, and Mills is helping to raise the sport's profile in the country.

The reality of Mills' heritage is much more complicated, though. As noted in an excellent profile by Matt Calkins in The Columbian, the story of Mills' mother is tied to one of the most terrible moments in the history of Australia:

"Unless someone asks me, it's not a subject I talk about much," Mills said.

The subject pertains to his Indigenous Australian heritage, more specifically his Aboriginal mother, Yvonne, who as a 2-year-old was taken from her mother along with her older brother and three older sisters. The abduction was part of a national effort led by the Australian government and church missions to remove Indigenous Australian children from their homes and assimilate them into white culture.

It is now classified as "The Stolen Generation," and Yvonne was a textbook victim.

"That's the chip I carry on my shoulder," Mills continued. "Not just being an Indigenous Australian, but knowing that my mom's side of my family never got to see me play."

It's a terrific piece by Calkins, so please click on the link above to read the whole thing. You can also read more about the Stolen Generations here. Via Ball Don't Lie