Jun 17, 2014, 9:40 AM EDT
The newly crowned NBA champions have several Olympic ties. Manu Ginobili won a gold medal, Tim Duncan a bronze (Duncan’s sister swam in the 1988 Olympics), and Tony Parker made his long-awaited Olympic debut in 2012.
But how about backup point guard Patty Mills, who scored 17 points off the bench in the Spurs’ decisive Game 5 win over the Heat on Sunday.
The Australian played in his first Olympic game at age 19 in 2008. He came off the bench in all six Aussie games in Beijing and led the team in scoring (14.2 points per game).
In 2012, he led the entire Olympic tournament in scoring (21.2 points per game, nearly two points clear of Kevin Durant, Ginobili and Pau Gasol). The Aussies lost in the quarterfinals both times.
Mills’ passion for the Olympics dates even farther back to one of the iconic moments in Games history in 2000.
Mills’ mother is Aboriginal. Of course, the most famous Aboriginal athlete is Cathy Freeman, who lit the Olympic cauldron in Sydney and later won the 400m. Mills has called Freeman his idol and remembers — “like it’s last week” — watching Freeman’s one-lap victory one month after turning 12.
“That moment was — I get shivers just thinking about it,” Mills, who reportedly attended Sydney 2000 basketball games, told The New York Times. “I ran track, and my pet event was the 400 meters, and I wanted to be like Cathy Freeman. The whole country was on Cathy’s back during that race. Everyone was clued in during that race seeing her cross the line and how she handled herself, not only on the track, but before and after, because she had so much pressure.”
Freeman, too, follows Mills. The point guard’s Twitter account is one of 52 on her following list.
Aug 1, 2014, 9:24 AM EDT
One diver landed on his back, another did feet first.
Jul 31, 2014, 7:05 PM EDT
Which events are Phelps, Lochte, Franklin and Ledecky entered in?
Jul 31, 2014, 2:25 PM EDT
Poor Games for Aussies get worse with assault charge.
Jul 31, 2014, 1:19 PM EDT
Markus Rehm insists he has no competitive advantage.
Jul 31, 2014, 11:47 AM EDT
Ice dancers continue whirlwind post-Olympic tour.
Jul 31, 2014, 9:08 AM EDT
Boston Marathon winner Keflezighi returns to site of 2009 triumph.
Jul 31, 2014, 8:31 AM EDT
“After the Olympics I grew up,” Sotnikova told RIA Novosti.
Jul 30, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT
Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, Katie Ledecky slated for meet in Irvine, Calif., next week.
Jul 30, 2014, 11:42 AM EDT
Water main break sent up to 10 million gallons of water around campus.
Jul 30, 2014, 11:11 AM EDT
Felicia Zhang and Nate Bartholomay have ended their pairs partnership but teamed up at Tropicana Field.
Jul 30, 2014, 10:35 AM EDT
German track and field president said the jumper could gain a “catapult effect.”
Jul 30, 2014, 9:49 AM EDT
Every 2012 Olympian and 2013 World Championships team member is in the field.
Jul 29, 2014, 5:20 PM EDT
It became Xxx at a passport office, according to the BBC.
Jul 29, 2014, 4:35 PM EDT
Boston is one of four finalist cities for a potential U.S. bid for the 2024 Olympics.
Jul 29, 2014, 3:34 PM EDT
Officials hope to hold test event in late 2015 or early 2016.
Jul 29, 2014, 3:02 PM EDT
Olympic silver medalist speed skater hit his first two professional home runs.
Jul 29, 2014, 11:14 AM EDT
Prince Harry follows the Queen’s lead in Glasgow.
Jul 29, 2014, 10:41 AM EDT
Scottish player pulls off a “wedgie” celebration.
Jul 29, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT
Chika Amalaha may be stripped of her gold after becoming the youngest women’s weightlifting champion in Commonwealth Games history.
Jul 28, 2014, 8:55 PM EDT
Athletes found safe in Beaverton, Ore., after going missing in Eugene.
- Meb Keflezighi, Caroline Wozniacki to run New York City Marathon 0
- U.S. swimming rankings going into National Championships 0
- German long jump champion, a Paralympian, left off European Championships roster 3
- Eddy Alvarez heats up in Arizona League 0
- U.S. 400m runner Torrin Lawrence dies in car accident 0
- Brazil’s Olympic coach wants Neymar to play at Rio 2016 0
- U.S. teams sweep World Series of Beach Volleyball (video) 0
- Emotional Bode Miller medals in race that mattered most (61)
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (56)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (47)
- South Korea filing official complaint over Yuna Kim’s Olympic silver (38)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (33)