The son of an Aboriginal mother who was part of the Stolen Generations and a Torres Strait Islander father, Mills is the second Indigenous Australian ever to play in the NBA. The first was the journeyman power forward Nathan Jawai, who was drafted in 2008. Mills followed him a year later in 2009.
And that's something Mills holds close, continuing to work to empower Indigenous-Australian athletes with Indigenous Basketball Australia (IBA), a "not-for-profit entity that will deliver programs at the grassroots level for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people so they have a better chance to advance in the sport and more importantly, succeed in life."
Now, in news that couldn't be any more anticipated, the 32-year-old has the backing of the NBA, with the league announcing on Friday that it is joining forces with IBA in its inaugural year.
So what does this mean going forward?
Through its Jr. NBA program -- the league's global youth basketball initiative -- the NBA will conduct a camp, led by international NBA coaches at the National Indigenous Basketball Tournament (NIBT) at the Gold Coast in Queensland, on April 11-13, 2021.
The camp will host 48 boys and girls, allowing two boys and two girls participating in the upcoming Indigenous Community Basketball League (ICBL).
"Basketball as a sport has brought me happiness, joy, education and a real sense of purpose and perspective. It has changed my world and shaped the person I am today," Mills said.
"However, not everyone has had the same opportunities as I have, which is why I'm so dedicated to using my platform, my profile and my voice to develop innovative programs like IBA, which will allow my people to really own their story. I have spent over 10 years in the NBA, an organisation that has not only supported and championed me as an athlete, but celebrated my cultural identity as an Australian, an Indigenous man of the land.
"I am ecstatic and filled with immense pride to have the world's most renowned professional basketball league join forces with IBA - the work we are going to do together will make a real impact to the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths."
NBA Asia managing director Scott Levy added: "We are proud to stand alongside NBA Champion Patty Mills, an Australian icon for his basketball achievements and for his tireless off-the-court efforts to positively effect change in his community.
"Youth empowerment is a shared goal of the NBA and IBA, and through the Jr. NBA program, we can support Patty's mission of providing opportunities and pathways for Indigenous youth of Australia."