Brooklyn Nets' Patty Mills Receives NBA Sportsmanship Award
Mills will receive Joe Dumars Trophy after being recognized in vote of NBA players
Brooklyn’s Patty Mills has been named the winner of the 2021-22 NBA Sportsmanship Award and will receive the Joe Dumars Trophy honoring a player who best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court.
As the Nets wrapped up practice Friday afternoon at HSS Training Center, Mills was presented with a special edition 75th Anniversary commemorative trophy in recognition of the honor. The trophy is composed of a solid crystal basketball featuring the NBA 75 logo 3D laser etched in its center.
“I think it was a cool moment at practice today,” said Mills. “Again, another one of those recognitions that you don’t really set out to achieve in a lifetime. You just go about your day-to-day business I guess and be who you are. But the recognition is cool. I think the coolest thing about it is it’s your peers, your teammates, the players that you play against, who vote and knowing that is pretty cool. It’s a credit to my family and my parents, my upbringing, my culture specifically, and all the values that I have been taught growing up and now in a position to be able to inspire others to love the game, respect the game, and go about it in a manner that is respectful, so yeah, it’s cool.”
Earlier this season, Mills received The Don Award, Australian sports’ highest honor, after leading the country’s men’s national basketball team to its first Olympic medal, with a bronze medal finish in Tokyo. Mills, representing his country in his fourth Olympics, scored 42 points in the 103-97 win over Slovenia that clinched the medal. Australia’s only loss in the tournament came in the semifinals against the United States.
At the start of the Olympics, Mills became the first Indigenous member to carry the Australian flag at the opening ceremony. Nets teammate Ben Simmons, also a native Australian, has known Mills since childhood.
“He’s a genuine person,” said Simmons. “He always does the right thing. He wants to be a great leader and a great teammate. That’s something he always preaches. Throughout his whole career he’s been like that since I’ve known him as a kid. It’s being Patty. That’s who he is as a person. For him to win, it’s not a surprise. But it’s big.”
Mills is in his 13th NBA season and his first with the Brooklyn Nets. The 33-year-old guard averaged 11.4 points while playing in 81 of 82 games and making a career-high 48 starts. He ranked fifth in the league with a career-high 227 3-pointers made, also the second-highest single-season total in franchise history.
“The award Patty received is great because it’s voted on by his peers,” said Nets head coach Steve Nash. “The players voted him the sportsmanship player of the year. We see it every day, but for the opposing teams to see it is definitely a testament to Patty and his character. He has such an incredible character and spirit about him, what he brings in here every day with his work ethic and his team-first attitude. His motives are so pure and it goes beyond just his game and the team. He really wants all facets of our group to thrive, and he puts time and effort into all of that.”
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