Patty Mills will donate “every cent” of the almost $1.5 million he will make playing for the San Antonio Spurs in the upcoming NBA restart to social justice causes in Australia.
The Spurs are scheduled to enter the NBA’s “bubble” at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida on Thursday.
Mills said the $1.458 million he is due to earn will be donated to Black Lives Matter Australia, Black Deaths in Custody and The We Got You campaign.
“I’m playing in Orlando because I don’t want to leave any money on the table that could be going directly to black communities,” Mills told reporters.
The veteran Australian point guard said he had been encouraged by the public response to the Black Lives Matter movement since the police-arrest death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
“For the first time in my career, I have white people — teammates, old teammates, old coaches — telling me they never knew the level of racism that exists in sport, especially in Australia,” Mills said.
“They haven’t felt comfortable asking me, as a black Australian, about racism before, which speaks to the impact and value of the Black Lives Matter movement and the millions who have participated in protests around the world.”
The Spurs sit in 12th spot in the Western Conference and will likely need to win all eight of their games in Orlando for a chance to make the playoffs.
Their first game is against the Sacramento Kings on July 31.
The NBA season was shut down on March 11 after Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert tested positive to COVID-19.
The NBA is working with players to use the restart — held under strict protocols to limit exposure to the virus — to promote social justice.
Mills is ready to seize the opportunity.
“I’m looking forward to Orlando as an opportunity to be able to launch my mission of race and social justice,” Mills said.
“I’m very eager, just like I am on the court, to be able to rise to the occasion and make a direct impact.”