Australian basketball superstar Patty Mills has been honoured with one of the NBA’s most coveted trophies, as winner of its 2021-22 Sportsmanship Award.
The Brooklyn Nets guard has been given the NBA’s Joe Dumars Trophy, the trophy which salutes the player who is voted by his colleagues as best representing the ideals of sportsmanship on the court.
The 33-year-old Boomers star earned 58 first-place votes and 1,975 total points in the balloting of his fellow players, the NBA announced on Friday.
After he’d been short-listed for the award, his Nets’ teammate Kevin Durant had summed up the widespread feelings about Mills when he said: “Patty puts in the work every day to be the player he is and he respects his opponents too. That is the sign of a true sportsman.”
Denver’s Jeff Green (60 first-place votes, 1,841 points) was the runner-up in the voting, while Miami’s Bam Adebayo (38 and 1,776) finished third.
Mills won from a select 30-man shortlist – one from each NBA team, selected by a panel of league executives – but it was the players themselves who got to decide the winner through confidential balloting.
The 13-year NBA veteran will be also be presented with a special edition 75th Anniversary commemorative trophy today in celebration of the honour.
In the 2021-22 regular season, Mills averaged 11.4 points and 2.3 assists in 29.0 minutes in 81 games with the Nets, who signed him as a free agent in August 2021.
The former championship winner with San Antonio was ranked 11th in the league in three-pointers made (227) and 25th in three-point field goal percentage (40.0) – and he wasn’t assessed a technical foul all season.
Indeed, he’s only been assessed two technical fouls in 820 career regular-season games, with no technical fouls in 11 of his 13 seasons.
The trophy is named after Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Joe Dumars, a six-time NBA All-Star and two-time NBA champion. Dumars played 14 NBA seasons and won the inaugural Sportsmanship Award in the 1995-96 season.
The award marks yet another accolade for Mills after a remarkable 2021 ended with him winning the Don Award to honour the Australian athlete who’d most inspired the nation during the year.
It followed his heroics in helping the Boomers win their first Olympic basketball medal in Tokyo, while he also became the first Indigenous Australian to carry the flag into a Games opening ceremony.