Boomers captain Patty Mills has detailed a crucial turning point in his professional career – the moment he knew adequacy was longer acceptable for the Australian men’s basketball team.
Mills was the standout performer in Australia’s historic 107-93 triumph over Slovenia in the Tokyo Games bronze medal match earlier this month, scoring 42 points to help the Boomers claim their first Olympic medal.
The Australian flag bearer was fiercely determined to ensure his teammates returned home with a medal around their neck, knowing he may not get another opportunity to achieve the feat.
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Mills made his Olympic debut at the 2008 Beijing Games, where Australia finished seventh after being eliminated by the almighty Unites States in the quarter-finals.
Two years later, the Boomers once again suffered a quarter-finals exit in the FIBA World Championships at the hands of a talented Slovenian outfit.
But it was at the 2012 London Games that Mills drew a line in the sand.
Australia was utterly outclassed by Team USA in the Olympic quarter-finals 119-86, with the late Kobe Bryant running rampant.
When retiring Boomers forward Matt Nielsen consoled a distraught Mills in the locker-rooms after the defeat, he knew something had to change.
“I remember Matt coming over to me and he could feel that I’m not over this thing yet,” Mills told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“He sits down next to me and he’s trying to comfort me and I just remember snapping back at him and swearing and saying, ‘This ain’t it. This is not good enough’. I think that’s where I said to myself that we have to do something here to create this thing.”
Four years later, the Boomers fell agonisingly short of a podium finish at the Rio Games, Spain clinching a one-point victory over Australia in the bronze medal match.
And Mills would have to wait another five years for his next opportunity.
The Boomers comfortably progressed through to the Olympic semi-finals in Tokyo, but a powerhouse USA side stood in their way.
Despite a blistering start, Australia was ultimately overpowered by the eventual gold medal recipients, losing 97-78.