Patty Mills has become the first basketball player to win The Don Award, after his inspiring performance led the Boomers to their first Olympic medal in Tokyo.
Considered the highest honour in an Australian sport, the Don, named after Sir Donald Bradman is granted to an athlete or a team that most inspired the nation through performance and example
After he became the first-ever Indigenous person to carry the Australian flag into an Olympic Games opening ceremony, Mills scored an impressive 42 points against Slovenia securing the team’s historic bronze medal.
The NBA sharp-shooter accepted his award from the US where he continues to impress with his new NBA club, the Brooklyn Nets.
“I never set out to win awards like this, I go about my craft as a professional and learn ways to get better and do so in carrying myself in a way I think I can inspire others,” Mills said.
“The honour isn’t necessarily about me, it’s about the impact on unity, identity, being proud of who you are and expressing that passionately.”
Meanwhile, tennis great Evonne Goolagong Cawley was awarded the inaugural Dawn Award at the annual Sport Australia Hall of Fame Awards.
Named in honour of swimming great Dawn Fraser, the award recognises an individual, team or organisation who are courageous, brave and have changed sport for the better.
As a young First Nations woman Goolagong Cawley challenged the status quo and became one of Australia’s greatest tennis champs.
“I have been unwell and this has been the ultimate cheer-up for me. To be the first recipient makes it even more special,” Goolagong Cawley said.