Patty Mills will be back in Canberra next Friday to collect the keys to the city. Photo: Getty Images
Patrick Mills' role in the San Antonio Spurs' NBA championship could spark an era of unprecedented success as the Australian Boomers aim for their first international medal, says Andrew Gaze.
Mills will be presented with the keys to Canberra when he arrives in the capital next week to show off the biggest prize in world basketball – the NBA championship trophy.
The 25-year-old is also close to signing a three-year, $12 million deal with the Spurs, which could be registered with the NBA as early as Friday.
Mills helped lift the Spurs to an NBA title triumph against the Miami Heat last month with superb performances in the best of seven series, and his achievement will be celebrated in Civic on July 18.
But Gaze, widely regarded as Australia's greatest basketballer, says Mills' success has paved the way for the Boomers to earn a breakthrough medal.
Australia has five players in the NBA with more banging on the door of the world's best league and several stars in European competitions.
"I think that Patty is getting a reputation and a legacy that he's already had quite a remarkable achievement," Gaze said.
"But it's premature to see what legacy he will have because he's so young and he's got such a long, long way to go.
"It's an impressive with the talent available ... there's a lot to look forward to. It's a shame Patty and Andrew Bogut won't be at the world championships this year.
"Hopefully soon we'll be playing off for medals and winning one in the next few years."
Mills and Australian teammate Aron Baynes will go on an Australian tour with the NBA championship trophy next week.
The pair will tour Melbourne and Sydney before arriving in Canberra next Friday.
Mills has also organised for the trophy to visit Thursday Island as a tribute to his family heritage.
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher will present Mills with the keys to Canberra at the event in Civic next Friday.
“Patty has made significant contributions to this city both on and off the court. He is a proud Torres Strait Islander man and a proud Canberran," Ms Gallagher said.
"He has mentored and inspired many young people in this community and we are very lucky to have him call this city home."
It is the first time the NBA trophy has been allowed to go on an international tour.
Mills had shoulder surgery last week and could be out of action for up to seven months.
The trophy tour will start in Sydney on Wednesday before finishing in the Thursday Islands on July 21.
July 18: Patrick Mills and Aron Baynes will be at Civic Square with official celebrations to start at 12pm. Basketball ACT will run Aussie Hoops clinics.