NBA championship winner Patty Mills, wants to inspire Australia's indigenous basketballers. Photo: Reuters
Patrick Mills wants Australia to embrace a "unique and historic" moment in basketball when he arrives home with the NBA championship trophy this week for a six-city celebration tour with one of world sport's biggest prizes.
But the 25-year-old says he is still waiting to finalise his NBA future as he works with the San Antonio Spurs to secure a three-year, $12 million deal to play on with the NBA champions.
Mills became the first indigenous Australian to win an NBA title when he helped lift the Spurs to a series win against the Miami Heat last month, including a 17-point haul in the championship game.
He will arrive in Australia on Tuesday in charge of a precious cargo - the Larry O'Brien trophy - to show off his NBA prize on a hectic tour that will move to Canberra on Friday.
The Canberra point guard will be presented with the keys to the city by Chief Minister Katy Gallagher at a Civic reception. The only problem is Mills' busted right shoulder means autographs will be minimal and replaced by photos with fans.
"It's huge, unique and historic; it's a chance to thank everyone in Australia for the support they gave to us," Mills said. "I feel I have to share it ... usually, the trophy just goes straight to the city [of the team that wins] and it doesn't leave there, let alone America.
"That's how big this is, it's never been done before in the history of the NBA and we've got a unique opportunity. So we've got to make the most of it; you'll never know if you get the chance to win a championship again."
Mills is recovering from shoulder surgery that is set to sideline him for at least three months of the 2014-15 NBA season.
He feared his torn rotator cuff in his shooting shoulder would affect his bargaining power on the free agents market in the world's richest basketball competition.
But Mills is close to finalising the biggest contract of his career, worth $12 million, to play the next three seasons in San Antonio. The former Canberra Marist College student said the deal had yet to be signed.
"The contract is still being worked on, nothing is done or official yet," he said. "I'm hoping it crosses the line shortly, but we just have to wait and see.
"It's been full-on since the season finished with winning, trying to work out what happened with that last game in the finals, the shoulder issue and then contract issues.
"That's where it's at for the moment; I'm just looking forward to this trophy tour and then having a nice long break from a lot of things."
Mills will finish the trophy tour at Thursday Island. He draped a Thursday Island flag around his shoulders on the victory podium with his Spurs teammates in honour of his family heritage.
And Mills said having a chance to visit the small community at the tip of Australia would be a special moment. "It's unbelievably huge to be able to go back there and the whole of the Torres Strait. My heritage is such a big part of my life and to represent them on such a big stage, it's only fitting to take that little bit of an NBA championship back for them to see."
It is hoped Mills' rise in the NBA and AIS graduate Dante Exum being drafted to the Utah Jazz at pick No. 5 will help inspire a generation of success for Australian basketball.
Australian guard Matthew Dellavedova will team up with the world's best player, LeBron James next season after James announced his decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"I only found out about an hour ago and it's already making big news. The first thing I thought of was Delly," Mills said. "This is going to be an absolute advantage for his development and experience ... Delly is going to learn from guys like LeBron. It's going to help him make strides in his game."
NBA TROPHY TOUR
Friday: Canberra - Patrick Mills and Aron Baynes will be at Civic Square with official celebrations to start at 12pm. Basketball ACT will run Aussie Hoops clinics.
Monday: Thursday Island