Aussie basketball star Patty Mills has recounted the shocking racist abuse he experienced while growing up in Australia.
Speaking to The Undefeated about his recent experience of racism in the NBA, in which a fan was heard calling him a Jamaican bobsledder, the San Antonio Spurs star revealed he had experienced far worse in his younger years.
"I heard similar stuff growing up, big time," Mills said.
"Brutal. Bad. It was equivalent of the ‘N-word,’ which is thrown around a lot in Australia. Another one is ‘black c—.’
"That is just as bad as the N-word over there.
"Another is ‘Abo,’ short for Aboriginal, which is really bad over there to black Australians.
"Whether it’s heckling on a sporting field or within a sporting team, people are throwing around the word like it’s nothing, and I’m sitting here.”
The proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander has been lauded for handling his most recent experience of racism like a pro, calling his antagoniser a "confused, hateful fan".
Thanks @thats_Z_Truth. I am a proud Islander. Like my Jamaican Brothers, me & my family in the islands of the Torres Strait have experienced racial slurs for decades. Hope your efforts will enlighten this confused, hateful fan. #BlackHistoryMonth https://t.co/yH3nKlGv4A— Patrick Mills (@Patty_Mills) February 26, 2018
Mills was lining up to shoot free throws during a recent match in Cleveland against LeBron James' Cavaliers, when a racist Cavs fan was heard over the on-court mic.
“Hey, Jamaican dog. They want their bobsledder back. Jamaica just called, they want their bobsledder back.”
Mills said it was important to bring the situation to light, and not just let the incident slip away into the ether.
“To be honest, I had forgot about it until after the game when I went to my phone, and here I had texts, social media and Twitter reminding me of what he said with videos from TV," Mills said.
"I had control of shining the light on the incident. Outside of that it was out of my control."
Mills held up a Torres Strait Island flag after winning an NBA championship in 2014.
In recent years he was grown a louder voice and tried to share his story with teammates and fans.
“I’m very proud to be the first black Australian to win an NBA championship, but I want there to be way more,” Mills said.
“Or even in college. Or even get to some level of anything. And that percentage is low.
"That’s why I am trying to let them know that just because you are black Australian and you are a minority, you can still do it. You can still achieve great things."