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 g its 20th season and the remaining weeks of the

Although hes just 28, San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills has long been a source of pride for Australians.After honing his basketball skills at the Australian Institute of Sport, he made a name for himself in the United States as a collegian at Saint Marys. He was selected in the second round of the 2009 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers and spent two seasons in the Pacific Northwest. He joined the Spurs in 2011 and won an NBA championship in his third season in San Antonio.Now heading into his eighth NBA season, hes moving into elite company in terms of longevity, with only two Australians having played more seasons in the league -- Andrew Bogut (11 and counting) and Luc Longley (10). We recently caught up with Mills to discuss his homeland, the upcoming season, the Rio Olympics, footy and more.Q: How satisfying was it to bring the NBA championship trophy home to Australia in 2014?A: Huge, mate. Really huge. Australia hasnt experienced the NBA in any form or fashion ever, so having that opportunity to not only win the championship, but to take it home to let other people experience. ... At the time, it was me and Aron Baynes on the team, and we felt that support [from Australian fans] throughout the whole season. So I felt it was only the right thing to take the trophy back and let them experience it as well, because to an extent, they were a huge part of it as well. So going back and sharing it was very important. We took it to Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane, Cairns [Baynes hometown] ... and up to the Torres Strait, where my family is from. Its one of those things that gives me the tingles thinking about doing that. Im very proud of that.Q: How does the retirement of Tim Duncan change the chemistry of the Spurs this season?A: Theres obviously an empty feeling in the locker room and on the court, and theres no way to fill that. Tim Duncan has been here for millions of years, and theres no way you can fill that. But I might say that weve all done a great job in trying to pick up his slack to the best of our ability -- to understand that weve got another year here where were trying to reach the Finals again and put ourselves in the best position to hopefully win another championship.Q: How do you see the prospects for the Spurs this season -- especially considering the attention the Golden State Warriors are getting after adding Kevin Durant?A: That hasnt changed from year to year. Weve always been able to go about our business and slide under the radar, and whatever else happens around the league doesnt really bother us. Were really focused on ourselves and how well we can play -- strengthening our weaknesses and getting everyone to buy into our culture and onto the same page. Whatever else goes around the league is beside the point for us.Q: You take a lot of pride in your homeland. How does that manifest itself in your style of play and the way you carry yourself?A: It definitely carries over a lot of passion and pride in who I am and where I come from and making sure I represent those people the right way. And I think that mental attitude I take to everything I do, no matter what it is ... because I want to bring the best out of myself. For me, thats just a small motivation that adds fuel to the fire that I use to get myself going to try and achieve great things.Q: Now that youve had some time to reflect on the Olympics, how do you assess Australias performance in Rio -- in particular, the Boomers narrow bronze-medal game loss to Spain?A: Its one of those things thats going to sting and hurt for a while, but I have had time to reflect on it. Its a bitter feeling, because we did try very hard to win a medal and create history for Australia. We fell short [Spain won 89-88] by millimeters or by seconds or however you want to see it. Now Im teammates with one of those guys [Pau Gasol] who won the bronze medal, so I cant complain a whole lot. But from an Australian point-of-view, the feedback we got when we arrived back in Australia was really comforting. It was really good to know how many people followed our journey -- but not only followed it, they felt like a part of our journey from the beginning until the end. They rode our highs, and they rode our lows as well.Q: You were once pursued by the AFLs Sydney Swans. Do you ever consider what might have been if you had decided to play professional Australian rules football?A: I still do every now and again when I watch a game or I watch the Grand Final. Thats a good story that not a lot of people know. I love playing my footy, and I miss it. I have a Sherrin [AFL game ball] in my locker at the moment, actually, that I bring out onto the court to kick around with the boys.Q: Youre heading into your sixth season with San Antonio. Are you beginning to pick up any of the Texas accent?A: You tell me, mate! Well, this is my sixth season, and the South twang is very hard to ignore. But I think Im doing a decent job of it so far.Q: What do you think of the food in San Antonio?A: I love it. I love other cultures. Theres a Hispanic culture here with Tex-Mex. Theres a country culture with Texas barbecue. I love being amidst it and sampling new stuff. Six out of the 10 years that Ive been in the States have been here in San Antonio. So a big part of my life is here.Q: You will be a free agent next offseason. How much will the opportunity to be a starter influence your decision on where to play?A: Its a factor that I cant ignore. Ive obviously wanted to be a starting point guard in the NBA for a long time as a goal. But you know, every situation is different, and Ive learned stuff along the way. I think Im a better point guard now than I was when I first came to San Antonio. That credit goes to the environment here and how Ive been able to develop my game. Thats something that Im going to have to consider. Its not the be-all and end-all of my decision, but well see when it comes. This is obviously a big year for our team and trying to be able to concentrate and stay focused team-wise on trying to get to that next level of a championship. But if I can concentrate and focus on this team and what I can do to help this team, I think everything else will take care of itself.Q: Youre a long way from the end of your career, but would you have interest in playing in the Australian NBL (National Basketball League) when youre done competing in the NBA?A: Its definitely a consideration -- especially how well the NBL is doing now. They have my full backing and support, because the league has definitely risen to a whole other level in the last couple years, which is pleasing to see. I definitely would consider playing back in Australia at the end of my career. Not a lot of my family have been able to come over [to the U.S.] and watch me play. To be able to play in front of family and friends is very important to me, [so they could] be able to see me play live and not just on TV. Jerseys Cheap Wholesale . - Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie never doubted he would bring back coach Dennis Allen for a third year despite back-to-back 4-12 records. Wholesale MLB Jerseys . LOUIS -- Attorneys for the St. . Siddikur, whose previous win on the circuit came in Brunei three years ago, finished his bogey-free round with a birdie on the 18th for a total of 17-under 199. Indias Shiv Chowrasia, who has finished runner-up in this tournament twice, was in second place after a 66. Cheap Baseball Jerseys . Each of Houstons starters scored in double figures as the Rockets improved to 2-0 against the Spurs this season, with both victories coming on the road. They also moved within 3 1/2 games of San Antonio (22-7) for the lead the Southwest Division. China NFL Jerseys . - Goaltender Philippe Desrosiers of the Rimouski Oceanic has broken a shutout record that was only three months old in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. RIO DE JANEIRO -- With the Olympics behind it, the WNBA is ready to restart its season after a monthlong break.There should be quite the sprint to the finish during the leagues final weeks, starting Friday through Sept. 18.Very excited to get the back end of the season going, WNBA President Lisa Borders said. You think about the format changes, top eight teams make the playoffs, doesnt matter what your geography is, it matters what your record is.Only 4 1-2 games separate fourth place and 11th after the league changed its playoff format this season to get rid of conferences. The top eight teams will make the playoffs.The league is very close right now and anybody can make it into the playoffs or get kicked out at this point, Chicago Sky star Elena Delle Donne said. Every game is do or die.Phoenix, which had nearly half its team go to Rio, has been the biggest disappointment this season. Picked in preseason by the leagues general managers to win the title, the Mercury sit at 10-14 in seventh place.The WNBA season is very tricky, especially with the Olympic break, Diana Taurasi said. If we can start building momentum and playing good basketball, we have championship-caliber talent. We just need to start playing like it.Los Angeles and Minnesota have already clinched playoff spots and likely will be the top two seeds, earning byes into the semifinals. The Sparks had plenty of time to rest during the last month as none of their players made the Olympic team.Not the case for Minnesota, which had coach Cheryl Reeve and stars Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles all playing for the gold medal-winning team.Reeve isnt worried about the impact of the Olympics on her core four.They would have been playing anywhere whether it was here or there, she said. The domestic stuff was pretty challenging on their time and their bodies. Once we got to Rio and settled on the (cruise) ship and got a little more of a rhythm and downtime. ... Genos done a great job managing their bodies. Well ccontinue down that path.ddddddddddddHere are a few other things to watch as the WNBA gets back underway on Friday:RETURNING FROM INJURY: New York sits in third place and should get a boost from the return of Epiphanny Prince, who missed the first 26 games while recovering from an ACL injury . Coach Bill Laimbeer expects her to be ready come playoff time.FAREWELL: Tamika Catchings won her fourth gold medal and winds down her playing career in Indiana. Shes not the only person retiring at the end of the season. Penny Taylor also announced this is her last year playing professionally . Swin Cash announced her retirement in the middle of the season, effective at the end of this year. San Antonio coach Dan Hughes said before the season it would be his final one on the bench.POWER POLL: The AP power poll will return on Tuesday. The previous poll order before the break: Los Angeles, Minnesota, New York, Indiana, Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix, Seattle, Connecticut, Dallas, Washington and San Antonio.SUPER 20: The WNBA is celebrating its 20th season and the remaining weeks of the regular season with a new ad and sweepstakes through Sept. 18. The league is offering any fan who buys a ticket entry into a sweepstakes to attend next years WNBA All-Star game or the NBA All-Star game or a cash prize.There will be one winner selected for each All-Star game, and the package includes two tickets, transportation and accommodations.With all the interest coming out of the Olympics and our womens national team, with their sixth consecutive gold medal, we really wanted to do something special for our fans and create something that would say thank you to our core fans, WNBA chief operating officer Jay Parry said. And also introduce the WNBA to casual fans and give them a reason to come to a WNBA game as we race towards the playoffs.---Follow Doug on Twitter at Cheap NFL T-shirts Discount Jerseys Wholesale NFL Gear Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys From China China NFL Jerseys Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Jerseys Wholesale Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping China Jerseys Cheap Stitched Jerseys NFL Jerseys China Jerseys NFL Cheap Cheap Stitched Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic ' ' '

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