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Update: Indigenous Basketball Australia Signs With New Sponsors


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he NBA has announced a partnership with San Antonio Spurs star, Patty Mills’ Indigenous Basketball Australia (IBA) program for its inaugural year.

The IBA has now secured sponsor partnerships for the initiative, signing on with sports brand Under Armour, basketball equipment supplier Spalding, Coles, Ref Warehouse, and Archer Officials.

As part of the deal, the NBA will hold a basketball camp led by international NBA coaches at the National Indigenous Basketball Tournament (NIBT) on the Gold Coast from April 11-13, with the hope of empowering young Indigenous boys and girls through the Jr. NBA.

The camp will train 48 boys and girls, with up to two boys and two girls participating in the Indigenous Community Basketball League (ICBL) and NIBT to be selected to participate in the JR. NBA Global Championship Asia-Pacific athlete selection pathway camp in late-2021.

Announcing the partnership with the NBA, Mills said: “Basketball as a sport has brought me happiness, joy, education and a real sense of purpose and perspective.”

“It has changed my world and shaped the person I am today.

“However, not everyone has had the same opportunities as I have, which is why I’m so dedicated to using my platform, my profile, and my voice to develop innovative programs like the IBA, which will allow my people to really own their story.

“I have spent over 10 years in the NBA, an organisation that has not only supported and championed me as an athlete, but celebrated my cultural identity as an Australia, an Indigenous man of the land.

“I am ecstatic and filled with immense pride to have the world’s most renowned professional basketball league join forces with IBA, the work we are going to do together will make a real impact to the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths,” he said.

NBA managing director of Asia, Scott Levy, said the decision to partner with Mills’ IBA is a shared goal of the NBA and IBA.

“We are proud to stand alongside NBA champion, Patty Mills, an Australian icon for his basketball achievements and for his tireless off-the-court efforts to positively effect change in his community,” Levy said.

“Youth empowerment is a shared goal of the NBA and IBA, and through the Jr. NBA program, we can support Patty’s mission of providing opportunities and pathways for Indigenous youth of Australia,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mills’ NBA team, the San Antonio Spurs, are reportedly in talks with private equity firm CVC Capital Partners over a 15% minority stake that would value the franchise at USD$1.3 billion (AUD$1.7 billion).

The discussions have been revealed after a recent report from Sportico that the NBA has agreed private equity funds and other institutional investors can now hold up to a 20% stake in a single franchise and can own shares in up to five teams.

If the deal was finalised, it would be likely the Luxemburg-based CVC would take a spot on the Spurs’ board of directors and have a voice in commercial operations.

The report suggested the negotiations between the two parties began about a year ago.

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