Patty Mills win 2021 The Don award, Evonne Goolagong Cawley wins inaugural Dawn award

Patty Mills has capped off an unforgettable year, becoming the first basketballer to win the Don award for his inspirational performance at the Tokyo Olympics.

Mills carried the flag and then lifted the Australian Boomers to the nation’s first medal in men’s basketball, scoring 42 points in the bronze medal game in a win over Slovenia.

The Don, named after Sir Donald Bradman, is an annual honour from the Sport Australia Hall of Fame selection committee which is given to an athlete or team who inspires the nation and Mills’ efforts in Tokyo certainly met that requirement.

Mills accepted the award from the US where he is continuing to impress with his new NBA club, the Brooklyn Nets who lead the eastern conference with a 15-6 record.

“I go about my craft as a professional and learn ways to get better, trying to carry myself in a way that I think can inspire others,” Mills said.

“Being recognised in this way to me isn’t about who I sit alongside, it’s about how I can inspire others with my journey.

Australian basketballer Patty Mills has been awarded the Don.

Australian basketballer Patty Mills has been awarded the Don.Credit:Getty Images

“The honour isn’t necessarily about me, it’s about the impact on unity, identity, being proud of who you are and expressing that passionately.”

Australian tennis legend Evonne Goolagong Cawley was named the first winner of the newly created Dawn award, named after swimming legend Dawn Fraser, for an athlete or team in a current or past generation who was courageous, brave and changed sport for the better.

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