Basketball champion Patty Mills became the first Indigenous Australian to carry the flag into an Olympic Games opening ceremony when he marched alongside swimming star and fellow flag-bearer Cate Campbell in Tokyo.

“It’s such an honour and a massive privilege,” said Mills, who was the first Indigenous person to lead Australia since
we started competing back in 1896.

“As a proud Kokatha, Naghiralgal and Dauareb-Meriam man it’s incredible. A very passionate moment I can feel in my bones” he said. 

Following the Australian Olympic Committee’s announcement in early July, Mills— who is both a Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal man—said that while there hadn’t been any discussion about carrying the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander flags at the opening ceremony, he’d still bring them to Tokyo anyway.

Tokyo marks his fourth Olympic Games, but he is as renowned for his work off the court as he is on it.

Early in 2020, he founded Indigenous Basketball Australia, a not-for-profit entity delivering programs at a grassroots level for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths, teaching them skills for both sport and life.

Mills is a vocal advocate for social justice, well known for his commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement.