There’s a confidence to Patty Mills as he walks on to the court of the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre to talk about Tissot’s new role as Official Timekeeper of the NBA. On reflection, this confidence shouldn’t come as a great surprise. The six-foot 27-year-old is at the top of his game as point guard for the San Antonio Spurs where he’s been playing since 2012, a highlight of which was their victory against the Miami Heat to take the 2014 championship. But this is only the latest in a long series of milestones for Mills, who was the youngest ever player on the Australian national team (in a few months he’ll lead the Boomers at the Rio Olympics), and only the second indigenous Australian (and first Torres Strait Islander) to be drafted into the NBA.
For a man who’s enjoyed so much success, Mills comes across as calm, considered and not easily flustered. And certainly, when you’re up against the shot clock in front of 20,000 people, time pressure takes on a whole new meaning. In our interview it also became clear that his awareness of time and its importance extends far beyond the few vital seconds on court.