Thad Young always has been as serious about business as he is basketball. The Bulls’ veteran forward is about to merge the two, confirming a tweet from the New York Times’ Marc Stein that he’s poised to acquire a minority ownership in the Brisbane Bullets of Australia’s National Basketball League. “I expect it to be finalized in the next week or so,” Young said Friday on a Zoom call. “Definitely happy about being a part of the NBL and the Brisbane family. I think it’s definitely going to be something that’s really good in the coming years.”
Young has overseen an AAU program based in Memphis, Tenn., that has created a national profile and won the 2019 UAA Finals. A Georgia Tech graduate, he also created a private investment fund and has ventured into real estate and sports training ventures. “It’s fresh,” Young said of the NBL. “You get in on the early side and help it grow over the course of time so you can obviously see multiples in your capital. But you’re also part of something you can help grow.”
Interviewed by ESPN, San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills has confirmed he will participate in the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, with a clear goal in his mind. “Oh, it’s crystal clear, mate. No hesitation at all. I think everyone is well aware of that, throughout the program, the team, obviously Goorjan, players as well… there’s no doubt about it. Not a single ounce of blood in my body says otherwise. I’m fully committed, and it obviously comes from a very genuine place and the goal that we have as a team… and we are very determined to accomplish it. We have an absolute chance to achieve that in Tokyo. Everyone who’s a part of that program right now, from the head coach all the way to the equipment manager, everyone’s gotta be locked in and feel the exact same way as we feel: determined, fire burning inside, desire to do everything we possibly can to win this gold medal”, Mills said.
“Massive,” Mills says, when asked if Simmons’ full-throttled involvement with the Boomers could lift the program’s national standing. “You’re not gonna deny his involvement would not only reach a goal for the playing group of a gold medal, but the overall stature of the program; there’s no doubt about it. This is where it’s more of a group effort to be able to build our program to a point where someone like Ben Simmons, who’s our first ever Australian NBA All-Star, says, ‘heck yeah … I wanna be back there, whether I’m injured or this or that or whatever; I wanna be part of that’.”
“The program is only as strong as its players will take it,” Mills says, before repeating himself. “I don’t say that necessarily as a good thing. We definitely have got some work to do in this area, I believe, but for now it’s full focus on Tokyo, and a gold medal would do wonders for our program, as at least a starting point. There’s a prestigious feeling within our program that needs to be a joint effort between the playing group and Basketball Australia to make sure when — we’ve lost ‘Bogues’ [Andrew Bogut], obviously — I step away, when Joe Ingles steps away, ‘Delly’ [Matthew Dellavedova], [Aron] Baynes — that that program is still elite, if not even more levels up, as it should be.”
In order to understand what the Australian national team truly means to Patty Mills, you first have to recognise what Australia means to Patrick Mills. “I’ll always say this: my name is Patrick Mills, I’m a Kokatha man from South Australia, and I’m a Naghiralgal and Dauareb-Meriam man of the Torres Strait Islands,” Mills says, almost rehearsed. “My connections and roots to this land of Australia — the sea, the reefs, the sky, the stars — come from a time and place that existed long before basketball was invented, and definitely long before the Boomers program was created. I always like to come back to that. That’s my connection to everything, that my passion comes from my people, and what they mean to this country.”
The Tasmania JackJumpers have announced the appointment of former NBA player and coach Scott Roth as their inaugural Head Coach. Roth is currently assistant coach with the reigning NBL Champions, the Perth Wildcats.