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Brooklyn Nets basketball guard Patty Mills didn’t need to be persuaded to advocate good-neighbor policies.
“I put my hand up when I got the call to see if I wanted to be involved,” he said of his title sponsorship of the Patty Mills North Shore Classic.
The four-team collegiate tournament is taking place today and tomorrow at the Cannon Activities Center on the Brigham Young Hawaii campus in Laie. Mills and his wife bought an off-season home in Haleiwa in 2016.
“Living on the North Shore, so many friends and family that we have there, it kind of made sense to be involved in something that was for the community and for the culture, and to do it through a platform like basketball,” he said mills .
Mills’ involvement stems from his longtime friendship with University of Hawaii basketball coach Eran Ganot and their ties to Saint Mary’s College. Ganot was Saint Mary’s assistant coach before and after Mill’s tenure with the Gaels. But Mills’ wife, Alyssa, was playing for the Saint Mary women’s basketball team during one of Ganot’s stints. The connection of Saint Mary developed into a friendship between the von Mills and Ganot families.
“I know Eran Ganot has been working behind the scenes for a long time to build UH’s men’s basketball team outside of Honolulu and into (other) communities,” Mills said. “It was a great opportunity.”
It’s fitting that UH and Sacramento State are paired in today’s opening round. Tip-off is at 3:30 p.m. David Patrick, who coached Mills at Saint Mary’s, is Sacramento State’s head coach. “Stars came together for the inaugural North Shore Classic and pitted David Patrick and Eran Ganot against each other,” Mills said. “I’m excited.”
Mills is unable to play in the tournament due to the Nets’ hectic schedule. But he is confident that the tournament will be an annual event.
“Hopefully this is an event that can continue to grow and attract more schools and get the community involved,” Mills said.
Mills, who grew up in Australia, said the north coast is similar to the Torres Strait islands. “The culture and traditions are very strong at home,” he said. “The lifestyle on the north coast is very familiar and similar to home. I really appreciate the culture, the land and the sea. Even more than that, it’s the people we’ve been able to form close friendships with that really make a place special.”
As part of his sponsorship, Mills wanted to make the event affordable. General admission tickets are $10 each. There is no entry fee for military personnel presenting valid ID at the Cannon box office. There is also no admission fee for UH and BYUH students and children under 12 years old. Parking is free. There is also a social media contest where five finalists will be chosen from the submission of images captioned about their meaning of Aloha. Prizes include a trip to New York for a Brooklyn Nets home game and jerseys signed by Mills, Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons. A cultural welcome will be held before the UH-Sacramento State game today at 3:10 p.m.
Ticket details are available at Northshoreclassicbball.com
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