CHICAGO — Patty Mills may be in the middle of his first season with the Nets, but the Australian guard has been keeping an eye on the Novak Djokovic mess unfolding back in his home country. It’s the latest example of bad COVID-19 behavior that Mills has preached against.
“Yeah [I’ve watched] a little bit. I’ve followed a little bit from afar,” Mills said Wednesday at the Nets’ morning shootaround before they faced the Bulls. “I don’t know if he’s still in hotel quarantine, is that right? Has he left the country yet?”
When Djokovic arrived in Melbourne last week, he was detained and had his visa canceled for trying to enter the country without a valid exemption for Australia’s vaccination requirement. He stated on his application that he hadn’t traveled in the two weeks before his arrival, but he had taken trips to Spain and his native Serbia.
A judge ruled on Monday that Djokovic could stay while the case was determined, but the tennis star admitted Wednesday he didn’t immediately isolate after testing positive for COVID-19 last month. It caused an uproar in Australia, which says more than 90 percent of its population has been vaccinated.
Mills has been vocal about the importance of vaccinations and COVID-19 safety, both stateside and in Australia. Asked Wednesday whether the rules should apply to everybody, Mills, whose teammate Kyrie Irving is notoriously unvaccinated, said flatly they should.
“Yes. I won an Olympic medal and quarantined in a hotel by myself for two weeks,” Mills said. “As much as a buzzkill as it was to [not] go home and celebrate with family and friends, I’ve done it.”
After pouring in 42 points to lead Australia to its first-ever Olympic medal last summer, Mills — along with other members of the delegation that had gone to Tokyo — were subjected to a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine of supervised isolation. South Australia even imposed an extra two-week domestic quarantine on those returning home after isolating in Sydney.
Mills has spoken in the past about vaccine hesitancy in Australia among the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, both of which he considers himself a part of. For him, doing whatever is needed to fight the pandemic is a matter of public good.
“More importantly, I think my perspective of coming from a small community and a small place, especially an indigenous population where this kind of thing can run through a whole community and a generation very quickly,” Mills said. “So, I guess my understanding of doing your part to look after the community is important. One hundred percent.”