Special Olympics Australia athlete Eliza Mills lived any basketballers dream as she took the court with NBA legends, WNBA players and other Special Olympics athletes for the Special Olympics Unified Sports Basketball Game.
The game was played on Saturday night as part of the NBA All-Star weekend which took place earlier this month in Toronto, Canada.
NBA Cares joined forces with Special Olympics Unified Sports to bring together people with and without an intellectual disability to compete together at one of the world’s premier sporting events.
Eliza was the only Australian representive of the 12 athletes with an intellectual disability chosen to compete and was blown away by the experience.
“I had a great time, and loved playing alongside basketball legends. It was such an awesome experience,” she said.
The Unified Sports game, where athletes with and without an intellectual disability play on the same team, began with Special Olympics athletes being introduced onto the court, and 2015 NBA Champion Stephen Curry and his father, NBA Legend Dell Curry conducting the ceremonial ball tip.
Curry was then joined by Detroit Pistons centre Andre Drummond, former NBA MVP Steve Nash, NBA legend Yao Ming and 2015 No. 1 overall pick and NBA rookie Karl-Anthony Towns as honorary coaches.
At just 23, Eliza is no stranger to the international stage, having represented Australia at three Special Olympics World Summer Games (Shanghai 2007, Athens 2011 and Los Angeles 2015), bringing home the gold medal in basketball at each event, in two cases alongside her twin sister Bernadette.
At home Eliza plays basketball in Orange, NSW where she is employed at the local hospital.
Special Olympics Australia provides weekly sports training and regular competition for people with an intellectual disability, giving them opportunities to achieve their personal best in sport and in life.
Find out more at www.specialolympics.com.au