The San Antonio Spurs are on the verge of sweeping the Utah Jazz in their first-round playoff series which would mean one step closer to the NBA Finals and a shot at the franchise's fifth NBA title.
The playoffs are such an exciting time during the NBA season and just being in the league has to be an exciting time in a player's life. It is considered the pinnacle of basketball and many strive to make it there and hopefully walk away with an NBA championship ring.
Well maybe not every basketball player shares that strong sentiment.
The 2012 Olympics are nearing and the Spurs will have players represented in London who will be playing for their respective home country. One player is Spurs' guard Patty Mills.
Mills will be playing in London this summer for Australia but when it comes to playing in the NBA versus representing his country, he makes it clear, nothing beats playing for an Olympic medal.
'For me, there is nothing better than representing Australia at that level, and that's something I always dreamed of. Playing in the NBA is one thing but nothing will beat playing for Australia for an Olympic medal.''
This sentiment is shared by many international players and even shared by Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Tiago Splitter. Representing their home country is such a huge honor for these Spurs players which is a feeling not fully shared by many American players.
Spurs fans (and probably the coaching staff) dread knowing one or all of these players might get hit with an injury and thus affect their playing status come the new season. Especially for players such as Ginobili (who did suffer an ankle injury in international play) and Parker.
However, their home-country pride, playing against some of the world's best players is such a draw for international player in the NBA that it is hard for them to decline paying in the Olympics.
As for Mills and Team Australia, it might be a tough road to any medal in London with teams such as the US, Spain and France being huge favorites to medal. Add the fact Andrew Bogut won't be suiting up for Australia, it will mean a tougher march to an Olympic medal.
Speaking of Parker, Mills also has been learning much from TP and says his game is improving because of what he is learning from the Spurs' All-Star which will help him in London this summer and beyond.
"For me personally, just being here a couple of months now and learning things off Tony Parker, and watching him day in and day out, has been a great opportunity. I've learnt a lot from him as a player and as a leader"
''It won't just help me in London, but for the rest of my career. I've learnt things here I don't think I would have been able to learn anywhere else. Hopefully I'll be able to implement those things in games when I get the chance."
Well Mills might be able to use any lessons learned from Parker should France and Australia meet at the Olympics. Who knows, maybe we will see Mills hit a teardrop shot on TP in London.