Dec 20

Friendship With Mills Brings Out The Best In Bala Fernandez

By sarahhecht Posted in: RudyFernandez, PattyMills
Rudy Fernandez and Patty Mills. Is it just me, or do those two play incredibly well as a tandem? During the Clippers game last week I noticed their continual connections. Patty to Rudy for a reverse. Patty to Rudy for three. Patty to Rudy for a tip-in. Over and over. I thought, what’s different? Why do they make each other so much better? Here’s what I’ve come up with, friendship.

I’m not quite sure when or how, but Rudy and Patty developed a close bond off the court. The pair hang out on road trips, share neighboring lockers, tweet each other constantly and seem ready to throw down a headlock with a noogie at any time. The constant joking and laughter coming from their direction always brings smiles to those surrounding.

Then it happened on the court for all to see. Patty earned the back-up Point Guard spot from rookie Armon Johnson and was tossed into the second unit salad bowl. Evidenced from the videos above, the Rudy-Patty connection, or whatever moniker it will undoubtedly earn, was born.

I caught up with Patty recently and asked for his thoughts on my theory. They echoed mine completely. “It starts off the court, first of all, before you even talk about basketball. Us internationals like to stick together” he said “Me and Rudy kinda kicked it off quite well last year. And that kinda translates off the court. I think that he’s having a lot more fun out there now, he’s not really thinking about things to much he’s just going out there and having fun. I think that’s a big key..”

As we delved deeper into the conversation Patty called Rudy over, I told him my idea about their friendship and how it translated to the hardwood. Rudy’s response, “I don’t have a relation with him.” We all had a good chuckle and Rudy explained Patty’s influence on him in the clearest english I’ve heard from him yet. “We connect in the court. I have to take confidence. He’s a great person, great guy. I feel great when I play with him. He helped me a lot in my confidence, and he is a good person. I think that basketball sometimes is up and down, and Patty help me a lot in this moments.”

My up-close look at the duo left me enamored with thoughts of future high-flying Patty to Rudy dunks and deep three-pointers. I knew dividends would be paid. To my surprise, the future would come that night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Rudy had a career-high 26 points while nailing  3-of-4 shots from downtown in the first half alone. Following the game Rudy described just how much fun he had. “I think that for me today, in the game you know it’s have fun, it’s I’m feeling good, I’m feeling play free you know and this is what I want.”

The now visible impact of Patty on Rudy has been enthralling to watch, but the power of friendship for these two can’t be measured on a stat sheet. It transcends the game and comes down to the two words they use for each other, “my bala.” Which simply put means, my brother.


  1. Nice blog! Glad Patty and Rudy have deleloped a off court friendship and love seeing the results on the court !!

    by RedRudy5 on 12/20/2010 1:29 PM
  2. I thought so. ;-)

    by occassia on 12/20/2010 2:17 PM
  3. I find it interesting that two short months ago, a large number of Blazer fans were ready to give up on both Rudy and Patty....

    Good article, Sarah.

    by Storyteller on 12/20/2010 4:31 PM
  4. My thoughts exactly, Sarah. Ever since Patty was given more playing time, Rudy's game has picked up a lot. He's playing better, and having fun. It's this kind of commradary that will take this team to the next level. No need to make a rash trade right now. The team is starting to click and gel, all while Roy is resting. Look out league and take note. The Blazers will have a strong second half season and will be a force to reckon with.

    by blazerdarren77 on 12/20/2010 4:31 PM
  5. They are a great duo!

    by vansrnice1 on 12/20/2010 9:29 PM
  6. Great teammates, and great friends off the court, equals a great combo on the court. Thanks for the great blog it was a fun read.

    by Kraydayz on 12/20/2010 10:09 PM
  7. They're fantastic together, and pretty! Chemistry is really coming through on the court, it's reminiscent of the spansish armada. Also, pretty.

    by gimmlee on 1/5/2011 7:30 PM
  8. Sarah, i remember over the summer Brandon speaking of reaching out to Rudy to help lessen his homesickness. it seems that Patty has taken it upon himself to do just that. the only thing i'd add to your examples is that Patty takes Rudy to the airport to go on road trips!

    by Kassandra on 1/9/2011 5:35 PM
  9. great blog sarah. it is fun to watch those two play and you can see it on the court. glad patty and rudy hit it off i think part of it is they get the homesickness and being so far away from home. not all teams have tight freindships on and off the court so we are blessed to have that here. lets not be rash on trades and mess the chemistry unless it strengthens our already depleted team.

    by oregongal47 view (TG) on 1/29/2011 10:34 PM
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