CAPE TOWN – Liz Mills’ decision to look more professional when coaching basketball games by wearing high-heeled leather boots instead of sneakers was somehow seen as provocation.
To make sense of that, you have to understand her environment.
Mills coaches men's basketball. She has for a decade in Africa at both the club and national level. The Australian is now head coach of Kenya, the only woman in the world currently in charge of a men's national team.
She decided years ago that she may as well confront the issue. The woman in the room, if you like. And so, the boots.
“I think it was a way of looking more professional but also reminding everybody that I’m a woman and I’m not afraid of that and I want you to know that,” Mills said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I wanted to walk in and be like, this is me, here I am.”
Some male officials tried to stop her from wearing the boots, citing damage to the court. Mills knew that was a lie.
“They were offended by my presence," she said.
In a way, the boots ultimately worked out. Mills hasn't had any problems recently. In fact, there was a commotion when Mills didn't wear them one game. They're now accepted, even embraced. Maybe Mills is also.