With son Kash by her side at home in Newcastle, Leilani Mitchell wants to continue honouring her late mother when aiming to represent Australia at a second Olympics.
And nearing the end of her decorated basketball career, the two-time WNBA most improved is determined to make Tokyo 2020 count.
The Opals missed the podium in Rio following five straight medals from 1996.
"I'm really looking forward to it," Mitchell, 34, told the Newcastle Herald.
"Hopefully we get a medal and things go our way because we don't want a repeat of last Olympics.
"It definitely makes you want it a little bit more, just knowing that it could possibly be your last time representing Australia."
The Opals have yet to officially qualify for the Games, but are expected to book one of 10 available spots in February with Mitchell set to remain in her point-guard role.
Mitchell, who has collected bronze for Australia at the 2014 World Championships and 2019 Asia Cup, said donning the green and gold uniform holds special meaning.
The second youngest of six children, sole daughter Mitchell was born and bred in the US state of Washington with an American father Dennis and Australian mother Eleanor.
"She [mum] was always so proud of where she was from and always wanted us kids to come back and live in Australia," Mitchell said.
"When she passed away I always said that I would come to Australia, but I didn't realise I would just immediately love it and never leave.
"So it's more so to honour her. I know she'd be proud and watches over me.
"This is something she's always wanted for her kids, to not only live in Australia but to be able to represent at national level and the Olympics. She was always proud of me for my sports so I know that she'd enjoy what I'm doing."
Mitchell, signed by new franchise the Southside Flyers after claiming last season's championship at Canberra, played her first WNBL campaign for Dandenong in 2013-14.
That's how she originally met now partner, Hunter product Mikaela Dombkins, and they're raising one-year-old son Kash together at Hamilton.
"Kash is the biggest blessing that either one of us could have ever asked for," Mitchell said.
"He's just so fun. He brings so much laughter and light into our lives."
Mitchell said having Kash, a process that "took a couple of years", has added a new dimension to her life both on and off the court.
"It sort of balances things out because if you have a bad game or you lose, you get right off the court and he's still waiting and he's just got a big smile and he doesn't care what just happened. He just wants to see you," she said. "It puts things into perspective."
Mitchell said "we can't wait to have more" children as they complete renovations at home, which is not too far from the cafes at Beaumont Street and just a short drive to Horseshoe Beach where her dogs often frequent.
"Now we've got our house and have our own home base," she said.
"I love coming back and I know Mikaela loves being here. We've travelled all over the world and she says nothing compares to Newcastle.
"Of course there's other places we like, but it does feel like home."
Mitchell, who has trained at Newcastle Basketball Stadium previously and helped junior representative training sessions, hasn't ruled out a state league cameo with the Hunters in 2020 or beyond.
"I've talked with [coach] Marty McLean about maybe playing a few games this season while I'm here," she said.
In the meantime, Mitchell will continue her WNBL commitments with ladder-leading Southside before the WNBA free agency period begins.
Her decade-long US career has been bookended by most improved gongs at New York in 2010 and last season while with the Phoenix Mercury.
She's unsure how much longer she'll keep playing back-to-back campaigns on either side of the world.
Mitchell grew up in a "good" neighbourhood in the north-west of America.
"Basketball was always the big sport in our family," she said. "I remember we had a basketball hoop outside and my dad installed a big spotlight. Our neighbours used to get mad because we'd be out there until nine or 10 o'clock at night in summer shooting hoops."
Mitchell is expected to join Novocastrian product and fellow Rio Olympian Katie Ebzery in the Opals squad for Tokyo from July 24.
Newcastle women's basketball duo Suzy Batkovic and Jenni Screen won a combined five Olympic medals between them, including silver and bronze together in 2008 and 2012 respectively.
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