As the minutes ticked down to his swansong appearance with the Wollongong Hawks, Glen Saville was asked how he would cope without basketball in his life.
It’s a question he has frequently heard since a serious knee injury in January cut short his 19th NBL season.
And it’s a question Saville often asks of himself.
Now that he is so close to moving into a new phase of life, the 37-year-old forward doesn’t mind admitting the next chapter might take some getting used to.
‘‘I started playing at 11 and was a professional athlete by the time I was 19, and I’ve been a professional basketballer for half my life,’’ Saville said.
‘‘I’ve never really worked, I’ve never really had something to occupy my time outside of this. I’ve only ever really been good at basketball, that’s all I’ve been good at competitively.
‘‘I think I’m still going to have to set myself certain goals that I want to achieve.’’
Saville is positive he won’t venture into coaching and doesn’t expect to become a major player in the business world.
When he mentions goals, he is referring more to those of a sporting nature.
‘‘I’ll do different things and be involved with my wife [Angela] and the running of our fitness business,’’ he said. ‘‘Some of her clients do triathlons.
‘‘Maybe I’ll do something like that or focus on becoming a better surfer or something. These are things that might challenge me along the way.
‘‘That will be a way to compete against myself, rather than against other people. It’s something to aim toward and train for, because I definitely want to stay fit and active.
‘‘I’ve always had a fit and active lifestyle and always been very regimented with that, so I need to continue to set goals for myself. When you’re a professional athlete, it’s all goal orientated and I guess my mind and body are conditioned to that.’’
Saville was always going to draw the curtain on his storied career at the end of the 2012-13 NBL season, but the knee injury brought his retirement forward.
He played an incredible 563 games – the NBL’s all-time fourth highest – and was named finals MVP when the Hawks captured the 2001 championship.
Though he won’t play a single minute of Saturday night's final-round game against Adelaide at WIN Entertainment Centre, the boy from Bendigo is expected to bring the house down when he is presented to the crowd one last time moments before tip-off.
‘‘I don’t want to get too carried away with it because there’s a very important game to be played, so hopefully we can get into the game quickly and get the guys feeding off the crowd,’’ Saville said.
‘‘Hopefully we can use the moment to get the crowd involved and ride the emotion in a real positive, confident way for the rest of the night.’’
The Hawks will form a guard of honour for the dual Olympian, while a long standing ovation is expected to follow.
‘‘It’ll be very emotional,’’ Saville said.
‘‘There’s so many people who helped shape my career and I always get emotional when I speak about them and thank them.
‘‘It’s also so much about the fans. ‘‘That’ll be my opportunity to stand there and just look around at all the faces, and show my appreciation to the fans and thank them.’’
Saville has no desire to become an NBL coach.
‘‘I’ve had so many people ask me if I’m going to get into coaching, but it’s not going to happen,’’ he said.
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