Kobe's a cool dude, says Sav

TAKE it from Australian Boomers forward Glen Saville - NBA superstar Kobe Bryant is "a good bloke".Saville returned to Wollongong on Tuesday with fond memories of Beijing.The two-time Olympian will fly to Adelaide today to join his Hawks team-mates for tomorrow night's pre-season trial against the 36ers.Yesterday the Mercury caught up with Saville to find out what it was like to take on the NBA's best players.While Bryant's USA team-mates didn't win many friends on the way to winning the gold medal at Beijing, Saville said the famous Los Angeles Lakers guard left a lasting impression for all the right reasons."Without a shadow of a doubt, Kobe carried himself way above every other person on that team," he said."I'd heard and read stuff about him in the past, but he was a class act all the way through, even going back to when we played them at the pre-Olympic tournament in Shanghai."Most of the other guys on that team just acted like prima donnas. They just carried on like pork chops," he added.One of those Saville was referring to was Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade.Matched against the Americans in the quarter-final, Saville lined up a three-pointer and was fouled hard by Wade when the gold medal favourites were comfortably ahead late in the game.The pair exchanged words, with the Wollongong Hawks forward letting Wade know he wasn't happy about the unnecessary cheap shot."He didn't make a play at the ball, he just ran straight at my legs," the 32-year-old said."He said 'You got the foul', and I just asked him would he have liked it if I'd done the same thing to him. "You kind of want to say more, but it's hard to talk trash when you're down 30."Saville's defensive assignments didn't start and finish with Wade and Bryant in Australia's 31-point quarter-final loss to the eventual champs.He also had the unenviable task of squaring off with Cleveland Cavaliers dynamo LeBron James."One time you come down the floor and you're guarding Kobe Bryant, the next time down you're guarding LeBron James," he said."It was awesome. Not many people get the opportunity to guard those guys in the same game, and I really enjoyed it. "LeBron talks a lot of smack (sledging) and he was talking it to me when I shot a three over him. I might've said something back if the shot went down, but he just talks non-stop."After seven years in the national side, Saville initially had believed he would step down from international duty after Beijing.But he has left the door open."I thought maybe my body might not be up to it again, but I talked to Goorj (coach Brian Goorjian) and he told me not to jump the gun too early."I'll have a good think about it and wait and see what happens with the big revamp coming up for Australian basketball," Saville said."If I do retire from the Boomers, I get to do it on my own terms, and it's a really good way to finish. "Our results were better than Athens and I came away with a lot of good memories."Now that the NBL season is close again, I'm just looking forward to putting the Hawks singlet on again," he added.

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