Yao, Nowitzki selected as flag-bearers for Games opening ceremony

Updated: August 7, 2008, 1:05 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Wave That Flag...

NBA players are having a big impact on the 2008 Olympics. At least four will be the flag-bearers for their respective countries. Here's a list as of Thursday:

Player Nation
Yao Ming China
Dirk Nowitzki Germany
Manu Ginobili Argentina
Andrei Kirilenko Russia
BEIJING -- Chinese basketball player Yao Ming will carry the host nation's flag at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on Friday, the deputy head of China's team said on Thursday.

"The Chinese delegation has already decided that the flag-bearer will be Yao Ming," Cui Dalin told reporters.

Yao, of the Houston Rockets, joins a growing list of NBA stars who will bear their nation's standard during the opening ceremony. FIBA.com reported Thursday that Dirk Nowitzki of Germany will carry the German flag into the Bird's Nest stadium.

"On Friday, I will experience something astonishing," Nowitzki, of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, said in Beijing, according to the report. "I never thought I would be chosen to carry the flag but maybe it's happened because a lot of athletes identify with me."

Manu Ginobili of Argentina, Andrei Kirilenko of Russia and Sarunas Jasikevicius of Lithuania have also been tapped as flag-bearers for the opening ceremony, according to the report.

Reuters contributed to this report.