Basketball superstar Yao Ming was on Thursday announced as the flag-bearer of Olympic hosts China in the opening ceremony for the Beijing Games, the Xinhua news agency reported.
The 2.26-metres Houston Rockets centre is one of China's most popular athletes and has recovered in time from an injury sustained in spring to play at the home Olympics, dpa reported.
Yao's choice as flag-bearer in Friday's ceremony effectively rules him out as the final torch-bearer to light the Olympic cauldron. In addition, he already carried the torch in Wednesday's leg of the relay.
Other NBA flag-bearers include Dirk Nowitzki (Germany) and Emanuel David Ginobili (Argentina).