Yi Jianlian to reportedly carry China's flag for Olympics opening ceremony
Yi Jianlian will reportedly carry China's national flag for the Olympics opening ceremony on Friday, according to ChinaDaily.com:
Sina.com, one of China's largest news portals, claimed to have received a text message from Yi saying the announcement will be made official later today.
Xiao Tian, deputy chef de mission of the Chinese Olympic delegation, said that the carrier of the flag needs to possess, among other qualities, a sense of influence:
"He or she needs to have an impressive record in sports, be tall, handsome and influential."
Tian also said that China will "continue the tradition" of choosing a flag-bearer. Former NBA center Yao Ming carried the flag for China at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and in Athens in 2004.
The report goes so far as to say that a Chinese sports official confirmed that the chosen person will again be a basketball player. Jianlian began his NBA career in 2007 as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks. He has enjoyed mixed success in the NBA, showing promise at times while also being very much a journeyman. He has also played for the Brooklyn Nets when they were in New Jersey, Washington Wizards and last season for the Dallas Mavericks. He was most recently on the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League.