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Beijing Olympics feature 42 NBA players
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A record of 42 current and former NBA players represented their Olympic national teams at the 2008 Olympic Games men's basketball competitions.

It is the highest number since NBA players began competing in the Olympics in 1992. Ten out of the 12 Olympic teams have at least one current or former NBA player on their rosters.

The NBA was also represented in a prominent way at the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games on Friday. Four current NBA players carried the flag during the procession for their respective country, Argentina's Manu Ginobili, China's Yao Ming (Houston Rockets), Germany's Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks) and Russia's Andrei Kirilenko (Utah Jazz). Former NBA guard Sarunas Jasikevicius carried the flag for Lithuania.

"It shows that basketball is getting bigger all over the world," said Nowitzki. "Basketball used to be a smaller sport, but now everybody plays it. The NBA has fans all over the world. It's becoming a global game."

All 12 members of the United States Olympic Men's Basketball Team currently play in the NBA, led by reigning league Most Valuable Player Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers) and three other 2008 NBA First Team selections, Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic), LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets).

Next to the USA, the Spanish Olympic Team features the most current or former NBA players with seven, four of which are active.

Argentina's roster showcases five current or former NBA players, including active players Ginobili, Andres Nocioni (Chicago Bulls), Fabricio Oberto (San Antonio Spurs) and Luis Scola (Houston Rockets).

China, Croatia, Greece and Russia each have three current or former NBA players on their roster while Australia, Germany and Lithuania each are represented by two.

Current NBA players (28):

Argentina (4): Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs), Andres Nocioni (Chicago Bulls), Fabricio Oberto (San Antonio Spurs), Luis Scola (Houston Rockets)

Australia (1): Andrew Bogut (Milwaukee Bucks)

China (2): Yao Ming (Houston Rockets), Yi Jianlian (New Jersey Nets)

Croatia (1): Roko-Leni Ukic (Toronto Raptors)

Germany (2): Chris Kaman (Los Angeles Clippers), Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks)

Lithuania (1): Linas Kleiza (Denver Nuggets)

Russia (1): Andrei Kirilenko (Utah Jazz)

Spain (4): Pau Gasol (Los Angeles Lakers), Rudy Fernandez (Portland Trail Blazers), Jose-Manuel Calderon (Toronto Raptors), Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies)

United States (12): Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets), Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors), Carlos Boozer (Utah Jazz), Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers), Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic), Jason Kidd (Dallas Mavericks), LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers), Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets), Tayshaun Prince (Detroit Pistons), Michael Redd (Milwaukee Bucks), Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat), Deron Williams (Utah Jazz)

Former NBA players (14):

Argentina (1): Carlos Delfino (Toronto Raptors 07 - 08, Detroit Pistons 04 - 07)

Australia (1): Chris Anstey (Chicago Bulls 99 - 00, Dallas Mavericks 97 - 99)

China (1): Wang Zhizhi (Miami Heat 04 - 05, Los Angeles Clippers 02 - 04, Dallas Mavericks 01 - 02)

Croatia (2): Zoran Planinic (New Jersey Nets 03 - 06), Damir Markota (Milwaukee Bucks 06 - 07)

Greece (3): Vassilis Spanoulis (Houston Rockets 06 - 07), Antonis Fotsis (Memphis Grizzlies 01 - 02), Andreas Gliniadakis (Seattle SuperSonics 06 - 07)

Lithuania (1): Sarunas Jasikevicius (Golden State Warriors 07, Indiana Pacers 05 - 07)

Russia (2): Sergey Monya (Portland Trailblazers 05 - 06, Sacramento Kings 2006), Nikita Morgunov (Portland Trailblazers 99 - 01)

Spain (3): Juan Carlos Navarro (Memphis Grizzlies 07 - 08), Jorge Garbajosa (Toronto Raptors 07 - 08), Raul Lopez (Utah Jazz 02 - 05).

(Xinhua News Agency August 10, 2008)

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