BEIJING Last year, Andrei Kirilenko led his Russian men's national basketball team in the 2007 European Championships.
This Friday, he'll lead in a different way Russia's entire Olympic sports delegation in the Beijing Summer Games' opening ceremonies.
Kirilenko has been selected to carry the Russian flag as he and his Olympic peers enter into and parade around Beijing's National Stadium.
"Representing in front of the world, you know, is a big honor," said the longtime Utah Jazz forward, "and I will try to do my best."
The selection to carry Russia's flag came as a surprise, and he's a little uncertain about the procedures and protocols.
"I'm not sure how it's going to go, and if they have a practice or something," he said. "I think there's going to be a practice before the whole ceremony."
Kirilenko will be making his second Olympics appearance in Beijing. As a 19-year-old Jazz draft pick who had yet to play in the NBA, he participated in the 2000 Sydney Summer Games.
As the team's standout last summer, he led Russia to the '07 European Championships title, clinching his team a berth in the Beijing Games and a personal eight-year Olympic absence.
And then came the flag-bearing invite."It is, like, everybody is asking, like a dream," Kirilenko said, then adding a clarification. "It's more than a dream you never dream about it. Right now, you get selected and the whole (Russian sports teams') captains support you, and so it's a big honor."
- BYU players work out at Pro Day in hopes of...
- BYU football hosts 'Friday Night Lights'...
- Former longtime Utah Jazz broadcaster Hot Rod...
- Utah football: Booker's return lifts offense,...
- Can Utes turn Sweet 16 dance into date with...
- Runnin' Utes take on Duke in Texas-sized venue
- A not-so-Sweet 16 for the Runnin' Utes as...
- Home games on the Sabbath: RSL president...
- Utes to face Duke in the Sweet 16... 207
- Dick Harmon: Taysom Hill is making a... 31
- Guest commentary: Utah Jazz face an... 31
- A not-so-Sweet 16 for the Runnin' Utes... 29
- Can Utes turn Sweet 16 dance into date... 27
- Photo gallery and video replay: BYU... 23
- It's Coach K vs. Coach K as Utah... 22
- Ogden chooses to play as an independent... 21