According to a Russian Web site, Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko will carry the flag for his native country's delegation during opening ceremonies at next month's Olympic Games in China.

Tennis star Maria Sharapova "had wanted the honor," russiatoday.ru reported, "but was told to save her energy for the tennis tournament."

Asked at a news conference if Kirilenko would be tapped, Russian Olympic chief Leonid Tyagachev reportedly asked, "Would you like it to be Kirilenko?" and, after some in attendance responded affirmatively, added, "It will be my pleasure to fulfill your desire."

Kirilenko stars on the Russian team, which he led to a surprise win vat last year's FIBA European Championships.