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Nowitzki Germany's Olympic flag bearer

Aug. 06, 2008, 2:28 a.m. (ET)

BERLIN(AP) Basketball player Dirk Nowitzki will carry the German flag at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics on Friday.

The 30-year-old Dallas Mavericks forward will lead Germany's basketball team at Beijing, after the team missed out the past two Olympics.

The German Olympic Sports Union said Wednesday that it chose Nowitzki to be the flag bearer because ``he embodies the Olympic idea like hardly anyone else.''

``It has for years been a dream for Dirk Nowitzki to be at the Olympics,'' senior German Olympic official Michael Vesper said in a statement, adding that Nowitzki offers ``a great example for young sportspeople.''

Nowitzki has made clear he is proud to play for his country and helped it to two of its biggest triumphs - silver at the 2005 European Championship and bronze at the 2002 World Championship.