By Jennifer Nordin, Staff Writer 

Basketball fans around the world will be watching the Olympic Basketball Tournament closely.   

Yao Ming 

Houston Rockets’ star, Yao Ming, arguably China’s most well-known athlete in the world, will be competing for China’s men’s basketball team.  Yao announced at a press conference June 26 that his doctors indicated he has recovered 80 percent from his foot surgery in March and he is ready to join the Chinese national team. China’s coach, Jonas Kazlauskas, has put Yao on the roster.

 At the press conference, attended by over 300 journalists from around the world, Yao also said, "The Olympics is the biggest chance in my life. I'll try to enjoy the whole process. Important competitions are born with tremendous pressure, and that is how a great match identifies. There is big pressure for the Olympics and there is also big glory. They are not separated."  Yao will face his fellow NBA stars Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets), Carlos Boozer (Utah Jazz), Chris Bosch (Toronto Raptors), Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers), Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic), LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers), Jason Kidd (Dallas Mavericks), Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets), Tayshaun Prince (Detroit Pistons), Michael Redd (Milwaukee Bucks), Dwayne Wade (Miami Heat) and Deron Williams (Utah Jazz) when China plays its Olympic opener against the United States on Aug. 10. 

Seimone Augustus On May 31, Seimone Augustus, guard for the Minnesota Lynx was one of nine players named to the 2008 U.S. Women’s Olympic Basketball Team.  The roster, to be completed by July 1, will include 3 more players.  She will be joined by fellow WNBA stars Lisa Leslie, three-time Olympic gold medalist, of the Los Angeles Sparks, two-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Smith of the Detroit Shock, 2004 Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and Tina Thompson (Houston Comets), as well as first-time Olympians Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky), Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks) and Cappie Pondexter (Phoenix Mercury). 

“It is a privilege and an honor to be able to represent the United States at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, in August,” Augustus said. “This is a dream come true for me and an opportunity that I have been striving for since I first started playing basketball.”

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