The NBA is one of the most competitive sports in the world, with the league having the most titles since its inception in 1946. However, one of the most infamous moments in league history comes after the 2003-2004 season, when the New York Knicks beat the Charlotte Hornets in Game 7, and the team’s star center, Patrick Ewing, ran into the crowd behind the basket. Perhaps to get a souvenir photo, and perhaps because he didn’t realize how high he jumped, Ewing jumped clear over 7-foot-2 (2.13m) and absolutely gigantic Knicks center Frédéric Weis.
Vince Carter, one of the most dominant dunkers of all time, is known for a dunk so famous it was named after his. But not everyone is aware that when he pulled off the dunk in the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Competition, he was completely unaware that he had jumped over 7-foot-2 infamous Knicks bust Frédéric Weis.
Olympic basketball has never been the same since the legendary United States Dream Team hit the floor in Barcelona, Spain, in 1992. The inclusion of the world’s best NBA players has boosted the game’s popularity across the world and resulted in some of the most memorable moments in basketball history.
During the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, one of the most memorable moments from a US men’s basketball team occurred. NBA great Vince Carter soared clear over France’s 7-foot-2 big, Frédéric Weis, in one of the most spectacular in-game dunks in basketball history during the last game of the group stage versus France.
The worst part is that Carter didn’t understand the full magnitude of the “Dunk of Death” until after the game.
Vince Carter was a member of the star-studded USA Olympic basketball squad in 2000.
Eight years after the 1992 Dream Team created basketball history, the United States assembled another incredible team for the 2000 Olympic Games.
Five Basketball Hall of Famers were on the squad, including Jason Kidd, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Alonzo Mourning, and Gary Payton, as well as Carter, a future Hall of Famer. NBA All-Stars Vin Baker, Antonio McDyess, Allan Houston, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Steve Smith, and Tim Hardaway rounded out the team.
Mourning (22.7), Carter (22.6), and Garnett (22.6) led the squad in minutes per game at the Olympics (22.1). With 10.2, 14.8, and 10.8 points per game, the trio also topped the club in scoring.
Kidd and Payton were the team’s leading ball-handlers, with 4.4 and 3.4 assists per game, respectively.
In 2000, the competition was much superior than what the Dream Team had faced eight years before. On foreign rosters, there were many NBA players and prospects. Predrag Stojakovi (Former Republic of Yugoslavia), Yao Ming (China), Luc Longley (Australia), Steve Nash (Canada), and Andrei Kirilenko are among the names on the list (Russia).
Frédéric Weis, the No. 15 overall draft choice of the New York Knicks in 1999, was a member of the French team that would face the United States in the gold medal game.
Carter recounts his leap over France’s Frédéric Weis.
Carter, the top scorer for the Dream Team that won gold in Tokyo in 2000, is giving color commentary for the basketball at the Tokyo Games twenty-one years later. He recounted his recollections of his memorable Olympic moment on NBC’s Peacock as part of this assignment.
Carter told presenter Kathryn Tappen, “It gives me goosebumps now.” “It was a fantastic event, a fantastic period in my life.” He also said that the “Dunk of Death” is the most often mentioned dunk in his career among fans.
After the famous dunk, the athlete known as “Half Man, Half Amazing” described what occurred next:
Looking back on it now, the interesting thing is that my response wasn’t because I leaped over this guy. It was simply because I thought I had leapt too far and didn’t believe I would make it. That was the end of my party. Kevin Garnett, on the other hand, is really seeing it up up and personal. He’s thrilled because I just leapt over a guy.
On his dunk over Frédéric Weis, Vince Carter
It wasn’t until after the game that “Vinsanity” understood the magnitude of his accomplishment on that dunk:
The tiny mini-cameras have recently been released. After the game, I saw it for the first time on the mini-camera of one of Gary Payton’s friends. I was like, ‘Wait, I leapt over him?’ when he showed me. He seemed to have moved out of the path. He didn’t do it.
On his dunk over Frédéric Weis, Vince Carter
This spectacular dunk will go down in basketball history as one of the first highlights featured on every Carter and USA Basketball highlight film.
Weiss’ reaction to the dunk that brought the two players together wasn’t quite as pleasant.
Weis was never able to make it in the NBA.
(L-R) At the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, Vince Carter of the United States jumps over Frederic Weis of France to dunk; Carter celebrates after his famous “Dunk of Death” | Darren McNamara/Allsport took both pictures.
Weis’s relationship with the New York Knicks is one that neither he nor Knicks fans fondly recall.
In 1999, the club chose the French big man over Ron Artest of the St. John’s, who was born in Queens. According to the New York Times, the selection was despised by fans and many in the organization, including then-head coach Jeff Van Gundy.
Weiss came over to play in the Knicks’ Summer League, but he never appeared in an NBA game for the Knicks or any other club. Didier Rose, his agent, persuaded him to return to his French club for another season. Rose had a stake in the French squad and was ultimately sentenced to jail for “financial misconduct and conflicts of interest.”
Shortly later, the Knicks’ front staff shifted, and the team’s interest in Weiss faded. He played professionally in France and Spain until 2011, when he retired. Weiss and his wife Celia operated a tobacco shop and a pub in Limoges, France, according to a 2015 article in the New York Times.
Basketball Reference provided all stats.
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