Since the iconic U.S. Dream Team took the court in Barcelona, Spain, in 1992, Olympic basketball has never been the same. The addition of the biggest NBA stars in the world has grown the game around the globe and produced some of the most memorable moments in basketball history.
One of the most memorable moments from a U.S. men’s basketball team came during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. During the final game of the group stage against France, NBA star Vince Carter jumped clear over France’s 7-foot-2 center, Frédéric Weis, in one of the most incredible in-game dunks in basketball history.
The kicker is, Carter didn’t even realize the full extent of what is now known as the “Dunk of Death” until after the game.
Vince Carter was part of a star-studded 2000 USA Olympic basketball team
Eight years after the ’92 Dream Team made basketball history, the U.S. put together another amazing squad to compete in the 2000 Olympic Games.
The team included five Basketball Hall of Famers – Jason Kidd, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Alonzo Mourning, and Gary Payton – as well as Carter, a future member of the Hall. Rounding out the squad were NBA All-Stars, including Vin Baker, Antonio McDyess, Allan Houston, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Steve Smith, and Tim Hardaway.
Leading the team in minutes per game that Olympics were Mourning (22.7), Carter (22.6), and Garnett (22.1). The trio also led the team in points per game at 10.2, 14.8, and 10.8, respectively.
Kidd and Payton were the lead ball-handlers on that team and chipped in 4.4 and 3.4 assists per game.
The competition in 2000 was much better than what the Dream Team faced eight years earlier. Several NBA players and prospects were on international rosters. These names include Predrag Stojaković (Former Republic of Yugoslavia), Yao Ming (China), Luc Longley (Australia), Steve Nash (Canada), and Andrei Kirilenko (Russia).
France, who the U.S. would meet in the Gold medal game, boasted the New York Knicks’ 1999 No. 15 overall draft pick, Frédéric Weis.
Carter tells the story of jumping over France’s Frédéric Weis
Twenty-one years after the 2000 version of the Dream Team won gold in Tokyo, their leading scorer, Carter, is providing color commentary for the basketball at the Tokyo Games. As part of this role, he shared his memories of his iconic Olympic moment on NBC’s Peacock.
“It gives me chills now,” Carter shared with host Kathryn Tappen. “It was a great moment, a great time in my life.” He also said that the “Dunk of Death” is the dunk from his career that fans most often bring up to him.
The player once called “Half Man, Half Amazing” then explained what happened after the memorable dunk:
The funny thing about it, looking at it now, and my reaction wasn’t because I jumped over this gentleman. It was just because I felt like I jumped too far, and I didn’t think I was going to make it. So that was my celebration. But you see Kevin Garnett, he’s actually watching it up close and personal. He’s celebrating that I just jumped over a man.Vince Carter on his dunk over Frédéric Weis
It wasn’t until after the game that “Vinsanity” realized what he incredible feat he accomplished on that dunk:
The little mini-cameras just came out. I watched it for the first time after the game on the mini-camera of one of Gary Payton’s buddies. And he showed me, and I was just like, ‘Wait, I jumped over him?’ I thought he got out of the way. He did not.Vince Carter on his dunk over Frédéric Weis
This incredible dunk will go down in basketball history and forever be one of the first clips shown on every Carter and USA Basketball highlight reel.
For Weiss, the aftermath of the dunk that connects the two players wasn’t nearly as positive.
Weis never made it in the NBA
The story of Weis and the New York Knicks is one that both he and Knicks fans don’t remember fondly.
The team took the French big man in 1999 over the Queens-born St. John’s star Ron Artest. Fans and many people in the organization, including then-head coach Jeff Van Gundy, disliked the pick, per the New York Times.
Weiss came over and played in Summer League with the Knicks but never played in an official NBA game for New York or any other team. His agent, Didier Rose, convinced him to return to his club in France for another season. Rose owned a part of that French team and eventually “went to prison on charges related to financial impropriety and conflicts of interest.”
The Knicks front office changed over shortly after, and the team’s interest in Weiss dissipated. He continued to play professionally in France and Spain until he retired in 2011. As of the Times’ 2015 profile, Weiss and his wife Celia owned a tobacco store and a bar in Limoges, France.
All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference