21 years ago, the US national team beat gravity

Historically, the basketball tournament of the Olympics is probably the most striking discipline represented at the Games. It is attended by the most media and highly paid athletes from the NBA, whom we do not see so often in confrontations with overseas teams, and that’s why every time we estimate how much the dominant force of the players acting in the Association are at the moment.

On the basketball players themselves, the change of the situation mainly has a favorable influence: they communicate with experienced partners, make new friends, hang out on the site and try their best to stay in the memories of millions of viewers.

During the Games, we saw a lot of really colorful and memorable throws from above, for example:

* Michael Jordan’s flight over Angola in 1992;

• still a young Pau Gasol through Yao Ming in 2004;

* 360 degrees from Kobe Bryant against the same Angola, but already in 2008;

* poster named after Rudy Fernandez and Dwight Howard from 2008;

• and even the first top hit on the OI among women performed by the Australian Liz Cambage in 2012.

But, despite all the beauty and significance of the moments, none of these or any other dunks can be compared with Vince Carter’s insight at the 2000 Olympics.

“Le dunk de la mort”, aka “Dunk of Death”, has nothing to do with the modern changed motto of the Games ” Faster, higher, stronger-together!”. The hit of the 198-centimeter Carter through the center of the French national team, Frederic Weiss, 2 meters 18 centimeters tall, can rightfully be called the most impudent moment in the history of the Games: Vince with all his nature drew the line between ordinary mortals and the US team that came to play at the tournament.

Even during the training sessions of the national team, the 23-year-old basketball player did not cease to surprise his partners with off-scale athleticism.

“We saw incredible things… he “exploded” when he attacked our “big ones”. I remember looking at Kidd and Payton – they didn’t believe in the reality of what was happening. These were dunks, but at the same time much more than just dunks.

My height is 207 centimeters, once I defended myself against Vince, and he performed a jump throw. The way he took off and hung in the air was not normal, ” recalled defender Stephen Smith.

“He had the most incomparable athleticism in my memory. The way he hovered over the ring and with what fiction he came to an end in the air… it’s just incredible, ” Carter surprised even center Alonzo Mourning.

The head coach of that national team, Rudy Tomyanovich, also has a corresponding story:

“In training, he managed to catch even the canopies sent by far from the ring. He jumped out, took the ball, turned around in the air and scored from above. Jason Kidd was sure that he could send the ball anywhere, and Vince would get to him.”

But no one expected what happened in the match with France. Even Carter, the author of countless outstanding dunks and the champion of the 2000 NBA Top Shot Contest, could not repeat anything like this before or after.

For the national team partners, this moment remained a sudden flash, a real shock. But for Vince, the moments after the interception and before the end of the flight through Weiss lasted much longer.

“I intercepted the ball. I remember how I performed the first conduct, then the second, in order to understand his further actions.

He didn’t even come forward at me, just stood there. I realized that if I was in the air before he even jumped out, he wouldn’t have a damn chance to stop me. But he was still standing there. I just remember putting my hand on his shoulder and being at the top.

After that, I concentrated only on the ring. I didn’t pay any attention to this guy. I didn’t think about what was happening under me on the floor. I didn’t feel his resistance and therefore decided that he either got out of the way, or fell in an attempt to expose himself to a foul in the attack.

At the same time, it seemed to me that I had made a jump too far and was not flying. If you watch the replay, you will see how the upper part of my body stretched out at an angle in the hope of reaching as far as possible.

None of the guys noticed it then, they didn’t understand what was happening at all. And I was just trying to get as close to the ring as possible. The fact that I still managed, in the end, caused me an incredible delight.

And I didn’t think about that guy under me at all,” Carter described what was happening in detail in an interview with ESPN.

Since then, Frederick’s career has gone downhill: neither New York, which selected him in the 1999 NBA draft, nor other Association teams have signed the Frenchman; his success in the national championship and invitations to all-star Matches of the French league also ended in 2000. The fans saw the reason in the “Dunk of Death”, which allegedly broke the center.

But Weiss himself held a different opinion:

“I was just unlucky in the NBA. I had to operate on my back after I went to the Knicks in the Summer League. It was killing me. And then my agent went to prison. Life turned out to be too complicated.”

And to the very dunk of Vince Carter, which many consider the best throw from above not only in the history of the Olympic Games, but also basketball in general, Frederick still treats quite calmly:

“It looked great. But, in the end, it’s only two points.”

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