That Time Vince Carter Dunked on a French Guy

That Time Vince Carter Dunked on a French Guy

NBA veteran remembers the moment 15 years later.

Published September 25, 2015

Fifteen years later, it still resonates as arguably the greatest dunk of all time.

Vince Carter steals the ball near halfcourt, takes two dribbles and leaps over 7-2 French center Frederic Weiss for a riveting right-handed dunk during the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

With Friday marking the 15th anniversary of the enthralling September 25, 2000 play, Carter told ESPN that he still can't believe what he did during that electric sequence.

"It was just a case when the moon and stars lined up just right for me at that moment," Carter, now 38, said. "I never thought, talked about, dreamed of, imagined—whatever, you name it—I could do something like that. I never would think to try to jump over a seven-footer. Figured I'd hurt myself."

Still, Carter remembers exactly how the play went 15 years later.

"I took off outside the box, and I'm looking at the rim like, 'Uh-oh,'" he said. "And if you go back and look at it, you'll see that I lean my upper body forward to reach as far as I can [to the rim] because I'm thinking I'm not going to make it. And when I got there, that's where my excitement came from. Nobody realized that because they didn't know what was going on, what I was thinking. My challenge after I jumped was to just get as close to the rim as I could. I never thought about the guy under me."

He added that the moment didn't truly hit him until after the game.

"I didn't know what it looked like until after the game. It was on one of those personal camcorders. One of my teammates had one of their boys in the stands with one, and they brought it down into the locker room. They were like, 'Look at what you did, man,'" Carter remembers. "That's when I really saw it. I watched it seven times. I remember [Olympic teammates] Steve Smith, Tim Hardaway and Gary Payton looking at me crazy. That's when it became real."

Although it hit Carter later, the mind-numbing play immediately struck his teammates.

"I think time stopped for a second," Smith told ESPN. "Weis may have bent his head six inches to the side, but [Vince] clearly cleared this guy who was 7-foot-2. I had to gather myself, like, 'Whoa! What just happened?'"

Ray Allen agrees: "It was like I was dreaming. To me, Weis being seven feet and Vince jumping completely over him was impossible. But he did it. And when he did it, it was like, 'I can't believe my eyes. What did I just see? Did he just do what I think he just did?'"

A then-teenage LeBron James was stunned as well.

"All I remember was hearing people like, 'Did you see Vince Carter jump over a guy in the Olympics?' I was like, 'What do you mean he jumped over a guy? Like, was he laying down on the ground?'" James remembers. "When I saw it I was like, 'Oh my god!' That's the one play where you knew he was like, 'Half Man, Half Amazing,' for sure. You were like, 'Oh yeah, that nickname is too fitting.'"

Carter, who is preparing for his 18th NBA season, admits to trying to duplicate the dunk through the years, but never being able to "do it the same."

And all these years later, what does Weis think of the play? After all, the New York Knicks, who drafted him with their first-round pick in 1999, never had the center suit up after seeing the play.

"[Carter] deserves to make history," Weis told ESPN from France, where he owns a tobacco shop and analyzes French league games. "Sadly for me, I was on the video, too. I learned people can fly."

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(Photo: Darren McNamara /Allsport/Getty Images)

Written by Mark Lelinwalla

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