Kevin Garnett: Team USA Had $1M Bounty for Anyone Who Could Dunk on Yao Ming

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2019

FILE - In this Friday, Feb. 3, 2017 file photo, retired Houston Rockets center Yao Ming speaks during his jersey number retirement ceremony at halftime of an NBA basketball game between the Rockets and the Chicago Bulls in Houston. The Chinese Basketball Association has voted unanimously to appoint NBA Hall of Famer Yao as its new president. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith, File)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

Vince Carter's dunk over Frederic Weis at the 2000 Olympics is one of the most memorable moments in Olympic basketball history, and it lives on as one of the most disrespectful dunks ever.

But during an interview with Alex Wong of Yahoo Sports, former NBA superstar and TNT analyst Kevin Garnett revealed some subtext for the dunk, namely that the team took out a bounty for whomever could dunk on NBA Hall of Famer Yao Ming, who was representing Team China:

"First of all, people didn't know, we had a bounty out on Yao Ming. The whole USA team had a bet. We had a million dollar bet on who was going to be the first person to dunk on Yao Ming. None of us did. We all tried to dunk on Yao, but he would block it or we would miss. So, the first thing I thought of when I saw Vince dunk over Frederic was oh sh-t, you won the million dollars. But then I realized it obviously wasn't Yao. I pushed Vince, and if you look at the clip, he almost punches me in the face by accident. But my first thought was, oh sh-t, you won, you got the million."

Alas, all Carter had won was the definitive posterizing dunk of a generation. It was one of the truly defining moments in dunking history. It was, in a word, beautiful. 

But it didn't happen over Ming, so Carter didn't get the payout. Weis was a mere 7'2", while Ming stood 7'6" and around 300 pounds. He was a mountain of a man, one even the high-flying Carter couldn't scale.

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