Warning: Story contains coarse language
The basketball portion of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia was relatively drama-free. USA Basketball's men's team went undefeated en route to their third straight gold medal, and then-Toronto Raptors wing Vince Carter unleashed "Le dunk de la mort" over Frederic Weis, cramming the 7-foot-2 Frenchman into basketball lore.
But according to Kevin Garnett, a member of that American squad in 2000, it was another dunk that didn't happen that had the team preoccupied in the lead up to their tournament-opening match against 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," Garnett told Yahoo Canada Sports' Alex Wong. "None of us did. We all tried to dunk on Yao, but he would block it or we would miss."
USA Basketball faced China in their first match of group play, beating China and their 20-year-old future Hall of Famer 119-72. A week later, the Americans wrapped the round-robin portion of the tournament with a 106-94 win over France, capped by Carter's emphatic dunk.
Garnett, who was on the court with Carter during his dunk over Weis, initially forgot about the terms of the team's bet, believing his teammate had claimed the so-called bounty.
"So, the first thing I thought of when I saw Vince dunk over Frederic was, 'Oh shit, 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 shit, you won, you got the million.'"