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Kevin Garnett says Team USA had $1M dunk bounty on Yao Ming

By
Alex Butler
Former NBA basketball player Yao Ming was the target for a Team USA dunking bounty of $1 million during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Pool File Photo by David J. Phillip/UPI
Former NBA basketball player Yao Ming was the target for a Team USA dunking bounty of $1 million during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Pool File Photo by David J. Phillip/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 19 (UPI) -- NBA legend Kevin Garnett said Team USA had a $1 million bounty on Yao Ming during the 2000 Olympics for whoever could dunk on him first.

The former Minnesota Timberwolves and Boston Celtics star spoke about the bounty during an interview with Yahoo Canada Sports.

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He was asked a question about Vince Carter's dunk on Frederic Weis at the Olympics, but diverted the topic to the 7-foot-6 Ming.

"First of all, people didn't know, we had a bounty out on Yao Ming," Garnett said. "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."

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"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 [expletive], 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 [expletive], you won, you got the million."

Team USA went on to win the gold medal after beating France in the final in Sydney, Australia.

Carter, 42, has cashed in for more than $180 million during his lengthy NBA tenure. The No. 5 overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft is playing in his 21st season and averaging 6.5 points and 2.6 rebounds per game for the Atlanta Hawks.

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The 2000 United States men's Olympic basketball team included Ray Allen, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Vin Baker, Tim Hardaway, Allan Houston, Jason Kidd, Antonio McDyess, Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton, Steve Smith, Carter and Garnett. Carter led the team with 14.8 points per game, while Garnett averaged 10.8 points and 9.1 rebounds per bout.

Team USA beat China 119-72 on Sept. 17, 2000. Allen scored a game-high 21 points in the win. Ming scored just five points for China.

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