It was almost 15 years ago when Vince Carter executed the “dunk of death” over France’s center Frederic Weis during the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Carter’s “facial” over Weis became the talk of basketball lovers all over the world, ranking the NBA star’s dunk high on the list of the best dunks ever.
For the 7-foot-2 Weis, that dunk appeared to have written off his supposed NBA career.
Weis was actually poised to have an NBA career when the New York Knicks selected him as the 15th overall pick in the 1999 NBA draft.
Carter, dubbed “half man, half amazing” for his dunking prowess, however, said in an interview that the “dunk of death” he executed to perfection paved the way for the Knicks to tell the French big man “not to come back”.
The embarrassment of getting dunked over by a 6-6 player before a globally-televised, keenly-watched Olympic game was a stigma that’s quite difficult to overcome for any basketball player.
In Jeff Eisenberg’s article on Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie, he wrote how “the combination of language barrier, strength and stamina issues made the French big man’s NBA summer league debut an embarrassment, both for himself and the Knicks in 1999.”
Weis didn’t bother to return to the Knicks and face the challenge in 2000, just shortly after the Olympics, after recovering from a back injury, while feeling that he may not be “in good shape enough” to earn a spot in New York.
Although Weis went on to toil in the Spanish ACB League, Greece and France in an 11-year professional career, the question that begs to be answered is, “Would Weis have made a difference if he tried to earn his spot with the Knicks?”
Like Weis, at one point or the other, we all go through some kind of failure and embarrassing moment in life that tend to make us doubt on our capabilities.
When we go through difficult, embarrassing moments, usually, we only respond in one of two ways: 1. hold back for good and not make any attempt anymore, or 2., learn from our mistake and face the challenge head on the next time around.
The fact is, failure isn’t fun at all.
You won’t see athletes leave the playing venue in jubilation after losing to their opponents.
You won’t see a businessman rejoice after blowing away an opportunity to close a million-dollar account.
You won’t see a student accept a failing mark in his class card at the end of a semester.
You won’t see a single professional laugh his way out of an office building after being he’ll be part of the retrenchment program.
In other words, failure is part of life.
But failure in life DOES NOT have to define you. Instead, it is OUR RESPONSE to FAILURE that defines who we will become.