Vince Carter, Candace Parker join NBC Olympics basketball broadcast team for Tokyo


Olympic gold medalists Vince Carter and Candace Parker, authors of historic dunks, and Kara Lawson are among the NBC Olympics basketball analysts in Tokyo this summer.

Carter threw down arguably the most famous dunk in global basketball history, posterizing 7-foot, 2-inch Frenchman Frederic Weis in a preliminary-round game at the 2000 Sydney Games.

The feat from the player nicknamed “Half-Man, Half-Amazing” became known as “Dunk de la mort” (Dunk of Death).

Carter’s exchange with the late Craig Sager on NBC after the game:

Sager: What were you thinking?

Carter: Put it in the hole.

Sager: You went over him though.

Carter: Put it in the hole

Carter led that U.S. Olympic team in scoring en route to the gold medal. He never played in the Olympics again and completed a 22-season NBA career last year.

Parker, who is still playing in the WNBA at age 35, earned Olympic golds in 2008 and 2012. She has quite the dunk resume, throwing it down for the first time at age 15. She first achieved national fame by winning the 2004 McDonald’s High School All-American slam dunk contest over male dunkers.

At Tennessee, she became the first woman to dunk in an NCAA Tournament game and the first woman to dunk twice in the same college game. In her 11th pro game with the Los Angeles Sparks, Parker became the second woman to dunk in a WNBA game.

Lawson, also a former Tennessee standout and 2008 Olympic champion, spent the 2019-20 NBA season as a Boston Celtics assistant coach. Now, she’s a head coach for the Duke women and an adviser for the U.S. women’s 3×3 program that qualified for the event’s Olympic debut in Tokyo.

The NBC Olympics basketball analyst team also includes Fran Fraschilla and Monica McNutt.

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Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch

Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

Kyle Smaine

Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.

Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.

The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.

Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.

“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”