Word on the Street

Alley Oop (al-ee-oop) interjection. An offensive play in which a player throws the ball up near the basket to a teammate (or, more rarely, to himself) who jumps, catches the ball in mid air and immediately scores a basket, usually with a slam dunk.

Usage example: “The Reignman is free on the left side… Alley Oop! Boom! Payton got that play down to perfection!”

Word history: Al Tucker and his brother Gerald at Oklahoma Baptist University are sometimes credited with being the first to use the alley-oop in the mid-1960s. Others credit David Thompson as the first player to execute the classic alley-oop play while at North Carolina State University, with his teammates Monte Towe and Tim Stoddard performing the necessary lob passes. NCSU’s Thompson popularized the play during the early 1970s, exploiting his 44-inch vertical leap to make the above-the-rim play a recurring staple in the Wolfpack‘s offensive attack. Because dunking was illegal in college basketball at that time, upon catching the pass, Thompson would simply drop the ball through the hoop – never dunking one until the final play of the final home game of his career.

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I couldn’t leave without showing you my heroes Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp: The dynamic duo that master the alley oop to perfection!

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Labels: Shawn Kemp (The Reignman) / Gary Payton / Al Tucker / David Thompson / Monte Towe / Word on the Street

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