For those who have seen the movie Semi-Pro, I can guarantee you that Jackie Moon did not invent the alley-oop. It was invented by a couple of college students at Oklahoma Baptist University. Others say that David Thompson and his teammates Monte Tow and Tim Stoddard at North Carolina State University (Thompson had a 44-inch vertical and certainly popularized the attack for college athletes).
Arguably, the most famous alley-oop in basketball was North Carolina State’s last-second shot against the University of Houston. At the end of regulation, Derek Whittenberg took a shot from the top of the key. The shot was short, but Lorenzo Charles was already in the air. Charles took the ball from the air and stuffed it through the net to win the game.
In the 1990’s the alley-oop became a very popular quick-score option for teams on a fast break, or for teams that can isolate on of their low-post stars on a quick roll off the defender. The term “alley-oop” comes from a French term allez hop. The word was used by French acrobats before they leapt into the air. The term was actually first used in the NFL. San Francisco 49er receiver R.C. Owens could often outjump the smaller cornerbacks he had covering him. The jump Owens would use to catch the pass became known as an alley-oop. Then, the term was born. A bit later, the term started to be used exclusively for basketball moves.
Arguably, during a game, the alley-oop is the most exciting move that always gets the crowd on its feet. From the years 2004-2008 the Phoenix Suns ran the fast break, alley-oop game better than anyone else. They often would score, or take a shot, before seven seconds had gone off the shot clock. This became known as the seven seconds or less era in Phoenix. The reason this was, Phoenix had three dynamic stars named Steve Nash, Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire. Nash and Stoudemire would often run the pick and roll to perfection, which would often result in a quick dunk from Stoudemire. Furthermore when Phoenix was on a fast break, you knew the ball was going straight to Marion for a quick dunk. Marion was arguably the fastest player on that Phoenix team, and all Nash had to do was find the spot and Marion would send it home. It was the most fun the NBA had on screen for years.
The alley-oop will remain the quick strike for any team with a forward, or center, that can really get up. It’s exciting to watch, and the fans love it.
Jordan Freis is a freelance writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them understand which online courses they can choose from to reach their goals. The site even helps students decide if online schools are what they are looking for.