What’s an Ally Oop Pass?

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The allied oop pass is a basketball play where one player jumps and throws the ball near the basket, and a second player from the same team jumps to slam the ball into the basket. It became popular in the 1970s, and the NBA developed it into an offensive weapon. Variations include a single player throwing and slamming the ball and tossing the ball towards the backboard for a rebound dunk. Shaquille O’Neal is one of the most proficient players at executing the move.

An allied oop pass is a type of play in basketball that, when executed correctly, results in a score. Legend has it that the Allied pass initially applied to the Hail Mary pass in football, a long throw upfield by a quarterback with little chance of being caught without “divine intervention.” While the term may have once been used in soccer, it makes more sense as a basketball term. Alley oop comes from the French allez-oup, the announcement of the circus acrobat who is about to jump. In basketball, jumping is essential to making the pass.

The basic oop alley occurs near the offensive team’s basket, as close to it as possible. One player jumps and throws the ball near the basket, and a second player from the same team responds by jumping to slam the ball into the basket. When the first ally oop pass attempts were attempted in the 1960s, it was legal to dunk balls in college basketball. The second player would have slammed the ball, hopefully, straight into the basket. In 1967, dunks were banned in college basketball, making the ally less exciting. The second player simply had to catch the ball and drop it into the basket.

Oklahoma Baptist University’s Al and Gerald Tucker arguably performed the first Ally Oop pass attempts and hits in college basketball. The move became more popular in the 1970s, especially at North Carolina State University, due to player David Thompson’s impressive jumping ability. Eventually, dunks became legal in college basketball, giving the ally new dimensions. The second player didn’t just drop the ball into the basket, he slammed it with incredible ferocity. This made the ally oop pass extremely popular, and during the 1990s, the National Basketball Association (NBA) developed this move into an offensive weapon that was both entertaining and effective.

There are some variations to the oop ally. A single player can throw the ball up and then jump up to slam the ball into the basket. This one is more difficult to do, but certainly impressive to watch. Another version of the pass has the player toss the ball towards the basket backboard, then catch it on the rebound for a dunk. This is considered the most difficult because it can be difficult to attempt the shot without causing a penalty, or it can cause the offensive team to pass the ball to the defense. It’s sometimes considered showing off to execute this ally oop second pass, and it’s too risky in big games.

Some of the players most proficient at executing the allied oop pass include some of arguably the best-known players in basketball, including Shaquille O’Neal, who delighted fans when he pulled off this move. Halftime shows of basketball games can feature elaborate versions of the ally oop pass, with a variety of inventive jumps and stunts between the first pass and the slam dunk.

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