NBA / Sep 8, 2011 / 3:00 pm

The Real Top 10 Alley-Oops In NBA History

J.R. Smith (photo. Mark Mann)

J.R. Smith (photo. Mark Mann)

The best ever? That’s hard to do. Even with a limitless library like YouTube, it’s virtually impossible to make a list of the best alley-oops of all-time and not miss a couple. All of the NBA’s greatest players have their most popular highlights, but what about the average or no-name players? Some of them have great alley-oops too, but you’ll be lucky to find them anywhere, much less remember them.

When a video was posted last week, it became painfully obvious pretty quickly that it was missing a few. So I figured I’d make the REAL top 10 list. No gimmicks. No timetables. Just straight raw ferociousness. Little did I know how hard it was actually going to be. You can’t miss anything, and when you’re talking all-time, things get a little blurry because there are so many candidates and too much time.

A few rules I figured I’d run with:

1) the lobs need to be dunked (that counts out D-Wade-to-LeBron from last season)
2) they have to be in an NBA game (regular season or playoffs)
3) they have to involve two teammates (sorry T-Mac, no self lobs)
4) and they have to actually complete the dunk (or else this would’ve been the greatest one ever)

What did I learn from making this list? That Jason Kidd throws the best lobs. Not even close. And I NEVER would’ve thought that Kidd could touch the Glove. Gary Payton‘s lobs were an art form. He’d lob them and they would seem to sit in the air for seconds at a time so you could marvel. But Kidd has so many classic alleys, I could’ve made a top 30 Jason Kidd mix.

Besides all that, here are my 10 best alley-oops ever:


The best of the rest:
-Dwight Howard over Jrue Holiday
-LeBron on the break
-Kidd to Vince for a double-pump reverse (you’ll be hearing those names a lot)
-Payton to Kemp (at 2:39 in the video)
-AI to AI
-Grant Hill left-hander
-and lastly a dunk that I REALLY felt NEEDED to be on this list, but there just wasn’t room: Kobe to Shaq


10. Stephon Marbury over the head
Out of all 10 of these clips, this one from Stephon Marbury looks the most like a video game. Because Starbury pulls the reverse off so easily, it took me some time to truly appreciate this. Now I can see it: one of the most video-game-dunks ever. That’s a good thing. Extra points for an at-the-time unknown Stephen Jackson making a terrible pass (or should I take away points for that?).


9. Jason Kidd to Kenyon Martin – off the glass (#1 on the video)
This play was just… actually forget that, watch the whole video (#2-3 stick out as well).

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  • Ian

    kemp and carter 1 n 2

  • 123

    you gotta give props for LAC alley oop just cause how well Odom made that pass. It was damn creative.

    The Carter one hand alley oop #3 may have deserved #1 or #2

  • Flash

    I’d go with the Carter oop as #1…the 360 was incredible too, but the grace, power and extension of Carter’s…we may never see that again, ever

  • http://www.dimemag.com Aron Phillips

    Amazing compilation, Sean. You’re forever know as the Alley-Oop Historian from now on.

  • http://www.nbadunks.org NBA Dunks

    Vince Carter-Style: Vorontsevich’s SICK Alley-Oop Reverse Dunk against Finland!


  • Sean Sweeney

    I think it depends on the day w. me and #1-3. I had the spike dunk 1 and then switched. They’re all too nice!

  • Promoman

    It’s no contest that Jason Kidd would throw better lobs than Gary Payton. Gary’s got a legendary resume but Jason’s knocking on John Stockton/Magic Johnson level when it comes to passing. He’s proven to have made some teammates look better than they really are.

  • Big Island

    Sean Sweeney, I would like to shake your hand. Even if people disagree with the order of it, it’s only by a spot or two, and even then it boils down to personal preference. Good list, good dunks.

  • jerrickrose

    IMHO the clutch kobe to shaq alley-oop in the game 7 of their finals against the blazers should be number 1 or at least be in this list..


  • stefan

    I hope you love your job. I envy you so much!

  • yoda

    i think martin should give at least 10 mill out of his 92mill contract with denver to kidd!

  • Rudra


  • deeds

    The Carter alley oop is number 1 all day long for me, no contest.

  • Marlene

    You missed the best one of all…. Andre Miller from out of bounds to Nicolas Batum to win the game (2010-11 season)

  • http://www.cracked.com/funny-353-kobe-bryant/ Atom

    Carter should have the number one spot. Maybe slip in the Kobe to Shaq over the Jordan one for the impact it had. Definitely the most important alley-oop I can think of which should factor in when determining the greatest ones. Set the table for the Laker dynasty and crushed the will of a Portland team with the deepest talent in the league that looked like a real contender at the time. They never recovered.

  • K Dizzle

    Good list. Solid compilation.

    1. JKidd to K-Mart (#1 – off the glass) is the coldest, most swagtastic finish and lean ever.

    2. Why you shittin on B. Shaw on the pass..if it was tipped?

    3. This needs to be included (#1) cuz can’t nobody tell me how this ain’t ridiculous:

  • http://mail.google.com jayo

    OOOHHH! He will go back and get it AND tomahawk IT, get on that magic carpet and SOARRR BABBBYYYYY!!!

  • Stradio

    #9, that dunk was put in the honorable mention section.

    #14, you didn’t read the qualifications I guess, because that play didn’t result in a dunk.

    On the subject of alley-oops that dont meet the requirements, this one from international play is one of my favorites.


    Wade was on a ridiculous tear during this period, and CP is a master of the lob (among many other things)

  • http://www.zwani.com/graphics/funny_pictures/images/88funny-pictures128.jpg JAY

    Great list!

    And of course Kidd has more alley-oops. He’s played with Richard Jefferson, K-Mart and Vince (two of them at the SAME TIME!). GP played with Kemp… and Desmond Mason (at separate times). To me, GP’s oop passes were better. They looked softer and like the article says, the ball seemed to gracefully stop in midair before the dunker (mostly Kemp) threw it down. Can you imagine the amount of tosses GP would have if he had 2 dunkers running the wings with him??

  • s.bucketz

    LOL @ jordan OVER ewing????hahahaha….if thas the case than i dont wanna hear no1 say “John Starks didnt actually dunk on MJ during the dunk” cuz compared to JORDAN OVER EWING!!1!!1 starks rubbed his nutsack all up jordans mug on his shit….good list otherwise but jus take MJ out of ther..hes been on plenty of lists he dont need a pity throw in on this 1 too

  • Mo

    Any list that doesn’t include lob alleys from CP3 to Tyson Chandler is a sh*t list. Those alleys were some of the most demoralizing to the opposing teams.

  • stillanetsfan

    I appreciate the love u gave jkidd on this… He has to be the number 1 or 2 passer of all time and probably the best alley-ooper ever. That team with KMART and RJ was my childhood and I really think that team was one of the most exciting in recent memory. surprised no blake or born on this though.

  • Veeezie

    The best that never happened was Ed Cota to Vince at UNC vs Duke…OH MY…