NBA History: Gerald Green’s Windmall Alley-Oop

Gerald Green looks on during a game against the Cavs
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

If every dunk that ever took place in the NBA was equal, then there’d be no point in taking the time to dissect them. But that’s not the case: some slams are just more special than others, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

When evaluating the dunks that stand out among the rest, there are plenty of factors that you can to consider. You can look at the timing of the dunk. Did it take place during a crucial game? You can look at the level of difficulty of the slam. How many individuals could actually pull off that particular feat? You could even focus on the person who took the brunt of the punishment. How big was the defender who got posterized? We could certainly keep going, but we’d like to think we made our point.

Either way, as you can probably tell, we’ve thought about this quite a bit (and we’re not ashamed to admit it). Not all dunks are created equal. That fact has been firmly established. And the way we see it, the same thing can said about another well-known form of dunking: the alley-oop.

In order to showcase this belief, we’ve decided to go all the way back to the 2011-12 season, to take a look at the time when Gerald Green, then with the New Jersey Nets, shook the world with a windmill slam off the alley-oop.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy another edition of “Throwback Throwdowns.”

On March 10, 2012, the Houston Rockets traveled to the Prudential Center in Newark to take on the New Jersey Nets. Coming into this contest, the Nets were struggling at 14-27 on the year. And yet, to the surprise of many, this lowly team had managed to win its last two games.

If the Nets could make it three in a row, it’d be fair to say that this group had a bit of a winning streak on its hands. Unfortunately, that third consecutive W never happened. Instead, however, the Nets faithful were treated to something even more special: a dunk for the ages.

With just under three minutes left to go in the third quarter, the Rockets had the ball, up 77-73. Houston’s Samuel Dalembert put up a 14-footer from the corner, but the shot clanked off the rim and was rebounded by New Jersey’s Johan Petro. That’s when the real fun began.

Petro threw a beautiful outlet pass to MarShon Brooks, who collected the ball, and lobbed it up to a streaking Gerald Green. Despite the alley-oop being a little low, Green caught the rock, brought it down to his knees, scooped it back, and unleashed a thunderous windmill slam. The Prudential Center erupted with applause. Green had officially brought the house down.

In the end, the Rockets won the game 112-106. But the way we see it, the real winner on the night was Gerald Green. In one unforgettable play, he rose to new heights — with his head above the rim — and showed the world that he could fly.

All statistics are courtesy of