Issue 94: How Not to High-Five Other People

At certain points in a basketball game, an individual player can take over. You see them start hitting shot after shot, and it soon becomes apparent they won’t ever miss again.

The core of basketball is still very much a team sport. though. And that extends to all components of the game, like high-fiving.

Because, as you may know, high-fiving requires two people (or, in the case of Saved by the Bellsix people) connecting in multiple ways. You need to lock eyes, arms, hands, and make sure you’re facing each other. There’s a lot going on, and plenty can go wrong.

Or maybe it doesn’t need to be so complicated. Just look at the other person’s elbow and you can’t miss.

If only these people had such luck…

Kobe Bryant does not want to touch Phil Jackson’s hands

The late Kobe Bryant had himself quite a career, piling up one of the highest point totals of any player ever, winning five championships, making 18 All-Star teams, and being the most frequently yelled name whenever any of us shoot a balled-up piece of paper into a garbage can.

However, he did have moments of tension within the Los Angeles Lakers organization. Bryant didn’t always see eye-to-eye with one of his coaches, Phil Jackson, despite the duo winning many championships.

In this instance, though, they didn’t see eye-to-fist. Before the start of a 2009 game, fellow Laker Derek Fisher offers a fist bump to Jackson. The latter accepts and seems excited to give dap to his other players, too.

Bryant stands in front of Jackson, so now seems like the perfect time. But Bryant leaves Jackson hanging, and Jackson’s reaction is…well, not the smoothest transition.

Perhaps even more frustrating, we see Bryant offer fist bumps to just about everyone at the media table. Then again, the Lakers won the championship this year, so I suppose Jackson can’t be too upset.

Andrew Bogut air fives his friends

Perhaps more than any other element of basketball, free throws require a routine. During a brief two years where I taught basketball camps for young kids, one of my basic rules was to do the same thing every time you shoot a free throw.

Sure, most of these children needed to jump to shoot and still would miss the rim entirely. And yes, maybe the ball was bigger than their head, in some cases. But darn it, these kids were going to take a lesson away from this camp.

Whether your free-throw routine is one dribble, bend your knees, and shoot or is instead the length of a modest one-man play that infuriates all spectators, the important thing is to maintain consistency.

Building that habit provides a sense of comfort and familiarity. You see the ball go through the hoop, so you keep up the behavior. It’s simple psychology*, really.

For many players, including Andrew Bogut, that routine concludes by high-fiving your teammates in between shots.

What if those teammates don’t want to move and give you your high-fives, though?

Simple: you just pretend your teammates are cool and high-five the air. Props to Bogut for some quick thinking on the fly.

*I’m not a psychologist but maybe I had you going there for a minute with my adept knowledge.

Being league MVP means nothing

Nikola Jokic won the NBA MVP award this year, though his Denver Nuggets were unceremoniously swept in the second round by the Phoenix Suns.

It’s never a good look for the reigning MVP to lose every game in a series, but that’s only a small humiliation compared to this high-five fail.

Jokic was merely trying to say hello to Wilson Chandler, his former teammate during Jokic’s first few seasons in the league. Unfortunately, Chandler was too busy chatting with Malone to notice.

Eventually, the Joker accepted his fate and left sans skin contact. Don’t worry too much about him, though. He’s doing just fine.

Amar’e Stoudemire fakes out Shane Battier

A close relative of the high-five is the “help up,” where you help a teammate or opponent up off the ground.

If you’ve ever been knocked to the floor around other people (or are even just getting up after a rousing session of sitting cross-legged), you’ll often hold a hand or two out into the air, hoping someone grabs it and lifts you to a standing position.

Former Miami Heat player Shane Battier found himself in such a situation during the 2012 NBA playoffs. The Heat were a few minutes away from eliminating the New York Knicks, and Battier drew an offensive foul on New York’s Amar’e Stoudemire.

Stoudemire, understandably frustrated, reached a hand down to Battier. But as the Heat forward extended his arm upward, Stoudemire pulled his hand away. Battier flailed at Stoudemire, tugging his shorts before helping himself up.

To be fair, this was the series where Stoudemire injured his hand by punching through glass casing around a fire extinguisher. So maybe he simply didn’t want to hurt the other hand, too.

Tripp and Tyler offer high-five etiquette

As far as I know, neither Tripp nor Tyler has played any level of professional (or even collegiate) basketball.

But it’s getting included here because it most certainly fits the bill of this issue, and it’s one of my favorite under-the-radar videos on the Internet. Who knew high-fiving was so complicated?

Oh wait, we did. Don’t get caught in an awkward moment like this.