The Best Handshake GIFs in Sports

Dan Carson@@DrCarson73Trending Lead WriterSeptember 6, 2013

Jun 15, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) and first baseman Prince Fielder (28) shake hands after scoring runs in the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Is it "giff" or "jiff"?

Everyone has their preferred pronunciation of "GIF," but there is one thing we can all agree upon: These files are small repeating bundles of joy from heaven.

The parcels of GIF-ilicious goodness I'm bringing to you today are the cream of the crop in sports handshakes. Some are elaborate, preplanned routines—poetry in motion, if you will. Others are monumental failures that must be watched over and over in order to fully appreciate their level of awfulness.

They're all priceless in their own way, and I hope your Internet connection can handle their beauty.

With that said, it's time for the Best Handshake GIFs in Sports.

Do the (Panda) Shuffle

There’s pounding, pointing and a move that’s been labeled “the panda shuffle.”

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For all I know, Pablo Sandoval and my dad might have a secret handshake, considering he appears to have a hand routine with everyone on the San Francisco Giants team and staff. His magnum opus, however, is a handshake he does with Hunter Pence.

It’s less of a greeting and more of an ode to friendship via the glory of dance. 

Creativity: A+

Few men in professional sports would ever cup each other's palms and dance in this manner, but it's this part that makes the handshake beautiful. I mean, they spin each other.

Execution: A-

It’s almost flawless, but some hesitation occurs during the shuffle.

Kobe Bryant Does the “Mamba” Handshake in China

Kobe Bryant—basketball ambassador and purveyor of fine handshakes.

Bryant was in China this August when he took a moment to teach a fan his “Mamba handshake.”

The routine involved backhand slaps, a signature signing motion and a fanged snake bite at the end.

Creativity: B+

The hand movements are quick and you must respect the Mamba's style, but without any dance moves or spins to accompany it, Kobe's handshake is a tad gimmicky and dry.


Kobe’s teaching this fan the handshake for the first time. If both knew the shake well, this could be beautiful.

Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera’s Sprinkle Shake

Who wants SPRINKLES?

There are several different interpretations of Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera’s famous handshake, and they’re all amazing in their own way.

Some think of it as an exchange of spices, but I like to think of it as a sharing of home run sprinkles—the most delicious of all baseball treats.

Creativity: A-

There’s not much to Miggy and Fielder’s handshake, but the lynchpin is the sprinkling motion—this is what solidifies this shake as one of the best in sports.

Execution: A+

No hesitation, no messing around. The only way this handshake gets slicker is if it were slowed down and accompanied by “Pour Some Sugar on Me.” 

LeBron James and Towel Boy Move it Like Bernie

We hit the hardwood and we move it like Bernie.

If you haven’t heard “Moving Like Bernie,” you’re doing it wrong. The song came out in 2010 and features dance moves inspired by the movie Weekend At Bernie’s—a cinematic masterstroke highly deserving of your respect.

Based on their secret handshake, LeBron James and the Miami Heat towel boy are very familiar with the song, and both enjoy “moving it like Bernie” every time they shake hands.

Creativity: A-

When you incorporate a dance move from an obscure song based on an ‘80s comedy, you’re winning.

Execution: B+

James’ body blocks most of the handshake, but from what I can tell, they have this shake down-pat.

Roger Goodell and Melvin Ingram Dap it Up

"Wow. Did he just dap up the commish?"

Indeed he did. It’s unclear how long they’d been planning it, but San Diego Chargers first round draft pick Melvin Ingram and Roger Goodell clearly premeditated this backhand treat of a secret handshake at the 2012 NFL draft. 

Creativity: B

The handshake itself isn’t cool, but the fact that Goodell and Ingram preplanned a high five routine for draft night is incredible.

Execution: C-

Goodell is slapping away and praying he makes contact.

Bubba Watson Leaves Billy Payne Hanging

This isn’t a successful handshake, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t glorious.

After winning the Masters in 2012, Bubba Watson was awarded a green jacket and a handshake in the Butler Cabin. Unfortunately for Augusta National chairman Billy Payne, that lone handshake occurred between Watson and 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel. 

Payne plays the failed handshake off casually, however. Or something like that.

Creativity: C

Payne could’ve went anywhere—ANYWHERE—with his hand after failing to connect with Watson on the handshake. Instead he clutches the air and then reaches to pick his cheek and/or nose.

Execution: A

The “A” rating here goes to Watson, who smoothly transitions the weird moment with Payne into a solid shake with Schwartzel.

Obama Changes Up His Grip

This GIF of President Obama going from formal handshake to “Bring it in for the real thing” is one of the best things these eyes of mine have seen in a spell.

The president goes from “Well hello, good sir,” to “Dude, where have you been all my life?” in under .5 seconds.

This is versatility. 

Creativity: B-

Nothing special about these embraces.

Execution: A

Kaboom! President Obama switches from his bread-and-butter grip to shoulder-bump hugging with the ease of a bird taking flight.


Clippers Bench Swag

Feel free to hate, the Clippers bench will do as they please.

Creativity: B+

A little disco fever, a little Yung Joc “It’s Going Down” action. This handshake is a moonwalk away from greatness.

Execution: A-

Nonchalant and tastefully undramatic. Judging by its delivery, this handshake is an everyday thing.

J.R. Smith and Broadcaster Pull Out The Cameras

Having a handshake with a teammate is cool, but having one with an older gentleman seated at the scorer’s table is just perfect.

I don’t know how long it took them to hash this Hollywood highlight routine out, but J.R. Smith and this old man are point with it.

Creativity: B+

In and of themselves, the moves aren’t creative—BUT, the fact Smith flashed his genius by picking out a random guy at scorer’s table is genius.

Execution: C

It’s a great routine in theory, but they need to work out some kinks here.

Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny Do the "Bang Bang"

Guns blazin' and feet hopping.

Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny turn hockey into Saturday Night Fever with their patented "Bang Bang" victory dance. 

Those are six guns of steaming celebration, my friend.

Creativity: A

Incorporating a cowboy motif into your boot-scoot boogie is a surefire way to win this writer’s heart.

Execution: A

Enthusiasm is a big plus with these kinds of stunts, and the joyous high five that follows this elaborate routine is the perfect exclamation point.

Monta Ellis and Random Employee Have it Down

Monta Ellis must be missing this handshake now that he’s in Dallas.

The former Golden State Warriors guard had an ironclad handshake with this stadium employee—a routine that included gratuitous pointing and hand dexterity that would make a Cat’s Cradle champion blush (if they have champions for Cat’s Cradle, that is).

Creativity: B+

It’s not revolutionary, but it’s a rock solid secret handshake.

Execution: A+

These two don’t miss a beat. This handshake was forged naturally through common coolness.

Rod Barajas Rocks Dee Gordon to Sleep

This is it. This is the best sports handshake GIF of all time. 

Rod Barajas and Dee Gordon’s routine is mixture of effort, intensity and trust that epitomizes perfect teamwork. 

What begins as a blinding flash of ninja-like high fives ends in an unbelievable and surprising manner. Just when you think the chest pump is coming, Gordon switches it up by leaping into Barajas’ waiting arms and is tenderly rocked to sleep.

Creativity: A+

Any handshake routine that ends in a grown man baby-talking another man to sleep is ridiculous, over the top and deserving of an Oscar.

Execution: A+ 

Notice the attention to detail: Barajas doesn’t just cradle Gordon, he whispers sweet nothings to soothe him into Sleepy Town. Gordon does his part too, going completely limp and dangling his legs helplessly in Barajas’ arms.

Showmanship at its finest.

Like GIFs? Me too. Join me on Twitter, where I'm constantly hunting for GIF gold.

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