Funniest Handshake Fails in Sports

Laura Depta@lauradeptaFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2014

Funniest Handshake Fails in Sports

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Over the years, the tried-and-true handshake has evolved to include several subtypes: the airborne handshake (high-five), the germaphobe handshake (fist bump) and, on extremely rare occasions, the overly affectionate handshake (handshake plus kiss). 

    Awkward and hilarious situations involving all types will be presented here along with handshakes that simply display a notably high degree of failure. 

    I don’t want to leave out the killer choreographed handshakes (shoutout to Geovany Soto and FSU baseball), but those aren’t really fails. Ridiculous? Yes. Fails? No.

Chris Bosh and Ronny Turiaf

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    The trick to a successful high-five is looking at the other person’s elbow during forward hand motion. Apparently, no one has let Chris Bosh and Ronny Turiaf in on the secret. The two whiffed miserably as they attempted to celebrate a big lead in a 2012 NBA Finals game.

Buck Showalter

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    What did ol’ Buck do to deserve the cold shoulder from Mark Reynolds? According to The Baltimore Sun, he just wasn’t in on the classic dugout-silent-treatment joke. Reynolds hit a home run, and his teammates razzed him by ignoring him in the dugout. Oh, those ballplayers—so tricky.

Carlos Boozer

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    PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 14:  Luol Deng #9 and Carlos Boozer #5 of the Chicago Bulls high five after scoring against the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on November 14, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.   The Bulls defeated the Suns 112-106 in
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer demonstrated real persistence with his airborne handshake fail. Boozer will not be denied! If no one will high-five him, then he will high-five the air. Way to see it through, Booze.

Johnny Manziel and Nick Saban

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Johnny Manziel to Cleveland at No. 22 overall wasn't the only notable moment of the 2014 NFL draft. Something tells me Nick Saban doesn’t really like to be hugged—especially by a guy who essentially won a Heisman Trophy with his performance against the Crimson Tide.

Milan Lucic

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    Following a Game 7 defeat at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic was not pleased. Nor was he in the mood for gracious congratulations. During the customary postgame handshake line, Lucic reportedly made threats to several Habs players, according to Handshakes + threats = fail.

Gary Neal

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    Some things are so habitual that they become second nature. For Gary Neal, one of those things is apparently the post-free-throw handshake. He was so ensconced in his ritual that he didn’t even notice he was shooting a technical free throw.

Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh

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    Anything dubbed “The Handshake Incident” was destined to make this list. While you don’t want to make threats during a postgame handshake, you also probably shouldn’t give your opposition a slap on the back reflective of your victorious jubilation. It’s OK to be amped up, but had Jim Harbaugh shown a little more restraint, an ugly situation could’ve been avoided. 

Finnish Hockey Coaches

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    Markku Ulander/Associated Press

    Is it the handshake or is it the fist bump? No one knows! These two hockey coaches certainly don’t. At least Finland's and Latvia’s leadership made an effort to part peacefully following a 3-2 Finnish victory at the 2011 IIHF World Hockey Championships.

Kevin Love

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    Kevin Love does not give up on handshakes. His persistence in securing a moment of camaraderie with teammate Wes Johnson sparked an Internet phenomenon that had fans eager to help. Love told Ray Richardson of, "Everywhere I go people are giving me advice on how to get the handshake down.” 

Jose Mourinho and David Moyes

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Here, we see a rare double handshake. Following a draw between Manchester United and Chelsea, the teams’ respective managers perhaps tried a little too hard to pretend they liked each other. The standard handshake would've done just fine.

Bubba Watson

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    Bubba Watson wasn’t exactly the favorite to win the 2012 Masters, but he should've been more prepared for his congratulatory handshake from Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club. Then again, Payne inexplicably pulled his hand back after extending it, leading to one of those extremely awkward sidestep situations, only with handshakes.

Tom Brady

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    2013 was a decent year for Tom Brady in terms of football. Despite losing many of his primary receiving targets, Brady still finished sixth in total passing yards and led the Patriots to a 12-4 record.

    But that’s where the good times end. Brady was left hanging several times over the course of the season. He couldn't get a teammate to slap his hand to save his life.

Grigor Dimitrov

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    Well, this is a new one. Handshake turned kiss? I know the double-cheek-kiss thing is customary in many European countries, but this one looked less like a custom and more like Grigor Dimitrov getting fresh. He apparently handles defeat much better than Milan Lucic does.

John Key

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    A three-way handshake is tough to pull off, but that didn’t stop New Zealand Prime Minister John Key from trying. Following the 2011 Rugby World Cup final, Key crashed a handshake between the victors' captain and the International Rugby Board chairman, creating a moment that was two parts awkward, one part memorable.

Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant

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    We can ALL relate to this one. Phil Jackson goes in for the fist bump, Kobe denies him, and Jackson pretends that all he meant to do was scratch his face. It's hilarious to see the great Phil Jackson reduced to such perils of the common man. Something tells me this is a guy who isn't left hanging often.


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