There are few things in sports that can be more awkward than a celebration gone awry. A fumble, an own goal, or even vomiting on the field are part of the game, more or less.
When you spend all your time training and practicing to be good at one thing, and you spend years working on your craft, you’re going to be excited when you pull off a great play when it matters. Perhaps that kind of dedication makes you lack in other departments, like actually celebrating. Your teammate puts their hand in the air and you miss the high five, you bash your head against a wall, or you miss a chest bump and send yourself to the hospital. It can happen.
The high five is the most basic form of celebration, and the most effective. It’s the go to congratulation for men in any environment because of its speed and ease of use. If high fives were gauged in a draft, pundits would talk about “high motor” or “good high five ethics.”
It’s surprising whenever someone manages to screw it up or decides to leave their teammate hanging in the wind. Whether they’re caught up in the moment, or are so laser focused on winning the game, here is a list of athletes, coaches, and fans 20 most awkward high fives.
20 Adam Morrison Ninja Steals High Five
This one is actually pretty cool, depending on who root for. It’s also the entire highlight reel for Adam Morrison’s NBA career, so he’s pretty excited about it no doubt.
There’s something to be said about somebody who steals high fives. It’s pretty underhanded. You have to give Morrison a hand though, the way he went about stealing the high five was ninja-like in its perfectly stealthy execution.
You can’t help but wonder why he did it. Maybe he was trying to be funny, maybe he was spiteful about the made free throw.
19 Roger Federer/Pete Sampras High Bump, Fist Five
You’d think with all the Swiss bank accounts American’s set up, relations between the two countries would be pretty good. When American tennis legend Pete Sampras faced off against current Swiss start Roger Federer, that wasn't on display.
Sampras went for a first bump, some “dap” as the kids call it, and Federer went for a high five. Presumably Sampras went for a bow next and Federer went for a hug, but we’ll never know as no video seems to exist.
18 Packer Fan Falls from Seats, Ignored by Aaron Rodgers
After a game in Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers went to the stands to give fans high fives. Athletes do it all the time, and fans are always eager to line up so they can graze palms with a semi-famous person.
What makes this one so awkward is that not only did the fan fall out of the stands, but Rodgers saw it happen and ignored the fan entirely. Talk about the cold shoulder. That’s just cheesy.
17 The Invisible Mascot
Mascots were invented to be hated and ignored, they’re like clowns without the romantic carnival mystery.
This particular mascot, some kind of deformed beaver or bear, was at a female track meet. Ignored by not one, not two, but three women in a row, this guy got the tic-tac-toe of rejection. At least no one can see the look of embarrassment on his face under the mask.
16 Bruce Davis Recovers Well
NFL referees have a lot of funny hand gestures, some official and some only understandable by fellow zebras. Bruce Davis learned this the hard way when he went to high five a ref who looked like he was offering him five.
Instead, the ref was performing an ancient “give me the football” hand gesture to another ref, and quickly pulled his hand away.
To Davis’s credit, he recovered beautifully by high fiving the coach behind the ref. Besides, how often to the Raiders get to celebrate?
15 Michael Morse High Fives Himself
Getting ignored by teammates can be rough, but maybe you shouldn’t be so late with your celebration, Mr. Morse.
His recovery was even better than Davis’; high fiving yourself at least lets you laugh alongside everyone else. Here, the fault lies with Morse to begin with. He was so late with the high five his teammate had already walked past him, hit the showers, and gone home.
14 Phil Jackson Punches Himself in the Face
Jackson was already off to a rough start in this clip with the weird fist bump with Derek Fisher, and it only got worse from there. As Kobe Bryant walked by, Jackson puts his fist up for the bump and Kobe doesn’t see him.
So he does what anyone would do in that situation. He rubs his face with his fists.
He’s not going to win any acting awards for that one, but maybe we’re judging him too harshly. Maybe it’s an ancient Zen practice or some kind of superstition of his that we never noticed before. You don’t win eleven championships without at least one pre-game ritual, surely.
13 Andrew Bogut’s Imaginary Teammates
After making a free throw, Bogut wanted to celebrate with his teammates as usual. The thing is, Bogut’s teammates weren't there, they were in the backcourt. That didn’t stop him from giving out high fives, no sir. In fact, he gave high fives to the imaginary rival team as well.
You could argue Bogut was just goofing around, at the start you can see him slowly reaching out a hand before quickly launching into some kind of child’s cartoon celebration. It would seem he tried to play it off, and if that was the first way he could think to play it off, that’s pretty weird.
12 Koji Uehara Will High Five You, Ready or Not
Red Sox pitcher Koji Uehara pitched a no hitter in the eighth inning, and he was pumped about his team being up two runs. He run down the dugout and gave everyone a high five, whether they wanted one or not.
One person who didn’t want a high five was Shane Victorino. Koji wasn’t going to let the Red Sox star dampen his parade, so he high fived him anyway in the shoulder, hard. Victorino flinched back and shouted “hey” in agony before smiling it off like a good teammate.
You think that’s bad, you should see what happens when Uehara has a bad inning.
11 Chris Bosh and Ronny Turiaf Double Miss
Missing once is bad, missing a second time makes you look like a Three Stooges act. That’s what happened with Chris Bosh and Ronny Turiaf before a game.
Turiaf went low and Chris went high. When Turiaf called an audible to go high, Bosh went low and slammed the air, leaving Turiaf hanging. You can just see at the end Bosh walking away, trying to pretend like the botched celebration never happened, with Turiaf leaving his hand in the wind.
Looks like Bosh needs LeBron and Wade to help him high five too.
10 Referee Runs from Nathan Scheelhaase
Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase was once a hot NFL prospect. When he scored the first points of the game in the second quarter against Wisconsin, he was excited. His NFL career never materialized and teams seemingly ran away from him in fear, much like this referee when Scheelhaase tried to high five him.
The ref runs at first because he doesn’t want to get run over by a bunch of football player’s dogpile celebration, and when it becomes clear the QB simply wants a high five, the ref continues running backward with a terrified expression on his face.
Refs are supposed to be partial and not celebrate with players, and they aren’t supposed to be terrified of them either.
9 Matt Leinart Isn’t a Starting High Fiver
It’s hard to tell from that angle what exactly is going on, but it seems Matt Leinart didn’t put his heart into that one. It seems his teammate simply didn’t see him and instead went to talk to another Cardinal.
Leinart was the leader of that team and should have led himself into congratulation his teammate’s good play. Instead, he sat there, limp wristed in a pathetic display of half-hearted congratulation. When the teammate ignored him, he turned his back and walked away.
Leinart might be a decent backup high fiver, but if you’ve got him on your Major League High Five Fantasy League as a starter, you’re going to have some problems down the stretch.
8 Don’t You Dare Ignore Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook will not, WILL NOT, let you leave him hanging. Under any circumstance. Come hell or high water, he will get his celebratory high five no matter how far he has to track you down. Whether it be under an erupting volcano or in the middle of a blizzard in Antarctica, Westbrook WILL get his high five. It’s only a matter of time.
What makes this one genuinely awkward is the deadly serious look on Westbrook’s face. He’s not joking around, he wants his high five. It’s not like his teammate didn’t want to high five him, they just didn’t connect. That wasn’t good enough and Westbrook stopped, stepped back stopping his teammates behind him, and forced him to high five him.
Let me put it this way: if it were a fan that did that, he would have walked away in handcuffs.
7 Robert Kraft Celebrates Touchdown
This one has awkward written all over it and not just because of Patriots Owner Robert Kraft. He executed the first high five well enough, but the man on the other side of him was having none of it. Nevertheless, Kraft decided to high five him anyway, getting it in on the guy’s wrist.
In hindsight, this one’s so creepy because Aaron Hernandez can be see standing right there in the middle of the action. As in, convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez, standing on the football field, a year and a half before the murder of Odin Lloyd. Yuck.
6 Tom Brady Deflated by Entire Team
After the Patriots scored a touchdown, the first thing you’d think they do would be to check the air pressure of the ball and give future Hall of Famer Tom Brady a high five. That wasn’t the case here against the Ravens, when Brady was completely ignored by his sideline.
It’s kind of sad, the happy grin on his face and him walking back and forth looking for anyone to give him five. Nobody’s interested, they all have their back turned to Brady. Shame, he’ll have to go home to his super model wife and polish his four Super Bowl rings to try to forget.
In case you were still worried about Tom, he did end up getting a high five at a later time and he was ecstatic about it.
5 Robert Kraft Ignored by Mark Wahlberg
The scene looks almost identical to the previous Robert Kraft fail, when the man on his right ignored him. Taking a closer look, you’ll see that’s actually Mark Wahlberg ignoring the Patriots owner this time.
It’s not even a simple case of Wahlberg not noticing Kraft. Kraft taps him on the shoulder twice and Mark just keeps clapping. What’s the deal with the clapping anyway? This isn’t golf, it’s football, you’re obligated to give the guy next to you a high five. Shameful.
4 Scott Tolzien Ignored by Everybody
Wisconsin just scored a touchdown against Ohio State, a heated rival in the Big 10. Everyone was excited, especially the leader of the team, QB Scott Tolzien. It’s just that nobody was excited to celebrate with Tolzien.
This one is actually quite sad, as the Wisconsin QB paces up and down the sideline for what must have felt like an eternity for someone to high five. He looks like a lost puppy trying to find his way, but can’t. Clapping doesn’t help, so he goes back on the hunt, but never finds anyone. Eventually, he has to give up and return to the bench.
The poor guy. I’d help him, I’m just afraid he’d try to lick me in the face.
3 Kevin Love and Wes Johnson Are Weird
What can you possibly say about this? What were they trying to accomplish? Why didn’t they give up? Why did love have that weird hunch the whole time? Why did Johnson tell Love to hurry over? Why were they so determined?
You have to at least admire the determination of these guys to not be left hanging. That kind of dedication takes skill. It also takes an extreme amount of social awkwardness and you’ll look like a fool on national television, but its determination nonetheless.
2 Rafer Alston Would Make a Good Mother
When things go bad, some like to retreat to their shell and be alone to fume for a bit. Others recognize old cliché’s like “there’s no I in Team” and try to make sure there’s great chemistry 100% of the time between teammates. Like Rafer Alston, for example.
When Brook Lopez came back to the bench after a bad play, he ignored his teammates high fives and just wanted to be alone. Alston was having none of it, so he tapped Lopez on the arm, grabbed his hand and the hand of teammate Bobby Simmons, and forced them to high five.
That kind of patience to force teammates to get along is something that only a good mother would have. It didn’t help the Nets win any, but head coach Lawrence Frank was probably happy to have him blowing noses and changing diapers.
1 Jeff Lurie Slaps his Wife in the Face
Guys always seem to have trouble celebrating with women. Take Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who was celebrating an Eagles touchdown with his wife. Well, somewhere between the chromosomes there was a miscommunication and Jeff ended up smacking his wife Christina straight in the face.
Later, Christina can be seen smiling it off and Jeff clapping with an awkward grin on his face. But underneath the smile, you can see an angry women and a man who knows he’s going to be sleeping on the couch when he gets home that night.