The Most Infamous Hand Shakes in Sports


Test cricket resumed on Thursday between England and the West Indies, and it didn’t take long for the two sides to create headlines worldwide.

Before both teams even stepped foot on the pitch, everyone’s favourite good guy Ben Stokes engaged in a not-so socially distant handshake with Windies captain Jason Holder.

The exchange was a strange hand over fist type thing that had cringe written all over it.

Consequently, it got us to thinking about some of the other awkward and infamous handshakes we’ve seen on the sporting stage throughout the years.

Bubba Swerves Billy Payne 

Bubba Watson defeated Louis Oosthuizen in one of golf’s most thrilling playoffs at Augusta in 2012 to secure his first Masters title, but perhaps the most memorable moment came not long after when Bubba snubbed Augusta chairman, Billy Payne.

If you watch closely, it’s clear this isn’t the first time Payne has been on the receiving end of a snub. He rubs it off like a pro, quite literally, by going for the old face scratch. 

Dayne Zorko v Touk Miller

The Q-Clash between the Lions and Suns has long been a battle between two cellar-dwellers, but it’s still provided us with some thrilling contests and classic moments – much like this heated exchange between Dayne Zorko and Touk Miller back in 2018.

The above footage was the aftermath of a previous incident earlier in the year following Zorko’s refusal to shake Miller’s hand after a fairly quiet day at the office.

New Zealand’s Ménage à Trois

Rugby fans might remember former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key attempting to join in on the action at the 2011 World Cup trophy presentation. 

After a hard-fought 8-7 win over France, All-Blacks captain Richie McCaw went to shake hands with former World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset, right before Key jumped the gun in this awkward three-way handshake. 

Blake Griffin Snubs Steve Ballmer 

There’s awkward handshakes, and then there’s this icy encounter between Blake Griffin and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer. 

After being traded to Detroit a year earlier, can you really blame the guy?

Patty Schnyder Sells the Fake 

Fiery exchanges are pretty common in tennis, but Patty Schnyder takes the cake for this classic syke move on Conchita Martinez at Charleston in 2004. 

Schnyder got pretty agro throughout the contest, but she one-upped herself three years later against Daniela Hantuchova in Luxembourg with this half-assed high five. 

The Bad Boys Bounce Early 

Fans of Michael Jordan’s ‘The Last Dance’ will remember the fallout following episode three when the Detroit Pistons famously walked out on the Bulls with time remaining in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals

There’s no real awkward handshake to discuss here, but it’s sure made life tough for Isiah Thomas ever since. 

Scissors, Paper, Rock 

England’s tour of Australia was disastrous back in 2013, and this awkward “paper covers rock” routine between Joe Root and Kevin Pietersen explains why.

If you can’t get the small stuff right, you’re normally in strife.

Steven Gerrard Gets Punk’d

The legendary Liverpool skipper had his fair share of mishaps against Chelsea throughout his storied 17-year career, but nothing tops this young Blues fan fulfilling his father’s wishes by giving him a cheeky little fake fist-bump right before kickoff. 

Battle of the Jim’s

Beating the Detroit Lions is rarely a cause for celebration, unless of course you’re Jim Harbaugh. 

The former 49ers coach came in a little too hot during this post-game handshake back in 2011, which then sent Lions coach Jim Schwartz, and a bunch of players, into an absolute frenzy. 

Tommy Lasorda Ghosts Jamie Benn 

Los Angeles Dodgers legend Tommy Lasorda famously fought the Philly Phantic during his managerial days, so it came as no surprise to watch him completely turn his back on Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn during a Los Angeles Kings puck drop back in 2013. 

Phil Fools Billy 

There are two key components to a good failed handshake: the snub and the reaction. 

This exchange between Billy Slater and Gus Gould a few years back has both. 

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