Who invented the high five?

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Think back to the last time someone told you “Hello!” or “Good job!” by giving you a high five. This energetic pat made by two hands meeting can be a true sign of congratulations and celebration. But who gave the very first high five?  

While it’s not clear exactly who invented the high five, most agree that this gesture became famous at sporting events!  Some say Los Angeles Dodgers baseball player Glenn Burke was the first to high five when he congratulated  teammate Dusty Baker for hitting a home run at a 1977 baseball game.  

But others say it was a basketball player named Lamont Sleets, Jr. who made the high five popular by performing it with his teammates, recalling a gesture called “the five” that he’d learned from his Dad and his army friends as a young boy in the 1960s.

Still others claim the high five was invented by University of Louisville Cardinals basketball player Derek Smith during the 1979-80 national championship season.  Many say that Smith and his teammates helped make the gesture popular by giving high fives during their games. Now that’s letting your hands do the talking!


by   (whyzz writer)
  • Further information

    Did you know that the third Thursday of each April is National High Five Day?  The first National High Five Day was celebrated in 2002!

  • Exploration

    You may have tried greeting friends with different types of high fives while saying phrases like “up high” or “down low.” It can be fun to share a special high five hello with a friend. With the help of a buddy or a family member, come up with your own high five!

    You may even choose to put a hand wave, snap or double high five in the mix, or maybe you’ll decide to come up with a fun word or phrase to say each time you high five!   

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