What is the origin of the high five, and is it used around the world, besides just in North America. If not, what are reasons why

1 Answer | Add Yours

meaningisdoingvaluingsuffering's profile pic

meaningisdoingvaluingsuffering | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

There are two stories of who originated the high five. Interestingly, both stories involve althleats.

One origin story suggests players Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke from the Los Angeles Dogers initiated the first high five on Oct. 2, 1977. This act was witnessed by 46,000 fans at Dodgers stadium.

As quoted from an ESPN article, "Burke, waiting on deck, thrust his hand enthusiastically over his head to greet his friend at the plate. Baker, not knowing what to do, smacked it. "His hand was up in the air, and he was arching way back," says Baker, now 62 and managing the Reds. "So I reached up and hit his hand. It seemed like the thing to do."

Others believe that the first high five took place between Wiley Brown and Derek Smith of the University of Louisville Carinals during a basketball practice during the 1978-79 season.

As quoted from an ESPN article, "Forward Wiley Brown went to give a plain old low five to his teammate Derek Smith, but suddenly Smith looked Brown in the eye and said, "No. Up high." Brown thought, "yeah, why are we staying down low? We jump so high," raised his hand and the high five was supposedly born.


The high five is used throughout the world as an expression of congratulations, excitement, and/or victory. However, it is likely some indigenous cultures have not adapted this gesture due to lack of exposure and maintaining traditional values and customes.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,934 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question