Steven Adams adopts the 'ghostshake' after Kyle Lowry solo handshake goes viral

Elaborate handshakes have become a staple in pre-game routines throughout the NBA.

They vary dramatically, depending heavily on the creativity of the players performing them, but up until this season there’s always been one constant: it takes two to tango, or in this case, it takes two people to execute a handshake.

NBA players are creatures of habit, so when a former teammate with whom you once shared a pre-game routine is no longer with the club, what’s a player left to do?

Enter, the “ghostshake.”

Steven Adams of the Oklahoma City Thunder is the latest player to alter the handshake he once shared with a former teammate instead of scrapping it entirely. Nick Collison may be gone — the veteran big man retired in the offseason after 15 years with the SuperSonics/Thunder organization — but he’ll apparently never be forgotten.


In a world where handshakes may feature as many as 20 different moves, Adams and Collison kept theirs pretty simple, opting for the traditional handshake with one heck of an awkward pause as they stare at each other straight in the eyes. I’m not at all opposed to LeBron rocking a 15-move handshake with J.R. Smith, but the simplicity of this one makes me laugh every time.

Except for this time, when Collison was absent and Adams was forced to maintain a pre-game ritual all on his own. It’s a heartbreaking reminder that these players often lose much more than just a teammate when their colleagues leave the team.

No one knows this more than Kyle Lowry, who watched as his best friend, DeMar DeRozan, was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in a blockbuster trade that brought Kawhi Leonard to Toronto. The two spent six seasons together with the Raptors, building a friendship that’s blossomed much further than the friendly confines of the basketball court.

Lowry and DeRozan, as is tradition, had their own pre-game handshake — one that has proven to be a little difficult for Lowry to give up. Moments before the Raptors took the court last week to tip off the 2018-19 season against the Cavaliers, Lowry did exactly what Adams had done the other night: performed the handshake without the other half.


Hits you right in the feels, doesn’t it?

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