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A weekly show where we endeavor to answer one of your big questions. This week, Jacob Shields asks, “What is the origin of the high five?”

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Whether you call it a high 5 or a high five, you've probably slapped skin. But why? Who invented the high 5, and why do people high five to show enthusiasm?
Hi, I'm Craig. High Five! Too slow. Ha! Way too slow. We shot this like a minute ago. And this is Mental Floss on YouTube. Today I'm gonna answer Jacob Shield's big question, "What is the origin of the high-five?" Well, just like the origin of the hot dog, this is a controversial question. Why you guys always getting me in trouble? But you know what, we don't shy away from the tough ones around here. So I'm gonna explain possible high five origins. Let's get started.

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It's worth noting that a few similar gestures existed before the high five was invented. For example, the low five was very popular during the jazz age where it was known as "slappin skin" 

Let's start with one popular story about the high five's origin that you may have heard, but is definitely a myth. It goes that the high five came from a group of friends who called themselves "The Five". They had been together in Vietnam in the sixties, and invented the high five as an inside joke. This story has been spread around a lot in recent years, but it was invented by a comedy writer around 2002. What a funny comedy writer. 

So what are more likely stories? Well I will tell you two possibilities. Story number one goes that it was invented by baseball player Glenn Burke on October second, 1977. At the time, he played for the LA Dodgers, and during their game that day, Burke was on deck while his friend Dusty Baker got his 30th home run. Burke lifted an arm into the sky when Baker returned. Baker wasn't sure how to react so he did what I do when confused, and he slapped it. Then Burke went up to bat and got his first ever Major League home run, and afterwords he was met with a high-five from Baker. I like that story. I hope it's true.

Story number two is that it was invented by University of Louisville Cardinals basketball player Derek Smith during a practice in the 1978-79 season. His teammate Wiley Brown tried to give him a low five but Smith insisted, no, up high. The team adopted it as a symbol of their high jumping. I'm not sure he was that angry, I just, I add color to the things I say sometimes.

Whether or not the Cardinals invented the high five, it probably got its name thanks to them. During the 1980 NCAA final, announcer AL McGuire said, " Mr. Brown came to play! And  they're giving the high-five handshake. High five!" And that was the first time anyone called it that.

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Thanks for watching Mental Floss on YouTube, which was made with the help of all of these nice people. High five, nope, okay. If you have a big question of your own that you'd like answered, leave it below in the comments. Slap me some skin! I didn't know someone was actually gonna do that. 

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