The David Stern handshake is a newly drafted player's baptism into the NBA. It is also, often as not, hilariously awkward. We asked body language maven Patti Wood to analyze some of these moments from yesterday's Draft.
Blake Griffin, No. 1
Patti says: "He's not even really wanting to shake hands with the commissioner. He's not turning his body or extending his arm out. The commissioner has to do all the work. It ends up looking like Blake Griffin is holding a baseball bat rather than shaking a hand."
Hasheem Thabeet, No. 2
Patti says: "Hasheem looks like a parent looking at a child. His facial expression, his smile is not, 'Ooh, this is an honor.' It's, 'Oh, you're a little boy, commissioner.' His outer hand is on the commissioner's arm. That's a power handshake. That shows he feels powerful, in control. He's literally making him move the way he wants him to move."
Tyreke Evans, No. 4
Patti says: "Tyreke has his shoulders back and away, but his head is down. This is a conflicted movement. He's not comfortable and happy and in the moment. He's just kind of awkward. The commissioner looks much more confident, sure of himself. But Tyreke looks like he doesn't know what he's supposed to do. That index finger is really significant. You put out that finger when you're a little bit fearful."
Ricky Rubio, No. 5
Patti says: "He's shy. Even though he has a nice smile on his face, there's some stiffness to it. He's happy, but there's tension in this moment for him. The one thing that he is doing: He's giving a really nice, full handshake. He's connected to the commissioner. The other guys, it was more for show."
Jonny Flynn, No. 6
Patti says: "This is my favorite. He's not only joyful, but his whole body is leaning in toward the commissioner. He's actually putting weight on the commissioner, letting go of some of his power with that huge slant. He's lifting the commissioner's hand up a little bit as he's doing this. This is a totally different level of warmth."
Stephen Curry, No. 7
Patti says: "He's totally off-balance in this moment, and you see that throughout the whole body. His left arm is out to his side, reaching in the other direction — it's like he wants to be someplace else. There's a lot of tension around the head. He's not happy. He's feeling very awkward and doesn't want to be in this place."
Tyler Hansbrough, No. 13
Patti says: "This is the first one where we've seen a lot of stiffness around the commissioner's mouth. He's forcing a smile. Maybe he's been doing handshakes for awhile and has to fake it. And Tyler is just kind of, 'Uhhhh, God.'"
Jrue Holiday, No. 17
Patti says: "Wow. His posture is so different. That's the posture of somebody who was in the ROTC or the church, or who was raised by someone religious. Very erect, very proud bearing. His clasp on the commissioner is very warm. It surrounds the hand. He's not mad. He's not upset. He's not super-happy. He's just more self-contained and just very respectful."