From their freshman seasons—when Duke reached the final game of the NCAA tournament—Banks and Dennard have enlivened pregame introductions with their patented "body slams."
"We just bounced off each other," says Dennard. "No shakes necessary. But we did that, too. We were getting pumped up, fired up, juiced. We have large bodies, and us slamming gave off power. Sure it's dangerous. We've come real close to hurting each other."
Before Duke, Dennard's only exposure to the intrigue of shakes was in the sixth grade, when he was bused from his Winston-Salem suburb to the integrated Carver Crest Elementary School, where some of the students had a rhyme that went something like this:
Switchblades, knifeblades, razorblades, too, if we don't win, we gonna use 'em on you.
After one year Dennard moved to King, N.C., in the country. "I was a frustrated fat little kid growing up." he says. "Not into handshakes or any of that. I was intimidated. Initially at Duke I didn't know whether to grasp or clutch, hit my chest and salute or what. Do it, and the in crowd thinks I'm suckin' up. Don't do it, and they think I'm uncool. You don't get an identity until college. My shake was the white-boy special. Then Gene said, 'Gimme a pound,' and I learned. We'd bring it all back and...whop! It was, like, making contact. Then came the body slam, our own. All these new shakes are nothing but cloned stuff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Da-dum. You know, the elbow sex and that deal."
Banks and Dennard are working on a terrific new number—a sort of charade five—in which they fake the shake up top, continue to whirlwind their arms down low, then slap and clasp in a reverse, behind-the-back position. It's guaranteed to wow them in King. "If we don't break our arms," says Dennard.
Shake Well Before...Dept. The other day near Savannah, Coach Tom Mackey of the Cathedral Day School girls' basketball team got into an argument with Referee Jimmy George during Cathedral's game at St. Michael's School on Tybee Island. The game started on a sour note when George charged Cathedral with five technical fouls because the team was late and hadn't entered its players in the scorebook. St. Michael's missed all five free throws. Later two more T's were assessed against Cathedral by George for incorrect substitutions, although one was overruled by the second ref. At this point Mackey announced he was playing the game under protest, after which George told Mackey he would have to return to his bench.
But during an ensuing inbounds play near Mackey, he allegedly wound up and hit George, knocking him, according to an eyewitness, "four feet away." George landed in Memorial Medical Center, where later he was listed in stable condition with a basilar skull fracture. Mackey was charged with disorderly conduct by the Tybee Island Police, released on his own recognizance and ordered to appear in court.
At the time George went down, the Cathedral girls' team was leading 28-2. Cathedral wound up forfeiting, thereby losing 2-0. It was believed to be the first team sports contest in recent American history in which nobody eiher gave or received the high-five.
Former Baltimore Colt Linebacker Mike Curtis once tackled a spectator who had the audacity to enter the playing field. Curtis once went to training camp when every other pro football player of any stature was staying out on strike. Curtis once and always hated the glorified handshakes and everything they stood for. During the coin flip at midfield Curtis used to greet opposing captains in very plain language before even sticking out his hand. "Regular, dammit," Curtis said. "Regular handshake."