Dap greeting

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One of many variations of the Dap Greeting.

Dap is a form of handshake and friendly gesture that has recently become popular in western cultures. The term is sometimes explained as dignity and pride, probably a backronym.[original research?] According to one tale, it was introduced to and popularly used by African-American soldiers by Marine Captain John Dapolito during the Vietnam War. It appears to have been introduced to Western culture through film. For example, the 1936 movie Tarzan Escapes depicts the gesture.[1]

Though it can refer to many kinds of greetings involving hand contact, dap is best known as a complicated routine of shakes, slaps, snaps, and other contact that must be known completely by both parties involved. Dap greetings sometimes include a pound hug. Elaborate examples of dap are observed as a pregame ritual performed by many teams in the National Basketball Association.[2] These choreographed actions are rarely televised and serve as a superstitious means of psychological preparation and team solidarity.


There are many variants of complicated hand-shake gestures.

  • The "Lock and fly" is used in the West Indies and Caribbean Islands and popular among the Rasta community. It consists of two movements: a full flat-palm grasping of a partner's hand followed by sliding of the palms in a forward motion finally finishing with a flexion and extension of the fingers.
  • The "Daps Explosion" is recognizable by the opening of the fist and fist's departure from its original location with the intent to mimic an explosion.
  • An unnamed yet popular variant involves slapping one's hand with the other's, each sliding their hand toward themselves, culminating to the impact of their closed fists
  • The simple "fist bump" in which their closed fists gently yet swiftly impact.


  1. ^ Dr. X's Free Associations, "Photo of the Day: First Documented Knuckle-tap (Dap) Greeting", March 4, 2008
  2. ^ Sargent, Scott. "The Secret World of NBA Daps". SB Nation. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 

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