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Look, Ma, Big Hands

The year’s almost over, so let us soak up the majesty of the gigantic athlete hand

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

While it’s important for an athlete to have “soft” or “good” hands, sometimes it’s good just to have big hands. They help you palm a basketball, wrap your fingers around a split-fingered fastball, or hang onto a football in the rain. Big hands are so important that Jaguars rookie Brandon Allen tried to increase the size of his throwing hand before the NFL combine earlier this year, a saga Kanye West committed to song in “Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1.”

What’s amazing, though, is just how big those big hands actually are. Of course, we know pro athletes are bigger and stronger than normal people, so it stands to reason that they’d have hands to match. But there’s a difference between knowing and seeing, which is why 4 million people visit the Grand Canyon each year. Social media often shows us things we don’t want to know about pro athletes — like unfortunate political opinions or ill-advised Halloween costumes — but it claws back those losses, so to speak, because it allows us to marvel at how enormous their hands are. Here are some of the best examples.

Bryce Harper

I want to believe that’s a 24-ounce to-go cup, but it probably isn’t. Even so, Harper doesn’t look like he’s on his way to an Ohio State soccer game as much as he’s taking part in a make-believe tea party with miniature cups for dolls. How does he find batting gloves for hands that big?

Tyler Seguin

Here’s Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin, dressed for his side job as a bodyguard for a mob boss, holding a cheeseburger like he’s afraid of hurting it. This isn’t a tiny crab-salad-on-a-cracker hors d’oeuvre — it’s a cheeseburger, Tyler. You can hold it in such a way that doesn’t make everyone think of Lennie from Of Mice and Men.

Dez Bryant

Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has made friends with a baby monkey, who appears to be shocked that he’s sitting not in the branches of a 50-foot-tall tree, but in a pair of huge human hands.

Noah Syndergaard

Here we see Syndergaard making a bottle of champagne look like a travel-sized bottle of shampoo, which is in line with his Instagram brand. Here are other large things Syndergaard has made look small by standing next to them:

Troy Aikman

I didn’t know Miller Lite came in six-ounce bottles.

Eric Lindros

You can see Lindros’s hand over on the left side of this picture, but the party really starts when you click on this excellent story by Ken Campbell of The Hockey News about Lindros growing into Dad Lindros. The cover image includes Dad Lindros sitting on the sofa holding his then-9-week-old twins, one in each bear paw-sized hand. Remember that legendary photo of Reds catcher Ernie Lombardi holding seven baseballs in one hand? Lindros is essentially doing that with human beings. This might be the best big-athlete-hands picture ever.

John Scott

The best hand-size pictures have a familiar object nearby for scale. We’ve already done a baby and a beer, so here’s recently retired NHL All-Star John Scott holding one of each.

Henry Owens

Over the past few years, Eno Sarris has done a great series for FanGraphs in which he asks pitchers to show him how they grip various pitches. Though I do find it curious that Eno painted a grape red and white, then handed it to Red Sox left-hander Henry Owens for a demonstration.

Joel Embiid

With his endless shit-talking of Chandler Parsons, I think I like Embiid’s social media presence more than I like basketball at this point. Here’s a picture of Embiid demonstrating that, if he so chose, he could stick his fingers up Drake’s nose and have them come out his ears.

Here’s another picture of Embiid with Chelsea and Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. At 6-foot-5, Courtois is one of the tallest soccer players in the world — he’s so tall his oversize goalie gloves look proportional to his body, and he stretches from post to post like a spider crab. But next to Embiid, Courtois looks like a middle schooler.

Evgeni Malkin

Malkin assures his followers that the Stanley Cup he’s holding here is a model, and not the genuine article, but look how big his hands are! They’re as long as his face, which is itself impressive in scale. Here’s Malkin with the real Cup — the bowl, which you can see in Malkin’s right hand, is almost a foot in diameter, and he’s holding it like I’d hold a coffee cup. Sick mitts, dude.

DeForest Buckner

Buckner had the largest hands at this year’s NFL draft combine, a whopping 11 3/4 inches across — bigger than the width of the Stanley Cup’s bowl. Much as I wish he’d posted a photo somewhere of him holding a kitten or something, the closest thing I could find is this picture of him and his girlfriend, who despite being an adult woman, is dwarfed by the hand Buckner’s draped around her. His hands are twice the size of hers. What if they get married? His wedding ring’s going to cost $15,000 and weigh 35 pounds. I suppose that’s the price of doing business if you’re an NFL defensive lineman.

Boban Marjanovic

Here’s Pistons center Boban Marjanovic, who’s even bigger than Embiid, engulfing President Obama’s entire forearm in a handshake.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Continuing the handshaker-in-chief trend, here’s President Obama’s hand pressed up against Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo’s hand. Imagine what the picture would look like if the Bucks win the title during Obama’s successor’s term in office.

Johnny Manziel

Although Manziel’s career is most likely over, we need to give him more credit for even being able to sign a professional contract in the first place. Look at those “fuzzy-moon-spiders-from–Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”–lookin’ hands. It’s amazing he can even pick up a pen with those things, much less write his own name.