Is Flopping Just Part Of The Game Now?

Flopping or selling calls can draw the ire of NBA fans, players, and coaches

Say what you want about the “art” of selling calls but it is effective if done right. As a fan you hate it when it’s done to your favorite NBA team but love it when your favorite player gets away with it.

Right now, if you are a Dallas Mavericks fan, you are probably talking around the water cooler on how no Dallas defender can touch Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. Well you are not alone.

Mavericks’ DeShawn Stevenson and Shawn Marion were quite verbal about Wade and James flopping after the Game 3 loss:

“They’re great actors and they sell it,” Stevenson said Monday afternoon. “That’s what they’re supposed to do.”

“We’ve got to take hard fouls,” Stevenson said, “but if you touch them they’re so dramatic you might get a flagrant 2.”

“There was a couple of them where I thought they acted, but I’m just trying to play,” Marion said. “I’m not trying to get caught up with that. If that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels.”

The most blatant example came just before halftime, when Wade turned for a rebound.  When he couldn’t get it, he jumped, flailed, and got the call. 

Here’s how it looked:

Jeff Van Gundy actually nails the analysis on this.  

“Players have learned to contort their bodies and make everything seem like it’s a foul.”  

Instead of Dallas having the ball and a chance to cut Miami’s lead to four or even three, Wade went to the line and sank two free throws to give Miami an eight point lead.

As I said before, flopping can be infuriating for players, coaches and fans alike. However, is this a situation where it’s now considered “smart” and part of a strategic go-to move when a defensive or offensive player may be in trouble?

Consider how flopping was frowned upon when players began to use it more often. From San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili, former NBA player Vlade Divac, to Cleveland Cavaliers’ Anderson Varejao, whenever they flopped, sports TV pundits, players and coaches pulled their hair out.

Take for instance, Stan Van Gundy’s choice words for Shaquille O’Neal in 2009, when Van Gundy accused O’Neal of flopping against Dwight Howard:

“I was shocked, seriously, shocked,” Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said of O’Neal’s flopping. “And very disappointed cause he knows what it’s like. Let’s stand up and play like men, and I think our guy did that tonight.”

In 2008 the NBA addressed flopping when it instituted a rule that it would impose fines on players who show a clear case of flopping and suspensions for repeat offenders. But has this rule really been enforced? Seems selling fouls is very common place in the NBA.

Now when it’s done, it’s laughed at or it becomes a chance for a sports TV talking head to quip how the player just won an Oscar for his performance. Flopping is still bothersome but its negative edge has lessened.

Should NBA fans, players and coaches perhaps to begin to accept selling fouls/flopping is now just a part of the game?

Though frustrating, it appears it’s here to stay.