You can’t swing a fouled Manu Ginobili around without hitting someone who watches the NBA talking about flopping. But as the video above shows, it’s been an issue in the league for decades. Even before the “Euros” came in and started showing everyone that you’d get a few calls if you gave the body’s natural reaction to contact a little spice, flopping was something that caused consternation in the league.
Of course nowadays, it’s getting out of control, because it’s the league’s biggest stars that are selling fouls in very big ways. Just look at the MVP, LeBron James, who, when you type “LeBron Flop” into YouTube you get this, this and this without even having to scroll down (there’s also this hilarioius video of some of the leagues most ridiculous flops set to some nsfw music as a “related video”). We’ve written a bunch of stories on flopping as well, so the topic is coming to a bit of a head.
That’s why David Stern seems to have had enough.
While Stern chastised Vogel for on Thursday calling the Heat “the biggest flopping team in the NBA,” he did intimate that he sees merit in the sentiment.
“I think it’s time to look at (flopping) in a more serious way,” Stern said, “because it’s only designed to fool the referee. It’s not a legitimate play in my judgment. I recognize if there’s contact (you) move a little bit, but some of this is acting. We should give out Oscars rather than MVP trophies.”
I’d like to think that last line was a dig at LeBron, though I’m sure it wasn’t.
Flopping has gone on long enough. It’s one thing to give a little extra when someone fouls you to illustrate the point. It’s another to go flying into the stands when you’re nudged. The suckering of NBA officials has gotten absurd.
But I don’t blame the players. I blame the referees for falling for it. There’s a reason these guys keep doing this. Because it works. The flops get wilder, more absurd, and happen more often because referees keep falling for it. Take this call from the other night:
Tony Allen is not a huge guy. Reggie Evans is. You have to look at that play as an official and understand that the dramatic reaction to the action on the floor doesn’t fit. Tony Allen could not have possible done anything in that situation that legitimately made Reggie Evans fall like that.
So who’s fault is that? Is it Evans who know doing what he did works, or the officials for falling for it time and time again?
I’m going to paraphrase Mendy Rudolph, the official with Red Auerbach in the first video at the top of this post. The best thing officials can do is not call these ridiculous flops. And further, if you call fouls against the flopper, they’ll stop pretty quickly. But it falls on the officials, not to the players, to clean this up. Flopping is a reaction to how officials act. And officials need to act differently.
The league will try to institute some kind of flopping penalty for egregious displays. And I’m sure that will help. But referees need to know who major flopping culprits are and, instead of rewarding their theatrics, ignore them.
If the flops stop working, then players will stop doing it. It’s as simple as that.