James Harden recently received the first fine for flopping (say that five times fast) of the 2013-14 NBA season. Chris Paul and Anderson Varejao also received “warnings” for flopping. And you know what?
Flopping in the NBA has become a hot topic over the past few years because it has become a more prevalent practice. Maybe the NBA stars are trying out for Hollywood while they’re still on the court but it has certainly become commonplace for NBA players to act like they’ve been bulldozed after a 6’1” guard touches their jersey on a crossover. And it’s not just the average player that does it but
LeFlop LeBron James has had his fair share of pretty blatant flops (see video parody below).
This acting should be something covered by the NBA’s referees during training and something that they can appropriately recognize during the games. The league office doesn't need to get involved. If a 220-pound man flops like a fish after getting nudged by a 180-pound point guard it doesn’t take a physics major to realize that there was some acting going on.
James Harden was fined $5000 for flopping…a penny in the bucket of a multi-millionaire. What’s the real incentive against hitting the deck prematurely? The torrential downpour of hate from the public after media coverage. Being “soft” is as heinous as it gets in the realm of a professional athlete’s image—and ESPN personalities talking about the flopping is as the most significant way to impact these players. Then it hits Facebook, Twitter, YouTube…and there goes a player’s reputation. But trying to hit their bank account with a $5000 fine is a joke for NBA players.
More importantly, if a player gains the reputation of being a flopper among the NBA referees, the solution on their part is simple: watch out for these guys and don’t give them any close calls or suspiciously dramatic incidents. If they complain, all you have to say to them: “we’re not fish out of water here, this is the NBA. Once you stop flopping around, you’ll get the benefit of the doubt. Until then, we won’t be making calls based on exaggerated reactions.” If there’s any debate, a no-call option is always there.
If a player is able to duke the refs in the game, then it’s on the refs. The league office should not be able to review every minute action of players. They’re not reversing bad judgement calls for other plays, and flops should be no difference.