“Flopping” is defined by the NBA as any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player. This season we have been treated to a NBA theatrical production that rivals all Broadway plays. With arms flailing in the air, hands clutching untouched limbs and bodies crashing to the floor, flopping has been in full swing in several playoff series.
So how did the association attempt to halt these perpetually pervasive performances? They instituted an anti-flopping rule for the 2012-2013 season and a disciplinary schedule for the 2013 NBA Playoffs, which states that any player who is determined to have committed a flop will be subject to fines ranging from $5,000 to $30,000, depending on the amount of violations.
Three players have already been fined in the postseason, but for salaries that on average top millions of dollars, is a measly $5,000 fine enough of a deterrent? The answer is a resounding no. As a spectator of basketball, the flop is viewed completely as a pathetic strategic move, unless of course that player’s jersey matches your own. A call clouded by a player’s impressive acting can change the complexion of a game. The momentum of that one “non-call” can lead a team to victory or defeat. The league is moving in the right direction with implementing the rule, but a fine that minute is rendered ineffective.
The problem with the rule—besides the insignificant fine—lies in the fact that the players are only punished after the game is decided. Blake Griffin put it best: “You’re telling me if it’s Game 7 of the NBA Finals and a guy has a chance to make a play, he’s going to be like, ‘Well, do I want this $10,000 or do I want a championship?’ It’s one of those things that’s after the fact and not going to win or lose games for anybody.”
A player’s mentality throughout the game is to win, so it’s somewhat understandable that some players flop to aid their team. So how can the league punish their players and discourage the flop during the game? The solution is simple: a technical foul on the player. The one free trip to the charity stripe for the opposing player’s team whether in the first or fourth quarter would make players think twice before flopping.
The Broadway play that is NBA flopping will undoubtedly continue in the league, especially with the 109-year-old Derek Fisher in the mix, but with harsher anti-flopping consequences coming into play, the theatrical tour will hopefully go out of business soon.