NBA Atlanta Hawks

NBA Should Impose Penalty for Flopping

The 2012 NBA playoffs have almost been ruined completely. If not for a major first-round upset, two other near upsets and two pending upsets in the Conference Semifinals, the current postseason would be entirely victim to a horrific epidemic that is plaguing the game of basketball as a whole – flopping.

More than once in nearly every NBA game, regular or postseason, world-class athletes fall to the floor with head snaps and flailing arms that resemble an inferior boxer getting KO’d by Muhammed Ali. The slow-motion, dramatic falls to the hardwood are so theatrical and excessive one might think he or she was watching a battle scene in a low-budget war movie.

There have been more unwarranted fouls called this year than games played. Check out this number by Miami Heat forward LeBron James during his team’s Game 3 loss to the Indiana Pacers last week:

You can’t really believe that a 6’8″ man like a brick wall at 250 pounds can be tossed backward like a ragdoll by a poke of from ring finger. That just doesn’t happen. Of course, James isn’t the main culprit of these acts, although he certainly performs his fair share, but the fact one the game’s most high-profile players is taking part in this is sickening.

There are those naysayers (probably those who used to flop on the hardwood themselves) that say it’s just part of the game. Is double dribbling part of the game? What about goal-tending? You’ll never see a player flop in a game played at a city park or playground. Not only would such an act draw stares of disbelief from the culprit’s peers, but it might earn such an offender a black eye or worse.

Such should be the case in the NBA, where official are present not only to prevent chaos, but to protect the integrity of the game. That’s not to say James should have received five licks on the backside for flopping, but he should have been called for a foul.

In fact, there was a recent online poll conducted on this matter and basketball fans everywhere agreed flops warrant more than just a slap on the wrist. A vast majority of over 200,000 voters from all 50 United States and 26 other countries voted that flops should be penalized with a technical foul. That option beat out other choices “warning,” “foul” and “fine.” Players like James would scoff at a $25,000 fine for such an act, but awarding the opposing team with free throws might change their attitude.

In the video above, play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico calls James’ flop a “swan dive.” Such a description could not be any more accurate. Fans talk about how the NFL has gone soft, but the real professional American sports league that’s lost respect worldwide is the NBA.

Many old-school basketball minds will tell you that basketball is a contact sport, contrary to popular belief. Apparently, guys like James and Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash didn’t get the memo. Instead of making these star players look like superheroes, the NBA is unemotionally casting them in the roles of deceiving super villains.

But forget about guys like James, who have already brought plenty of villain status upon themselves. What about likeable players, like Oklahoma City Thunder guard Derek Fisher, Heat forward Shane Battier, San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, Houston Rockets guard Kevin Martin and Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce? All of these guys were voted top 20 floppers in a recent players’ poll. Ouch…and you thought it was just despicable players that took part in this shameful act.

The truth is, a lot of players are regular floppers; they’ve done it so often that it’s become a part of their game, like a jump hook or fade away jump shot. Heck, Nash’s long hair is probably a necessity to cover all the bumps on the back of his head from all the flopping he does. It’s become such a habit that it wouldn’t be surprising to see him go sprawling across the lobby floor when someone accidentally nudges him in an elevator.

Still, Nash is a team leader, a two-time MVP. He’d change any part of his game to help his team win, or in this case, to keep from aiding the opposition. All three-quarter and no-ring jokes aside, other stars like James would certainly follow suit as no superstar can afford to put his team in jeopardy by trying to deceive and official.

The votes are in and a foul or a fine won’t cut it. Flopping should garner a technical because that’s the only way to make it stop. To cure the NBA of this horrible disease, an antidote must be created and it starts with the blow of a whistle and two hands coming together in the shape of a “T.” Star players can’t afford to ignore the rule then. If they do, their careers are sure to flop.

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