NBA’s Flopping Experts
The NBA, Flopping and Preferential Treatment
As the popularity of basketball continues to spread to the corners of the world, the game itself will adapt, evolve and appear to change. Oftentimes, not for the better. While tiny aspects of the game may change, the NBA wants to keep the game intact, not affecting the overall game as a whole. As players get bigger, faster and stronger, physical contact becomes almost impossible to avoid. Sometimes players collide. Sometimes it's just because they were playing tough and rough, and yes, sometimes it may be malicious. The league has begun to see a lot of flopping over the last few years and starting this season it began implementing penalties for players 'grossly embellishing' the actual contact being brought on upon by the opposing player.
Flopping can be seen a lot in another sport. In soccer, flopping players go down in seemingly writhing agony after suffering no initial contact. Upon replay the player trying to slide tackle the ball away missed the ball and player completely. Meanwhile a look of pain on the supposed victim's face, his hands immediately go to some spot on the body that is really not injured at all, all directed at the referee to win a call. What can the ref do, he's 30 yards away examining the play at a bad angle? Should he try and call out the injured player and say he's faking? No, he awards the foul and maybe even pulls a yellow or red card out for the fouler, depending on how good the acting is. Not even five minutes later, after receiving some magic spray and being helped off the field, the supposed victim of the horrific foul is asking to be let back on to play.
Many soccer leagues, as well as the NBA, are taking steps to eliminate this type of play. It's disgusting to watch and brings up questions on the integrity of the game. Many players flop to gain an advantage in some way and it puts the refs in a tough spot. The refs aren't looked to issue fouls for flopping, rather the league goes back and looks at the instance and determines if the player was flopping or not. Refs want to believe players aren't embellishing contact, but even star players do it. Star players may even do it more because they know a ref doesn't want to blow his whistle against an athlete on top of his game.
This brings up another issue on the overall fairness of the game of basketball specifically, but to any sport more generally. Do star players and popular players get preferential treatment over relatively unknown players? This wouldn't be keeping up with the integrity of the game, right? A player should get a call if there was a foul, no matter who the player is. Sometimes, though, it seems refs give the call to a star player after suffering only a minimal amount of contact, maybe because they slightly embellished the contact. Slight embellishment certainly isn't gross embellishment, and it seems unreasonable that a ref recognize slight embellishment during the pace of the game. So star players will continue to embellish just slightly and they will continue to get the calls.
The players that do flop, whether embellishing slightly or grossly, vary in position, popularity, etc., because any player is capable of doing so. The players on this list are just a small percentage of the actual number that have ever flopped for a call, that list is a lot longer and might include some unexpected prominent players. However, these are the ones that do it consistently. They do it often enough to come up on a search for 'flopping NBA players' and they do it in really important games when the game is on the line, and you went to the game just to see your team lose in the playoffs to the same team AGAIN. Hopefully the new penalties will prevent the disgrace of the game by punishing professional athletes for acting in a profession where acting has no place.
Shane Battier is a veteran player who is looking to help his team win at any cost. Including grossly embellishing contact. When learning of the NBA's new penalties against flopping he said, "The unfortunate thing about the block/charge [distinction] is that I've had many, many times where a ref told me that you have to go to the floor to get the call. By the letter of the law, I've taken a hit, but I've stood on my feet. Even though I've gotten nailed, the ref calls it a no-call. I say, 'Ref, what's wrong with that [charge]?' He says, 'You have to go down to get the call.'"
This sounds like a player looking for an excuse to play like a fish out of water, going down on any sort of contact because 'that's what the refs say to do.' Battier playing for the Miami Heat this season, might be giving some flopping pointers to Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, because they seem to do it every once in a while as well.
Anderson Varejao of the Cleveland Cavaliers was having an All-Star caliber season before he went out Dec. 18, he is out for the rest of the season. His flopping is just the tip of the iceberg on his all-around peskiness, though, and players must certainly get annoyed playing with and against him.
Unless you're a Boston Celtics fan, you most likely can't handle those faces Paul Pierce makes when he's trying to earn a trip to the free-throw line. Remember that whole wheelchair issue when he was apparently injured during a game only to return like three minutes later? If you forgot: Paul Pierce the big faker.
Luis Scola is an Argentine who probably grew up playing a lot of soccer and some of the flopping techniques he learned followed him into the NBA. He's about as annoying as Varejao and just about as goofy looking.
Pau Gasol is a big man from the Los Angeles Lakers that shouldn't be going down as easy as he does sometimes. Ok, he doesn't have a lot of meat on his bones like his brother, but he still isn't as weak as he would make you believe. His game could be a lot better if he would just man up and play like the big man he is.
Derek Fisher just signed a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder to once again help them through the remaining months of the season. He's a wily veteran who knows his way around a basketball court, and he also knows how to persuade refs. I don't want to say anything against Fisher and his personal life because I've heard he's a great guy, but this dude flops all over the place. If the Thunder make it to the finals again this season, look for Fisher to owe a few bucks in flopping penalties.
I've saved the best for last in this list of the flopping experts of the NBA. Manu Ginobili is a player I would prefer never to watch. His flopping annoys me the most out of anybody else on this list and I really hope the San Antonio Spurs go out early in the playoffs so I don't have to watch his ugly mug flop all over the place. The Spurs are good, but to be honest I think the whole team is a bunch of whiny floppers.