Over the past couple of decades in the NBA, flopping has tainted the game to a certain extent and it has to stop soon.
A couple seasons before retiring as commissioner of the league, David Stern implemented an anti-flopping penalty in order to stop players from habitually falling down without much contact from their opponent. During the regular season, players are issued a warning for their first flop, and fined $5,000 after their second.
But the fine is almost a joke considering that most players in the league are millionaires. Essentially, it’s just a slap on the wrist to pony up $5,000. More than likely, those players would happily take the fine if it means getting a crucial call late in a big game.
In the 2014 playoffs, for example, the Indiana Pacers forward Lance Stephenson was fined for flopping twice in just a matter of days. In the NBA’s biggest series of the year, the NBA Finals, flopping also became an issue. In Game 2 with the Miami Heat facing the San Antonio Spurs, Manu Ginobili was issued a his third foul in the second quarter for taking a swipe at the ball that was being held by Dwayne Wade. Although there was minimal contact during the possession, Wade jerked his head back as if he was just shot in the face by a sniper. The Spurs were leading 37-34 at the time, but the call seemed to change the momentum of the half.
Nevertheless, the Heat would go on to win Game 2 while Wade was fined $5,000 for flopping the next day. But the damage had already been done, and Wade would more than likely trade $5,000 in order to get a momentum changing call any day of the week. However, the NBA can’t have these incidents during their marquee series. As a matter of fact, they shouldn’t have these incidences at all. It makes the league look bad, the players look bad and it also makes the officials look incompetent.
The league needs to start penalizing flopping during the game in order to get their attention. Issuing a technical free throw for every flop may help, and it would stop players from flopping every time down the court if they know it might hurt their team.
The officials also need to stop blowing the whistle on these phantom fouls as well. They go through extensive training, and they’re supposed to be the best in the world when it comes to officiating. They know the difference between a charge and a flop, and they should also know the difference between contact, and a player just falling down trying to get a call. It’s not rocket science, it’s their job.
But whatever the case may be, the NBA as a whole needs to start coming down harder on players that are looking for a bush-league way to get an advantage.