NBA Flopping: Not Going Anywhere, Anytime Soon

The NBA handed down some fines for flopping during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers. LeBron James, David West, and Lance Stephenson were all fined $5,000 for flopping.

Here are James and West in full flopping action:

You don’t have to be an avid basketball fan to know that flops take place in every single NBA game. If you watch any game, you will see a player flail and hit the floor trying to get a foul call. It is part of the game… and some say it is ruining the game.

The NBA doesn’t have the same reputation as soccer does for flopping, but it has been progressively been heading in that direction. So much so, that the NBA decided to implement a fine system to try and stop flopping during the 2012-2013 NBA season.

During the regular season, the fines are:

Chris Paul flops against Kings

  • First offense: Warning
  • Second offense: $5,000
  • Third Offense: $10,000
  • Fourth offense: $15,000
  • Fifth offense: $30,000
  • Six or more: subject to discipline that is reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension.

The playoffs tightened the reins:

  • First offense: $5,000
  • Second Offense: $10,000
  • Third offense: $15,000
  • Fourth offense: $30,000
  • Five or more: subject to discipline that is reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension.

The problem with this system is that it is a joke. The fines take place after a league review following the game. Which means that a player can, and would, flop to give his team an advantage during the game. A $5,000 penalty for a millionaire is nothing, and if it creates a turnover or foul shot that could win a close game – why not flop?

LeBron James basically said this when asked about Tony Allen’s flop during Memphis’ game against the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.

“Some guys have been doing it for years, just trying to get an advantage,” James said. “Any way you can get an advantage over the opponent to help your team win, so be it.”

The NBA doesn’t want the reputation that it allows flopping to occur, but the truth of the matter is they aren’t doing anything to stop it. The monetary fines don’t cause players to think twice about flopping, especially if it is a close games that matters… playoffs.

If the NBA truly wants to stop flopping, they should follow FIBA and make it a technical foul during the game (after one warning). That penalty is far more intimidating and it would truly make a player think twice about it.

Kobe Bryant spoke on this topic before the season.

“I’d love to see it have an impact on the game itself,” Bryant said. “I think in international play a technical foul is the penalty for it. Free throw and get the ball back, that sort of thing. But I like the rule. Shameless flopping is just a chump move. We’re familiar with it because Vlade (Divac) kind of pioneered it in a playoff series with Shaq (O’Neal). And it worked pretty well for him.”

The argument against this type of system is the fact that an NBA referee can’t distinguish a flop from a foul during live game action. After all, that is exactly why it occurs… it works since refs can’t see everything at all times. Training refs to spot flops is a start, but it won’t be perfect, and you certainly do not want to introduce replay. That would ruin the game.

Flopping is part of the NBA, and until the NBA decides to make the jump and take a hard stand against it – floppers gon’ flop.

[Photo Credit – Youtube screenshot via]

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