All part of the game
Los Angeles Times
Flopping gets attention because it's a play near the ball. But look carefully at a star's shirt after they've driven into the lane — it's always pulled out of their jersey. Elbow hooking, moving picks, holds away from the ball, pump fakes to draw in a defender, stopping a dribble-drive penetration to force a late defender to crash into you — they're all techniques, some dating back to the Naismith peach basket era, to get the call to go in your favor.
What TV doesn't fully capture is the speed of the game. The NBA now has three referees, up from two, calling games; they still miss calls on every play, just like in the NFL. It's the beauty of pro basketball, it's almost constant motion, and it's too fast for refs to keep up with. Just enjoy it, flops or not.
There's a bigger problem
Yes, flopping is a problem in the NBA.
But the league faces a bigger issue that compounds the problem: the thin group of top-notch referees.
In recent years, the league has lost some of its best, most experienced refs to retirement or to injury. Their absences are sorely missed, especially during the first and second rounds of the playoffs, when the roster of refs is stretched woefully thin.
Pro basketball is excruciatingly difficult to referee, and those difficulties are worsened by the fans' proximity to the court. You really want to deal with flopping? Employ the best, most seasoned refs out there and assign them to the biggest games. And, if necessary, have the best refs officiate multiple games within a single playoff series.
Traveling much worse
Flopping is no bigger a problem in the NBA than the fact referees rarely call traveling violations.
It has been a part of the game for years. A player has every right to attempt to deceive the referees. It's the official's job to realize when something is real or fake. Flopping to me is actually one of the better aspects of the game. It brings theater to the court. At times, it's laughable watching the likes of Vlade Divac or LeBron James fall to the ground after barely being touched.
It has a place in the game unlike when refs ignore when Kobe Bryant switches his pivot four times on one possession or Dwyane Wade takes three steps before dribbling. If you ask me, that's the real problem in today's game.
Flopping sullies game
Let's ask Dwyane Wade if flopping is a problem in the NBA. Oh, wait, he's on the ground. Of course flopping is a problem, and has been for years.
But when Commissioner David Stern finally acknowledges it publicly, maybe something finally will be done about it.
Stern has the power to make the game better and/or pressure the competition committee. And it needs to happen. The game is beautiful so often but is sullied by incessant flopping.
Fining players seems more realistic than suspending them, although perhaps a sliding scale can be instituted, where repeat offenders go past fines and into suspensions. Money talks with players more than anything, so fining is the place to start. Wade, and others, are at their best when they're soaring, not sliding.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun