x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Up to referees to discourage NBA players from 'flopping'

NBA is concerned by trend of players falling to floor at slightest contact from opponent. Simple solution to stop that? Ask referees to hold on to whistle.

Tendency of players to 'flop' has caused David Stern to call them actors. Elsa / Getty Images
Tendency of players to 'flop' has caused David Stern to call them actors. Elsa / Getty Images

Many unbiased observers consider the NBA to be populated by the best athletes in the world. Who knew so many of them were frustrated actors?

One of the blights on the league is the dishonest play-acting known as "flopping". It usually involves defenders overreacting to light (or no) contact from attacking players, and their subsequent theatrical flight through the air and collapse to the floor.

Some consider it an art. Many consider it objectionable.

It is almost laughable when a player built like a tank – Blake Griffin or LeBron James, say – goes airborne because some little guard tried to drive past him.

It is all in an effort to gain a foul call by convincing gullible referees that incidental contact was more like assault and battery. The problem is real and growing.

"It's not a legitimate play, in my judgement," said the NBA commissioner David Stern. "I recognise if there's contact you move a little bit, but some of this is acting. We should give out Oscars rather than MVP trophies."

Unfortunately, Stern's spot on sarcasm came after he had fined Frank Vogel, the Indiana Pacers coach, more than US$15,000 (Dh58,000) for calling the Miami Heat "the biggest flopping team in the NBA".

Referees actually encourage players to flop; often, if players do not act like they have been shot, there is no whistle. Correcting the problem has to start with the way games are called.

Unless, that is, a league of athletes wants to reward its actors.

sports@thenational.ae

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