If you have had time to tune into any of this year’s NBA playoff games, you already know exactly what I am talking about. Yes, the flopping. It has continuously gotten worse throughout the playoffs and appears to only be heading in the wrong direction.
It has reached the point in which basketball has nearly turned into an acting academy. The way players have been reacting to contact deserves an Oscar. This epidemic has not only changed the outcome of multiple games, but also is changing the way the game is being played.
To make matters worse, the officials are buying into the acting. It seems as if the moment someone falls or when a player misses a lay-up, there is a foul called regardless of the contact.
Now we really can’t put much blame on the officials because it is truly difficult to make those calls in the moment with all the pressure they’re under. Nonetheless, the fact of the matter is that officials have been changing the outcome of games by calling these erroneous fouls.
During the Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, fans witnessed some of the biggest flopping in the NBA. It was displayed at its finest in game five of the series, when stars Paul Pierce of the Celtics and LeBron James of the Heat fouled out late in the game. Both game-ending fouls weren’t really fouls. In each situation, Pierce and James made minimal contact and the defender crashed to the floor as if they had just taken a punch from Mike Tyson. The result: neither player could do anything else for their team.
The worst part is that the root of the problem is coming from the best players in the league. It is the players that play almost the entire game and always have the ball. The one’s who supposedly are the most talented. You would think they wouldn’t need any additional help from the referees. However, these are the players that both flop the most and get the most protection from the officials. In an era of superstars, this style of play is undoubtedly changing the game. Players are now intentionally falling because they are being rewarded by the officials. The outcome of games is now decided by that final call which was really just a flop, instead of being decided by strategy and talent.
The direction in which the NBA is headed is bad for all parties. The fans have to watch a game in which half the points are coming from free throws. The officials must face harsh criticism because of the difficult position they are put in. But, worst of all, the players simply aren’t playing the same way as they used to.
The only way to stop the flopping epidemic is for officials to stop rewarding players for this style of play. Otherwise, we may be entering a new, disappointing chapter of basketball.