As I was watching the Celtics-Knicks game today I realized how prevalent one of my biggest pet peeves has become in the NBA lately. What I am talking about is a problem that I see is in almost every whiny NBA player out there and that is what is known as “playing the refs”. This is when a player deliberately tries to get calls from a referee by exaggerating a foul also known as “flopping”.
In case you don’t get what flopping is here is a good definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flop_(basketball)
I am a sports purist and as such I believe that the number one reason that anyone should play basketball is for the love of the game. The problem with sports in general, and more specifically basketball, is that it gotten away from its true form which is what you see in pick-up games all over the world. You will never see this kind of pathetic behavior on a pick-up ball court, because if it happens the perpetrator would be thrown off the court if not laughed off. This is because flopping is deplorable and unsportsmanlike conduct.
See for yourself:
One reason I think this is such a big problem for televised professional basketball games is that it hurts entertainment value of the broadcast. Also this goes a long way to destroying the credibility of the players and the league, in other words it makes it all look staged or fake because everyone can see that it is overacting. It causes the audience to lose faith in the players, the referees, and the professional game in general, this is especially true if you have ever played the game for yourself. I have been playing basketball for many years, I have been hit so hard before that the skin under my eye splint and I had to have 13 stitches. Another time I was hit so hard that I tore the quad muscle in my right leg and have to have rehab and it was weeks before I could walk again. Through all of this I have NEVER acted the way that these over-paid Prima Donnas do when they get fouled.
One of the worst things about this problem is that the negative effect of this flopping has trickled down to high school level. The effect on entertainment value is small in the comparison to the influence that this has on kids. When kids watch these NBA players do this they think that flopping is the way to act, and there is going to be a whole generation that grows up to be a bunch of poor sports that overreact and flop for no good reason. I am not just ranting without proof, as you can see this kid pull a NBA style flop here:
Also I don’t think that anyone should rant and rave about a problem without offering a solution so this is what I think would fix the problem. Change the rules in the NBA to match that of International Basketball Federation (FIBA). The penalty for “flopping” under FIBA rules is a technical foul. (FIBA rules state that would count as one of a player’s five fouls (6 in a 48-minute game in some countries) towards being taken out of the game. In the NBA technical fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct count as one towards the two to ejection or seven to suspension. So the threat of this penalty would be enough to cure NBA players of their flopping.
Overall I think that basketball is an amazing sport and that the problems it has can be corrected with just a simple rule change. We as fans just have to focus on the positive and hope that the league takes the necessary steps to become what the sport was meant to be. The one quote that I think sums this up is by Dan Frisby and he said “Basketball is like photography, if you don’t focus, all you have is the negative.”