Here’s a gem from the brilliant guys at Ball Don’t Lie, a video circa ’70s summarizing what Boston Celtics Legend Red Auerbach thinks about flopping – which he quaintly calls ‘falling down’, but is 100% the same.
Some Quotes from the man himself:
Coach Auerbach: These defensive men are picking up fouls that are totally unfair!
Coach Auerbach (incredulously) : Did Wes Unseld hit that man hard enough to knock him down?!?
Mike Riordan explaining himself: Initially i was trying to free my teammate for a jumpshot and also if i can get away with it, to draw a foul while setting that pick, to ‘fake a foul’, actually.
and my favorite:
Coach Auerbach: Now remember, coaches today, in HS, College and Pro, ARE TEACHING THE PLAYERS HOW TO FALL! This is unreal! They’re teaching them how to fall! They teach the defense how to fall!
and probably the most resounding statement that holds true till today:
Coach Auerbach: This segment is not aimed at referees… this is not. It’s aimed at coaches, it’s aimed at players. What are we gonna do about it? Let’s not hurt the game!
And here is an NBA player’s reaction to it:
Ok fine, it’s just a random pic of Manu Ginobili reacting to a call which may or may not be a flop. But the fact that I’m giving it a 50% chance that it IS a flop, shows how low I might think of his constant annoying practice.
At any rate, this post comes in the heels of the NBA’s decision to fine floppers next year for an as – yet undetermind amount for flopping, with the same article indicating that floppers in international play are already assessed a foul.
I have a very specific opinion on abnormalities like flopping which also involve the Hack – A – Shaq (which I’d be interested to hear Coach Auberbach’s opinion of as well), and even that simple trick where the offensive player intentionally makes whirlwind circles with the ball in both hands so as to get unintentionally hit by the defensive player’s outstretched arms – a trick I’ve seen done by almost everyone, from Paul Pierce (used on Tayshaun Prince’s defense last week), to Kobe on Bruce Bowen, even all the way back to Jaworski on Philip Cezar.
And that opinion is – it’s not basketball.
Basketball, or all sports for that matter, to me, is the act of playing your best against an opponent’s best. While in offense, your opponent will try everything he can to stop you – within specific rules. He can’t touch you, for instance. He can’t step in front of you after you’ve left your feet (a blocking foul). He can’t trip you, kick the ball, block your eyes or otherwise get in your way once you’ve started moving.
But fall down and PRETEND to receive a foul? That’s not within the concept of fair play. It may stop the offense, but via trickery, and not via skill. Yes you can say that is still ‘a skill’, albeit an ‘acting’ skill, but certainly not a basketball skill. Playing defense like Rick Mahorn, Scottie Pippen or Charles Barkley is a skill. Falling down like Vlade Divac, Karl Malone, Manu Ginobili, Andy Verajao and others, is not a basketball skill. It is trying to trick people. It is therefore not basketball. Whatever it is, it is the farthest from such.
As for the the NBA’s warning that a ruling will soon be made? Largely unecessary IMO. As Red Auerbach’s video above proves, Mendy Rudolph already had the answers way before flopping reached the ridiculous levels it has today. He said ‘Just ignore it.’, and in my book, that’s exactly what a referee should do. If a ref finds contact worth calling, then blow that whistle. But if he doesn’t find contact, especially when a 280lb. 7 foot behemoth suddenly starts falling down after a 180lb. guard merely touches him (Yes I’m talking to you Vlade. You’re retired but I’m still sore at you for flopping so much and so obviously), then keep that whistle silent. Not paying attention to flops is punishment enough. That’ll teach those Vlade wannabees.