The new panic about flopping, inspired as it was by Game 4 of the Heat-Pacers series in which both LeBron James and David West flopped ON THE SAME NON-COLLISION, has taken on an amusingly hysterical tone.
As in “HOW CAN WE STOP THIS BLIGHT ON SOCIETY?”
Indeed, the new panic about flopping also took on a hockey tone when YouTube hockey editor M A K A V E L I (not his real name) put together a video of all the flops in the Los Angeles Kings-San Jose Sharks series. Evidently flopping is the new Game Of Thrones, a place that doesn’t exist yet seems very real to the pretend-aggrieved.
In fact, TNT’s Steve Kerr even turned to Twitter, which is often the Internet’s version of the guy who screams at people about repentance as they come off the subway, to call Heat-Pacers “a flop fest” and essentially demanding massive fines today:
“If the NBA is serious about getting rid of flopping, there should be plenty of fines coming today. Last night was an all out flop fest!”
But then he undermined his entire argument with: “I have no problem with deception, but some of the actions last night in the Heat/Pacers game were downright embarrassing.”
So everyone suddenly hates flopping, eh? Please.
Flopping is like everything else in sports and always has been. If your guy does it, it isn’t flopping at all, but hunting for that always-important “edge.” If the other guy does it, he should be flogged.
I mean, even James endorsed flopping before Game 4, and we all know how important his word is.
So what is it? Is flopping good or bad? The answer is, it’s good. In fact, it’s great. It’s never worked better, in fact, and is reaching the stage where it might in fact be the greatest single tactical innovation of the past decade.
And don’t you kids want something that works?
But just for snicks and giggles, let’s play angel’s advocate and say it’s actually bad, despite its obvious efficacy. Now let’s see what can be done to eliminate it.
Fines? Please. When you’re closing in on a trip to the Finals, whatever your particular Finals might be, you’ll pay the fine if you benefit from the crime. Players cannot be embarrassed at this stage by anything that actually benefits the greater good; they get called “gamers” by the opinion-makers, and kissed on the head by their coaches and teammates.
No, the nuclear option is the only thing that works, and that means suspensions. Nothing less will do. Teams can abide anything except being shorthanded, and players would rather do anything at this time of year than be caught in civvies. The embarrassment of being called a flopper is not enough (you think Vlade Divac sleeps poorly at night?), and there’s always money for administrative bothers like fines.
But what would be the aftermath of, say, James and West missing Game 5 for taking their hilariously choreographed prats? Blood on the moon seems like a minimal level of outrage. Huge volumes would be wasted on the tragic end of the arcane skill of gamesmanship, and how the customers are deprived of seeing their favorite players because of a misapplied phobia over tactical swanning about.
Flopping would stop, sure, but at what cost? We’d just bitch about the new era of hall monitor basketball, and let’s be honest – that’s all we really want. The right to complain about what just happened and demand that something else happen instead.
You know, like any skilled five-year-old.
Thus, secure as we are in the knowledge that nobody really wants to do what must be done to get rid of flopping, we choose to embrace it as an exciting and enjoyable part of the new game. If LeBron James has to go full mask, flippers and wet suit to get a call, he will do it, and we will like it. If Tyler Hansbrough must clutch at his throat as though his trachea had just been crushed by Shane Battier, then that’s what the smart players do.
So flop on with a clear conscience, my overemoting brethren. You may be on the wrong side of public gasbagging about human decency, but what the hell does human decency have to do with anything? You need to get the call, so get it.