One thing you have to commend the NBA far – they never stop trying to improve the way their product is perceived and after flopping seemed to be getting out of hand, just a bit too much last season, David Stern decided it’s time for the league to step in and begin punishing players after games for it.
When did flopping begin? It’s been around forever, but the truth is that the rise of the internet and social media has brought it more and more to the attention of the league’s officials. Unlike other leagues around the world (wink, wink, Michel Platini), the NBA doesn’t think that referees making mistakes is part of the game’s allure and mystique. They don’t think that playing dirty and cheating is part of the game’s mythology.
The NBA has problems with its officiating. Big ones. There’s not a lot of trust from the NBA fans regarding the fairness of how their product is being refereed on the court, some buying into the conspiracy theories that the whistle blows according to the whims of the league’s officials, and to whoever it’s important that the NBA title goes.
Whatever the beef is with the NBA, flopping has got to go. There’s not a single NBA fan or anyone involved with the league that thinks it’s good, except for the players who do it and benefit from it in that single moment in time. What people think about it later? As long as you get away with it and your team wins, who cares. That narrow kind of vision has got to disappear, and after punishments and suspensions (don’t fine them, fining has nothing to do with it) the phenomenon will decrease, although you’ll always have players trying to get away with certain things.
If you continue to do this, you may you have to suffer some consequences. What those exactly should be and what the progression is, is to be decided, because we just want to put a stake in the ground that says this is not something that we want to be part of our game, without coming down with a sledgehammer but just doing it in a minimalist way to begin stamping it out. And I think there are ways we can do that and we’ll have to wait and see exactly what we come up with.
Stern knows that the integrity of the officials and therefore of the game and most importantly the product he has nurtured and helped grow over the past 28 years as commissioner is damaged each time a referee misses a big call and players act in a way (on the court, not off it in my opinion) that’s unsportsmanlike. The NBA has big problems besides on court cheating, but this one seems to be the easiest to fix with one quick implementation of new rules.