There isn’t an official marker on when flopping began in the NBA, but people started noticing it a lot more when Manu Ginobili arrived in the league. So it’s not surprising to see him getting called out for this blatant cheating, although only Dwayne Wade, another master flopper, was the only one fined for doing so in game 2 of the NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat.
In the case of Wade – Ginobili did make contact with his hand, which is a foul. The problem was Wade decided to sell the foul and moved his head back as if he was hit or scratched. NBA officials often react to what the player reaction is instead of what actually happened, and thus a foul on Ginobili was born. Wade hasn’t started this trend of flopping, but he certainly does it better than most, and he’ll also live with having to pay a $5000 fine if he knows it gives him an advantage.
And what about Ginobili? The refs didn’t call a foul when Ray Allen tried to swat the ball away from his hands. Ginobili did the same head snap Wade did, but there was no replay, no foul called and no media attention, which meant that for the exact same thing, Ginobili got no punishment while Wade got fined. The NBA isn’t about being 100% fair, but abuot punishing where it can without actually causing a deterrent to stop this phenomenon.
Some love to say that Foreign players are the source of this “evil” but American players do it just as much. Maybe they never thought of the idea before an overseas invasion filled the NBA with players from Europe and South America, but it seems like Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and others caught on pretty quickly to make it seem like it’s something that’s being taught quite well through the high school – college – pro system. Better than they’re able to teach big men how to score in the post.
And while it is cheating – deceiving the referee is cheating – there is simply nothing to stop players from doing it. They’re not getting called for it by the refs, who should be able to put a foul on someone who blatantly flops like soccer referees book players who dive, and even when the league decides to punish a player, it’s often a fine that means nothing to these guys, even if they’re caught more than once, like Lance Stephenson in the series against the Heat.
If you see Wade and Ginobili or other players try to coax fouls out of referees, don’t be surprised. Wade won’t lose any sleep about being called a flopper, or for being fined. Neither will Ginobili. If feigning injuries and making embarrassing gestures in front of millions will help them win games and the NBA title, be certain that no finger waving from the commissioner or social media is going to bother them.