Sorry Everyone, I Don’t Give A Damn If Lebron James Flops
Today the NBA fined Lebron James, Lance Stephenson and David West $5000 each for flopping. My first thought was to say that that’s not enough money to discourage anyone. But before I could tweet it I realized something important…I don’t give a shit!
I honestly don’t understand how the NBA’s anti-flopping crowd (AFC) got so powerful. They’re like the tea party of sports fans and writers. After grumbling quietly for a few years they organized themselves and got the ear of the powers that be. Now suddenly, none of us are supposed to get government services or enjoy the talent of an NBA player who likes to add a little drama to his game.
Yes, I grew up watching 90s basketball. Yes, I realize that guys were allowed to play tougher back then. And maybe to AFCers flopping today serves as another reminder that NBA players have gotten softer. I just happen to not agree. Especially during a playoffs where I’ve seen players throw enough bows to impress Ludacris and deliberately go at guys’ crotches a la Dennis Rodman and that poor sideline photographer he castrated back in the 90s.
Flopping is just ONE kind of acting and great players have always auditioned for the Oscar. So have respectable role players. When I was a kid I used to roll my eyes at the way Vlade Divac would writhe on the floor and flop like a fish out of water. Karl Malone was also a flopper and flailer. Michael Jordan (the love of my basketball life!) loved to bend over with his hands on his knees and wince in pain like his life was over after a mild touch from an opposing guard all the while looking at the ref out of the corner of his eye to see if he was buying it. Of course, that was when he wasn’t outright complaining and staring at the ref with his hands on his hips feigning utter disbelief.
Last night, I finally watched the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about Reggie Miller and the Knicks during the 90s. Miller admitted that he always had a flair for the dramatic. It reminded me that in addition to crazy shots he could make the debate about should he or shouldn’t he have gotten that call always added another layer of controversy to his contests. Some of those arguments still rage on.
Plus what job is there where people don’t occasionally (or frequently) try to pull one over on the bosses? Granted, when basketball players flop they are essentially shuffling papers trying to looking busy in front of millions rather than one supervisor … but the underlying concept is the same – try to find every advantage to gain favor.
But AFCers really believe that flopping is ruining the integrity of the game. A game where refs were caught fixing games. A sport where there’s some weird thing called a draft lottery and an outgoing commissioner who can stop a trade for “basketball reasons.” A game that was so embarrassed by its black players that it implemented a dress code.
A sport where a bunch of dudes with over-active pituitary glands try to get a ball in a fringed hoop. If basketball were never invented, Lebron James would be entertaining kids at the circus with his amazing ability to do unbelievable things with nothing but a round ball and a basket…that’s how silly basketball is at its core. I don’t know why people want me to take everything so seriously. I thought we were having fun here.