If you have ever watched the NBA, you may have caught a glimpse of flopping. Flopping has been around for a long time in all professional sports. It’s usually when a player is barely hit and they fall to the ground to draw a foul or make the contact look worse than it really was. This happens quite a bit in the NBA – it’s always been part of the game and probably always will. Although it’s not what fans want to see, nor does it cover the sport in glory, so do NBA players get fined for flopping?
Do NBA Players Get Fined For Flopping? Yes, NBA players can get fined for flopping. Rules implemented in 2012 state that a player should be handed a technical foul if a referee adjudges them to have been flopping or exaggerating contact during the course of a game. The video can be reviewed after the game by the league office, they will assess if a fine is warranted to the player. These fines can get increasingly larger if the behavior persists, an attempt to get players to stop doing it.
With this rule in place, flopping has cut back quite a bit, players don’t want to get caught in a tight game and cost their team the win. However, it certainly hasn’t stopped players from doing it entirely. In fact in recent years we have seen this move from the traditional basketball defensive flop, trying to draw an offensive foul, to players in possession of the ball trying to get foul calls on even the most innocuous of contact. A new challenge for the NBA League Office to try and address.
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What does the NBA define as a flop?
According to the NBA when the rule was first established, they hand out a foul or a fine if they look at the play and determine the player was contorting his body to purposefully get a referee to call a foul on an opposing player. While that may seem vague, experienced officials can usually tell the difference between the two in real time. In addition, the league also pays attention to the contact that is made between two players when a flop happens. If a player starts to cover his eye but the replay shows that no contact was ever made with his face, they could be fined after the game or would be hit with a technical if a referee adjudes this to be a flop during play. The NBA is a lightning fast game played by some of the strongest, fastest and most skilled athletes in the world. Flops will still fool referees from time to time, but the ability to use the high resolution cameras that are filming the game from every angle to retrospectively punish a player means there is something in place to keep the game of basketball as clean as possible.
What do NBA players think of the flopping rules?
Back when the rule was first introduced, a lot of players spoke out about it. Kobe Bryant was the first and most notable to speak his mind on the subject. He said that he was all for the rule change, specifically mentioning one player and how it ended up effecting a playoff series due to the fouls that Shaquille O’Neal picked up in some of those games. Ironically, James Harden agreed with the statement as well. Most people nowadays believe that Harden flops more than anybody else in the league, though there isn’t currently an official statistic to back up that type of statement.
Blake Griffin was another player that many thought flopped all the time back when this rule was introduced. He, on the other hand, wasn’t too big a fan of it. While he said it was nice that the league wanted to keep the game clean, he said that the punishment really wouldn’t matter to players due to it being small. Blake also talked about how players would gladly take the minor punishment if it meant they could flop and help swing the outcome of a game in their favor. As for the coaches, Erik Spoelstra was the biggest supporter of it. He was all for the new rule and thought that it should have been addressed a little bit sooner than it did.
Who was the first NBA player to get fined for flopping?
When this rule was first introduced, nobody in the NBA wanted to be the first to get punished for flopping. In the first season of its implementation, Brooklyn Nets forward Reggie Evans became the first player to get fined for flopping. He wasn’t caught during the course of the game, but the league had caught him flopping while watching the game tape back. He was fined $5,000 for the act and had only been punished due to being warned earlier in the season for another flopping offense. Once other players realized that this new rule was legitimately being enforced by the league, the rate of flopping dramatically dropped. Only 24 violations were handed out that season for flopping, with only five players picking up a second $5,000 fine for the act. Evans will forever be remembered as the first guy to get docked for flopping in NBA history, a stat that he likely won’t want on his resume.
What NBA players have been fined for flopping recently?
We don’t get too many flopping violations anymore. Back in the first few years of its placement, the league was paying strict attention to it. Nowadays they really don’t put it first in terms of punishments and fines. Players have been fined more frequently for acts that don’t directly affect play, like taunting. However, a few players were recently warned for violating the anti-flopping rule in 2021. Patrick Beverley was hit with a $5,000 fine for doing so. Which isn’t too surprising considering he has long been accused of flopping and antagonizing throughout his entire career. In the same year LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma were handed warnings by the league for violating the rule themselves. In James’ case, he was seen getting boxed out during a game. The player didn’t even make contact with his arms and yet LeBron flew backwards and onto the ground, causing the referees to incorrectly give his team possession again.
Shortly after that, Kuzma was defending somebody in the fourth quarter. He got a small touch on the chest and decided to spin around and fall onto the ground even though there was ridiculously little contact on the play. These are just some examples of flopping in recent memory, though unfortunately there has probably been a lot more of it that the league hasn’t caught notice of. It is yet to be known if the NBA will ever decide to really crack down on these violations, or if they will just have it sit on the backend until they really start checking it consistently.