When Acting Decides Games, It’s Time For a Change

The NBA has to step up against flopping... NOW!

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

OK, as a Cleveland Cavaliers fan who has the king of all floppers, Anderson Varejao, on his roster, the following may sound a trifle hypocritical but the NBA needs to button down on all the flopping going on in their games. Seeing these big, over-paid guys throwing themselves to the ground after incidental contact is fast approaching a point where it's cringe-worthy and takes away from the sport. In fact, after watching the best acting job ever Saturday night in the Dallas-Oklahoma City game, I would hazard to say that it's way beyond that point now.

The play in question came in the third quarter of the pivotal game 3 in the Western Conference Finals. The Thunder's James Harden had just made a layup over the Mavericks Tyson Chandler and turned to get back on defense when he ran into Chandler who was trying to get the ball out of bounds for the in-bounds. Chandler then simply put his arms up to give Harden room to go by when Harden fell to the floor like he was shot, clutching his head like he took a shot from Mike Tyson as opposed to Tyson Chandler.

What happened, when replay of the event was shown, was that Chandler grazed Harden's head when he put his arms up to clear out space and Harden took the opportunity to put on the greatest acting performance since Robert De Niro in Heat. The official, standing about 2 feet away, awarded the performance with a technical foul on Chandler and De Niro… er, Harden… got to get a free point out of the play.

"That was far from an elbow,'' Chandler said Sunday at the Mavericks' practice. "But he did a good job of presenting it. It was well-deserved and he got the free throw. I'm hoping it will get rescinded because it was not a vicious elbow. I didn't throw an elbow. I was trying to take the ball out of bounds and he tried to initiate contact and did a good job of flopping.''

Though it's understandable why the official called it like he did, playoff games can get feisty at the drop of a hat and order must be kept, it's inexcusable that the NBA hasn't done anything to cut down on incidents like these. The NBA has to start policing flopping to preserve the integrity of the game. Whether it's fining players after the fact for blatant flops or allowing coaches to challenge calls like the NFL does, something has to be done and done soon.

Granted, this will hurt my Cavaliers next season (Go Andy!), but this has reached the point where enough is enough and these guys have to start playing like men instead of nancy-pantsy sissy girls!

If not fixed, you might as well sign up players to the Screen Actors Guild or give them knitting needles on the sidelines because flopping is not basketball…

…or at least not any basketball I want to see.

UPDATE: The tech foul was rescinded and James Harden was offered a role in the upcoming play, the NBA on ice. OK, maybe not the second part.

Photo Courtesy of:  ASSOCIATED PRESS