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Track Flopping Via NBA App Flop Buzz

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 01:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat and Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics react as they fall to the court in the second half in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on June 1, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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Holly MacKenzieNBA Lead BloggerJune 5, 2012

There’s been a lot of talk about flopping lately.

While the Clippers had become the team most often associated with flopping, the conversation hasn’t died down since their second-round exit. With things intensifying in the Celtics/Heat series, there have been a lot of controversial block/charge calls. Everyone seems to have a different opinion, but the one thing that is almost universally agreed upon is that this has become too much of focal point in the game right now.

How hyped has flopping become? There’s even an app for it. Yes, really. 

Flopbuzz is a free mobile app where you can “slap” a buzzer on your phone whenever a player flops while you’re watching the game. The app adds up the buzzes/flops each player receives and ranks the players by the amount of “buzzes” they’ve received.

From Flopbuzz.com:

Our motivation: 

Our goal is to give everyone a tool to actively express their disgust for [unsportsmanlike] plays in pro Basketball and try to stop this epidemic. It is a great feeling to be able to 'punish floppers instantly, by "buzzing" them on your mobile phone as you watch a game on TV. By getting involved and active, even from your couch :-), you feel less frustrated and helpless when your team is being penalized by an opponent who repetitively cheats, whitout (sic) ever getting caught by the refs or punished by the league. 

An interesting idea, sure, but this comes with some issues. The charge/block call is one of the toughest to make in the NBA. While those of us watching at home have the benefit of instant and slow-mo replay, what one person considers a charge, another will vote a flop.

There isn’t any way to properly police what is counted as a flop or “fake” play. It’s cool idea to be able to chart which players are receiving votes for flopping, but isn’t there also an element of personal bias that can come into play when the public is allowed to critique their least favorite players?

When you already have a certain perception of a player being a flopper or a cheater, that can influence how you look at them and even what you see while watching them play. It’s why Shane Battier sometimes gets the benefit of the doubt that Manu Ginobili might not get. It’s almost a certainty that numbers will be skewed in the same way with this app.

Looking at the app's stats from the regular season, LeBron James is listed as receiving the third-most votes overall. Does anyone really think he flopped more than anyone in the league outside of Paul Pierce and Manu Ginobili?

Of course not. He does have a lot of people who want to see him fail, though.

If you enjoy tracking what people are thinking about flopping, you might enjoy this app. As long as you recognize the legitimacy issues that pop up when dealing with a "vote-by-committee" system, you’re good. Enjoy the app, track the flops, just know that this is an app used for entertainment rather than actual analysis. 

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