With the NBA's new flopping rules coming into play for the 2012-13 season, the art of flopping may be heading toward its demise. Penalties for flops can include fines and even suspensions. If the NBA takes these new rules seriously, even star players could miss games and be forced to decrease the frequency and magnitude of their flopping.
In the future, 2011 may be looked back upon as the pinnacle of the flopping era. We saw some true gems last year, which might never be equaled again.
Here is a tribute to the five greatest flops LeBron gave us.
The best part of this flop was the look Derek Fisher gave LeBron right after the play. Everyone on the court knew what was going on except for the referee who called the foul.
The referee perhaps should have noticed that while Fisher is one of the smaller point guards in the NBA, LeBron is one of the biggest and strongest players and is not so easily sent flying by a gentle bump.
This flop took a bit of quick thinking. LeBron was trying to save a ball that was heading out of bounds. He was off-balance and had nowhere to pass the ball.
Instead of letting New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith get the steal, LeBron took a little dive out of bounds. Apparently, one referee was not watching very closely and decided a foul call was reasonable.
This was one of the more unique flops you are likely to ever see. With the shot clock running low and nowhere to go with the ball, LeBron decided to run out of bounds. Figuring LeBron would never do that for no reason, a confused referee decided to all a foul.
The highlight of this particular flop is of course head coach Rick Carlisle's facial expression.
The magnitude of this flop was accentuated by the timing. This one occurred during a first-round playoff game against the New York Knicks.
Center Tyson Chandler set a screen that was borderline illegal, and LeBron sold it so emphatically that he drew a flagrant 2 foul. Chandler would have been ejected from the game, but flagrant 2 fouls are reviewed and the call was overturned to a flagrant 1.
Once the call was finalized, LeBron returned immediately to his normal state of health and played a pretty good game.
Arguably LeBron's greatest flop, this one targeted point guard Derrick Rose of the rival Chicago Bulls. Shots to the eye are a big deal in the basketball world. If his teammates did not know it was fake, this could have been a scary moment for them. Players have had careers altered or ended by shots to the eye.
In this case, however, there was no danger. Rose was a solid four feet or so away from the nearest part of LeBron's body, so even in real time no one should have been concerned.
LeBron's ability to sell a move like this one even in a big game is what makes him truly the best flopper of his generation.