Soccer will never establish itself as a major sport in the United States. But one of the game’s most egregious aspects is finding a home in the NBA.
With all eyes on the Miami Heat this postseason, the art of faking a foul has recently come under much scrutiny, and rightly so. While Miami’s Big Three are not the only players who can induce a whistle with a clever acting job, fans and media alike have been critical of the trio’s recent theatrical performances.
“Those types of plays to me are starting to make parts of our game a farce,” said former head coach and current ABC announcer Jeff Van Gundy after LeBron James faked being fouled by Brendan Haywood Tuesday night.
"I want there to be a severe penalty so that every time I go back on the film as the dean of discipline and I watch every play and possession, those flagrant acts of acting, I am hammering," said Van Gundy. "It's infuriating when you get a technical and you're right."
Like Carlisle was last night, Van Gundy is right. There is no debating that it takes much less to have a foul called in today’s NBA than it did 10 years ago.
While this won’t change, the NBA needs to at least take some action to ensure that fouls are not called when there is little to no contact at all.
Blame cannot be placed on the officials for missing these calls, because due to the speed of the game and awkward sight angles for referees, players who have mastered the art of flopping can make it look to everyone like they really got hit.
The NBA needs to fine players for flopping.
While for most players being fined will not change their actions from a financial standpoint, the formal announcement of being titled a flopper might dissuade future acting jobs.
In a day and age where egos are bigger than ever, no player wants to hurt their reputation within the NBA and around the world by being dubbed a faker. Players are used to fans and the media calling them a host of different names, but if the NBA publicly handed them a fine for flopping, it would make them twice before trying it again.
If the NBA does not do anything to address flopping this offseason, they might as well start allowing kicked balls. Soccer in the U.S. will finally see its day.