"Cowards flop. If you're a good defensive player, you shouldn't have to flop," O'Neal hissed. "(Defenders) know they can't stop me straight up, so they act like cowards and flop."
O'Neal and others calling players cowards usually falls on deaf ears, because more and more players are using the tactic, especially during the playoffs. There's not a quarter that goes by in which a defender doesn't act as if he has been smashed into, flying backward and landing on his back ... only to look up with a smile as the referee makes a charging call.
Vlade Divac wasn't the first to use the flop, but the move reached a new level of awareness during his matchup withO'Neal when the Sacramento Kings and the Lakers faced each other during the 2002 Western Conference finals. The 7-foot-1, 260-pound Divac simply couldn't defend the much stronger 7-1 O'Neal - listed at 330 pounds (but likely weighing more) at the time - using normal strategies.
"He was the father of flopping," said New Orleans forward Peja Stojakovic, a teammate of Divac's in Sacramento. "He knew how to force people into stepping up to the challenge of trying to get to the basket, and he would drop. He knew when to flail and not to flail."
"Man, a lot of guys in this league could get an Oscar," Denver guard Allen Iverson said. "It is an art."
There is more to flopping than simply falling down when bumped. A defensive player must know an opponent's tendencies, move quickly and then throw in a little Hollywood.
"They watch film, so they know your moves and they kind of bait you into doing the same type of move. You've got to get yourself in position and be able to draw the referee's attention," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "Then you have to act like the hit is a whole lot worse than it really is."
Scott said he admired Dennis Rodman, long known as one of the game's best floppers. But Rodman was selected as the league's defensive player of the year twice (1990, 1991) and was named to the NBA's all-defense first team six times during his 14-year career.
"He was so quick and his lateral movement was better than most guys at 6-8 or 6-7," Scott said. "He had a way of being able to get there - he knew what you were going to do almost before you knew it."
Indiana star guard Reggie Miller was known for flopping after sticking a leg out and "tripping" over the defender before falling backward on the court. Then there is the flopping after contact when driving to the basket. Many players can lay claim to this tactic - along with the required scream to attract the attention of the referees - but one player has been singled out as the master of this particular form of flop.
"A.I. (Allen Iverson) - he's a big flopper," New Orleans guard Bobby Jackson said. "You can barely touch A.I. and he'll go wailing and flying across the floor." -- SFGate
The single most disgusting NBA development of the past few years? The flopping. Slowly, regretfully, inexplicably, the sport is morphing into soccer -- as exemplified by Kirilenko's swan dive near the end of Tuesday's Jazz-Warriors game that fouled out Matt Barnes, or Kirk Hinrich's perfectly designed flopparoo to draw Chauncey Billups' fourth foul in Detroit Tuesday. I blame the influx of European players for this trend because flopping has always been an acceptable part of soccer; they grew up watching that crap and understood that it could work in basketball as well, especially if you have a group of largely incompetent referees calling the action. So it started a few years ago, it's gotten worse and worse, and now, it's affecting the overall competitiveness of these games.
Here's the problem: Because we don't have any anti-flopping rules, it behooves defenders to fall backward every time a low-post player lowers his shoulder, and it behooves them to slide under airborne players and plant their feet for a charge (even if they might end up breaking the guy's neck in the process).
Is that basketball? Hell, no! In fact, when I was a little kid -- and I swear to God, this happened -- a guard named Mike Newlin flopped to draw a charge from the great Dave Cowens, a fiery Hall of Famer who played with a remarkable level of passion and fury, to the degree that he burned himself out after 7-8 years. Completely and utterly outraged that Newlin committed such a phony act of sportsmanship, Cowens berated the ref who made the call, yelled at him some more, then started running back on defense when he noticed Newlin dribbling up the court. Now, our seats were at midcourt, so this happened right in front of us and nearly caused me to pee my pants -- as Cowens was running, he snapped and suddenly charged Newlin like a free safety, bodychecked him at full speed (much, MUCH harder than Horry's foul on Nash) and sent poor Newlin careening into the press table at about 35 mph. Then he turned to the same ref and screamed ...
"NOW THAT'S A F------- FOUL!"
Did Cowens get kicked out of the game? Of course. But there's a moral to the story. Once upon a time, these guys had a code of honor. They played hard, respected the game, defended their teammates, and if anyone stepped out of line, there was always someone that would take care of them -- whether it was another player, a referee, a coach or whatever. -- Bill Simmons
Detroit's Rasheed Wallace, a player who has 15 technicals this season and has been suspended in the past for being over the limit for technicals, gave his opinion of floppers to ESPN after the Pistons' 106-102 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday.
"All that bull[expletive]-ass calls they had out there. With Mike [Callahan] and Kenny [Mauer] -- you've all seen that [expletive]," Wallace said. "You saw them calls. The cats are flopping all over the floor and they're calling that [expletive]. That [expletive] ain't basketball out there. It's all [expletive] entertainment. You all should know that [expletive]. It's all [expletive] entertainment." -- Marc Stein
There are a lot of people who I know that hate, hate, hate flopping. One of them is the Plain Dealer’s Branson Wright, who fancies himself a bit of a purest. We’ve sat next to each other for hundreds of games over the years and each time he sees one he’ll let out a prolonged moan. I am not in this camp, I think it is part of the game just like other gamesmanship plays are. But the league is obviously trying to reign some things in.
In the 2006-07 season there was a play when Anderson Varejao — king of the timed response to defensive contact, oh, OK, the flop — hit the deck on a jump ball. And he was doing the jumping! And he got the call! I felt this was one of the greatest moments of the season, a signature move by a maestro. Branson literally got up from the table and walked away.
Actually, Andy’s great play from that season was taking a charge from Rasheed Wallace in the fourth quarter of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Sheed had just been called for a bad loose ball foul at the other end and was steaming. He pushed and shoved Varejao up the court, he must’ve hit him five times before he got the ball. Then setting up in the post he hit him twice more. Andy took them all. Then, at just the correct moment when Sheed was making his move, Andy went to the deck. Sheed was hit with the charge and then he freaked out, tackled LeBron and was ejected. To me, that was sheer mastery. And, as Andy’s often criticized yet not incorrect agent Dan Fegan once said to me: “A charge is just as good as a block.” Actually, it’s better because you get the ball and a foul on the other guy. -- Brian Windhorst