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Breaking down the flop in the NBA

By John Rohde Published: October 20, 2012


The NBA defines flopping as “any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player. The primary factor in determining whether a player committed a flop is whether his physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact.”

The league determined it would be too difficult for refs to make the call on the floor, preferring instead to leave it to league office reviews.


The NBPA said it will file a grievance with the league office and an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, arguing the players' association should have been consulted first before the NBA implemented fines for flopping.

The NBA has said it is within its rights to levy fines. “Although we haven't seen any filing from the Players Association, our adoption of an anti-flopping rule is fully consistent with our rights and obligations under the collective bargaining agreement and the law,” league spokesman Tim Frank said.

Here are the league's proposed fines:

Violation 1: Warning

Violation 2: $5,000 fine

Violation 3: $10,000 fine

Violation 4: $15,000 fine

Violation 5: $30,000 fine

Note: The league said it will announce a separate set of flopping penalties for the playoffs.


At the beginning of the 2010-11 season, Sports Illustrated asked 152 NBA players who they thought was the league's biggest flopper. Here are the results, with the players who received the most votes (and his team at the time):

1. C Anderson Varejao (Cleveland)

2. G Manu Ginobili (San Antonio)

3. F Luis Scola (Houston)

4. G Derek Fisher (LA Lakers)

5. G Kevin Martin (Houston)

6. F Shane Battier (Memphis)

7. F Jarron Collins (Utah)

8. F Raja Bell (Utah)

9. G Jose Barea (Dallas)

10. F Andres Nocioni (Philadelphia)


Thunder coach Scott Brooks: “I don't think there is a place for it. I think you should play straight up and if the guy makes a better play on you, you should live with that and try to do better the next time. You should not try to flop. It's nothing I thought about as a player, and it's nothing that I teach as a coach.”

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