When it comes to basketball, some players will do anything to win. In a game where the outcome is decided by the smallest of margins, some people will take any possible advantage they can get. Enter the “flop”, a term most notably associated with soccer players who pretend to be injured in order to get a call against an opposing player. NBA players however, are no less guilty of the practice. Here are 10 of the most ridiculous examples of NBA flops.
10. Chris Paul falls asleep during the playoffs.
Considered one of the most talented point guards in the NBA, the LA Clipper’s Chris Paul is not only well known for his passing ability, but also for his Oscar winning performances. A chronic flopper, none of Chris Paul’s acting jobs were as ridiculous as the one during Game 3 of the 2016 playoffs against the Trail Blazers. During a fast break play, Chris Paul grabs opposing point guard Damian Lillard’s arm to stopping his layup, committing a foul and causing both players to fall to the ground. Afterwards, Paul decides to lay face down on the floor for a good 30 seconds pretending as if he was hurt. You read that right; Paul committed the foul before pretending he was the one injured. Karma would catch up to Paul however as the very next game he actually injured himself causing the Clippers to lose the playoff series to the Blazers.
9. Marcus Smart does the fish
Players in their first few years in the NBA are less likely to perform flops as they search for their first big contract signing. Any glimpse of a distracting reputation such as being a flopper can potentially blemish how both team owners and other players perceive a player’s value. Despite this notion however the Boston Celtic’s second year player Marcus Smart did not seemed phases at all when it came to flopping looked every bit like a seasoned veteran in this regard. During the 2016 Eastern Conference playoffs, Smart does a literal flop when he pretends to be a fish out of water in this clip after barely getting touched in his attempt to get an offensive rebound. The referees however, did not take Smart’s bait and play resumed without Smart. It was a good try but despite his best efforts, Smart and the Celtics were eliminated 4 games later at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks.
8. LeBron James forces the flagrant.
Considered the greatest player in the NBA today, LeBron James is also considered one of the greatest floppers as well. Insulting nicknames such as Leflop are commonly heckled at the 4 time MVP by fans of opposing teams who couldn’t take getting repeatedly crushed by the King. This clip shows an instance of where those fans were justified in their heckling. Although actually fouled, LeBron throws his hand up to exaggerate the extent of how much he was hurt on the play. His effort rewarded him when a flagrant foul was called on New York Knick’s center Tyson Chandler. For those who don’t know, a flagrant foul is similar to yellow card in soccer where two flagrant fouls cause automatic ejection. Perhaps LeBron was still salty about Chandler beating him and the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA finals. One thing’s for sure though, while many people consider LeBron one the best basketball players of our generation, he is also one of the greatest actors.
7. Chris Bosh falls to the ground after getting elbowed by air.
Not to be outdone by LeBron, James’s one time Miami teammate Chris Bosh does his own award winning scene during a regular season game against the Chicago Bulls that deserves its own entry onto this list. The play here shows Power Forward Carlos Boozer turning an elbow towards Bosh to better position himself towards the basket. Despite his motion completely missing any part of Bosh’s face however, Bosh somehow managed to still fall to the ground as if he had gotten nailed in the head. So what conclusion can we draw from this? Well, either Boozer is so strong that even the air of his elbow swing is enough to knock over a full grown 7 foot man, or Bosh got away with one here. Apparently the basketball gods didn’t care however as later on that year both Bosh and LeBron won their second NBA championship with the Miami Heat.
6. Tony Allen one-ups Bosh.
Considered one of the greatest perimeter defenders of today’s NBA, the Memphis Grizzle’s Tony Allen has won multiple NBA all-defensive team honors. Despite that though, Allen is no less immune to using bogus tactics in order to gain an advantage in guarding his opponent. Similar to Bosh’s flop job, Allen’s flop here is also pretending to be hit by an elbow to the face when in fact nothing but air hit his face. Even more ridiculous than Bosh’s flop however, is the fact that Allen makes sure that the referee is looking at him before taking a final plunge to the floor. Talk about situational awareness. The look on the face of Utah Jazz’s small forward Gordon Heyward says it all as Allen would end up getting the charging foul. The Grizzlies however, were not nearly as fortunate as later that year they would end up losing to the LA Clippers in the first round.
5. 6’10, 270 pound Anderson Varajao topples down after light shove
LeBron’s flopping ability must have been contagious because another one of his teammates, the Cleveland Caviler’s veteran center Anderson Varajao also took a page out of his book and flopped his way to an offensive foul. If you’ve ever tried to wrestle down an average grown man before, you’ll know that they don’t go down very easy. So wrestling down a 270 pound giant should be damn near impossible for anyone to do. But apparently this is not the case with Varajao as a simple light shove from the Golden State Warrior’s Festus Ezeli was enough to send Varajao toppling onto the floor. Ezeli was called for the offensive foul on the play with a complete look of disgust at what just went down. Funnily enough, the Warrior’s liked Varajao’s acting abilities and ended up signing him later that season where he would compete with Ezeli for minutes at the center position.
4. Lance Stephenson goes Lion King on the King
Not good enough to be an actual rival for LeBron James, Indiana Pacer’s Lance Stephenson is more like a comic relief villain when TV directors haven’t really gotten to writing the real threat of a TV show but need to fill space for a few episodes. Amongst the baseless trash talk segments and Stephenson’s way too physical guarding style, the most notable shenanigan against LeBron was during a playoff game where Stephenson appears to blow into LeBron’s ear as a way to distract him. Flopping though, was another common tactic that Stephenson used as seen through this particular clip. After not receiving an offensive charging call from the referee, Lance Stephenson lies down sideways as if he were (Lion King Spoilers) Mufasa after being trampled by the oncoming stampede. And like how Mufasa was eliminated from the movie, Stephenson and the Pacers were likewise eliminated from the Eastern Conference playoffs not much time later.
3. Corey Brewer is not a friend of physics.
According to Isaac Newton, the third law of motion states that for any force that is applied to an object there is an equal or opposite reaction. Apparently he forgot to add the caveat that this law does not apply to the Houston Rocket’s Corey Brewer as the force of a light push by the LA Clipper’s Dahntay Jones quadrupled onto Brewer causing him to lose his balance and fall backwards 10 feet. The referees must have also not studied physics in high school as they charged Jones with a personal foul for pushing Brewer. This particular flop was an expensive one for Brewer however as it was so absurd that the NBA had to step in and fine him $5000 for the incident. It was just a small step backwards in the big picture however as Brewer and the Rockets would eventually eliminate the LA Clippers from the Western Conference playoffs.
2. Dwayne Wade brings extra entertainment to the NBA finals.
It’s not often that sports and cinema mix well together. Take four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal’s acting career for example. However, one man who was able to combine the two at the absolute highest level was yet another teammate of LeBron James, the Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade. Wade himself was considered one of the best players in the league himself at this time as well. Just like LeBron too, Wade was also considered one of the biggest floppers. This particular flop was especially notable because not only did Wade’s defender, San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili, miss his face by a mile, but also because this was during Game 2 of the NBA finals. That means million people were able to see to see Wade’s acting repertoire at its finest. Truly when combined with this kind of pressure, Wade’s flop was one for the ages. The Miami Heat would end up winning the NBA championship that year.
1. Raja Bell and Manu Giniboli perform a double Flop.
Speaking of Giniboli, the Argentinian 6th man probably had it coming for him as he had previously been a known flopper himself and is one half of one of the most fabled flops in history: the double flop. In this play, both Giniboli and the Utah Jazz’s Raja Bell try to outdo each other in their flopability level in front of a referee. Both players appear to fall to ground despite minimal contact between them creating one of the funniest NBA clips today. Unfortunately for Bell however, Giniboli won that round as the referees called a blocking foul on Bell. The real winners however, were all the casual NBA fans who got to be entertained by this ridiculous but iconic spectacle. While Giniboli is a 4 time champion, his fortunate was not favorable that year as the San Antonio Spurs were eliminated in the first round by the Memphis Grizzlies.
Written By: Hunter Jin