The NBA grabbed headlines before the season by announcing plans to crack down on flopping with fines and suspensions. There were questions about how effective the penalties would be or if they could be enforced consistently, but the root of the concept wasn't necessarily bad. There are some notorious floppers around the league, and getting them to stop doing so would be a nice change.
Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin is one of the players, and so far this season he hasn't curbed his propensity to embellish contact. On Saturday night, the man guarding him decided he'd had enough.
With a bit more than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of the Clippers' home game vs. the Golden State Warriors, Jamal Crawford knocked down a long jumper. As the ball went through the hoop, Griffin and his Warriors counterpart David Lee made slight contact under the hoop, which Griffin exaggerated to make it seem as if Lee had knocked him off balance. It wasn't a particularly egregious flop, but it was the kind of move that Griffin makes fairly often. Lee had seen enough, and so he challenged Griffin with a shout: "Stop flopping!" The players got in each other's faces for a minute before referees broke them apart.
Lee didn't only voice his disapproval as a moral issue — chances are he wanted to draw the attention of referees and make sure Griffin didn't get calls he hadn't earned. But, now that the NBA has come out against flopping with rules (however vague they are), Lee has some force behind his comments that wouldn't have been there last season. It's possible, in fact, that he never would have voiced his displeasure if the league hadn't made its feelings known with new rules.
Of course, Lee hasn't suddenly become part of the NBA-approved vanguard simply because he agrees with one of their rules. Griffin, in addition to being a notorious flopper, is a heavily marketable young star with broad appeal. The league isn't going to turn on him just because he flops, and for all we know they haven't yet issued his one pre-fine flopping warning. In the NBA's world, flopping is only a major problem until it brushes up against other, more important issues.
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