On May 07, 2012, Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin went up for a dunk in Game 4 of the NBA playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies. The basket was good, and Griffin was fouled by Grizzlies center Hamed Haddadi. Griffin fell to the floor clutching his face after being struck by Haddadi, allegedly.
Was Griffin fouled on the play? Yes, Haddadi definitely hit Griffin. But did he hit him in the face? Absolutely not. Haddadi hit Griffin on the shoulder while contesting the shot. He didn't touch Griffin's face. Yet Griffin acted as if Manny Pacquiao hit him with a vicious uppercut. This was an acting job. This was a classic NBA flop [video].
NBA players flop to gain a competitive advantage. Perhaps Griffin was trying to ensure the foul call or dupe the referee into calling a flagrant foul? Unfortunately, flopping is now common in the NBA. I recently wrote about how Miami Heat forward LeBron James flopped twice in Game 1 of the playoff series against the New York Knicks. That says something when the best player in the league is also flopping.
We can't blame the NBA players for flopping. To them, it's gamesmanship. The NBA players are selling it and the referees are buying it. What's to prevent a player from doing it? Flopping can gain possession, draw a foul or even eject an opposing player. And there is no risk involved.
The blame goes to the league. The NBA allows flopping to happen. Now it is out of control, and the league must do something about it. A good place to start is the rules.
Look at soccer as an example. Flopping (or diving) in professional soccer is a cautionable offense. FIFA rules state that "[deceiving] the referee by feigning injury or pretending to have been fouled" is considered unsporting behavior. This is exactly what Griffin did. For that, he should have been shown the yellow card.
In addition to a rule change, the NBA should employ video replay. Major League Soccer (MLS) has used video in the past to identify floppers. They have taken a hard stance on flopping. So should the NBA.
Until the NBA does something about flopping, players will continue to do it. They will continue to cheat the system. Players like Griffin will gain advantages by flopping. But we should call out these cheaters who are ruining the integrity of the game. Thankfully, Griffin was caught flopping on tape. This time, he posterized himself.
More from Edwin Torres:
Edwin Torres was born in New York City. He has been a Knicks fan since the early 1980s. He has visited Madison Square Garden on many occasions to watch the Knicks and his favorite player, Patrick Ewing. For more articles, follow him on Twitter @FlipPoker.
- Sports & Recreation
- Blake Griffin
- Hamed Haddadi
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Memphis Grizzlies