It’s a word that has long and deeply-rooted negative connotations in sports and society writ large. To even mention the word during the Middle Ages was grounds for a jousting duel. Flopping in the Old West was commonly seen during the counting off of paces. Meanwhile, horrific acting meant to bring about a desired result is often pointed to as the reason the Treaty of Versailles failed. In the sports world, “flopping” is a piece of terminology with plenty of negative connotations.
Sports have seen its share of flopping in recent memory. The issue itself gets magnified when the playoffs come around and a win-at-all costs mentality is adopted. Lakers fans still mumble about Paul Pierce’s Benny Hinn-like ability to rise from a wheelchair and help the Celtics to a title during the 2008 NBA Finals. In the same vein, Memphis Grizzlies fans were heard decrying the Clippers’ attempts to sway referees during their first round series this year. The city was heard derisively playing off the team’s sobriquet Lob City, calling them Flop City, especially saving their disdain for Blake Griffin. As a side note, if you have been unable to locate Lob City on a map, it is located well before Title Town. Perhaps Clippers Nation needs a new capital. Sorry, I just had to.
The apparent problem of flopping has become such an issue in the NBA that David Stern, the league’s capo di tutti capi, has openly declared that the rules may be changed to penalize these basketball thespians. LeBron James was seen doing a pirouette during this year’s playoffs after getting brushed aside on a Tyson Chandler screen. Pau Gasol — or Disavow Gasol as he is known to Kobe Bryant — has been mildly annoying fans of all shapes and sizes for years with his rendition of Swan Lake on a basketball court. Throw Anderson Varejao and Manu Ginobili’s names in there, too. They should each have a star on the mythical Hollywood Flop of Fame.