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(This is apart of Sports of Boston’s extensive coverage of the NBA Finals)
Last week, when it was announced that the NBA would begin fining players for flopping, I came quite close to clapping about the story when I first saw it. One of the reasons the NBA has become pretty unwatchable, to me, is the fake theatrics of the game. When it’s a game, it should be about performing well, not acting.
In baseball and football, it is rare that someone acting like they were wronged affects the whole game, and more rare that it occurs more than once a game. Yet, in basketball, guys have been falling all over the place for a few years now, and for a majority of the game. Just ask Vlade Divac or Robert Horry [YouTube videos].
It’s frustrating to watch and silly to think that if your team flops worse than the opposition, they can lose, despite being more talented and performing better. There are very few things about how basketball evolved that made me like it less than flopping (Isiah Thomas is one of those things, I should note).
That NBA Commissioner David Stern is only talking about fines for flopping is OK for now. However, if this does not curb the flopping, then Stern should look into minor suspensions as well. And as for how the fines should go? It should be an increasing fine scale based on the number of times caught. The first one should not be too steep, just in case it’s a false-positive. But after that, they should sharply increase.
Also, they should be a percentage of the player’s salary, as opposed to a set amount. After all, is it fair if a just-drafted rookie gets fined the same amount as Kobe Bryant, when Bryant is making much more money than that rookie? Or is it fair that Kobe or any big money superstar can afford to flop more than a lesser paid player? Not at all. That’s why a percentage system solves that matter.
I’m excited to see if the gameplay does indeed improve. If so, I hope Commissioner Stern targets a few other nagging issues with the game. First up on my list? Restoring traveling to three steps.