There is little dispute that Miami Heat’s LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world. LeBron can do almost anything on the court. He can score inside or outside. He has phenomenal ball handling skills. He can guard anyone on the court – even a healthy Derrick Rose who routinely broke lesser player’s ankles. So why does Lebron James flop? It is maddening and seems beneath someone of LeBron’s stature.
Flopping; the art of exaggerating contact or faking an injury to draw a foul on the other player – sometimes turns a routine foul into a flagrant foul. Search YouTube or Twitter for “LeBron James flop” and you can see numerous examples of his egregious flopping. There is also a new trend on Vine where kids flop in the hallways at school for the slightest touch. Its called “LeBronning” and it is quite humorous to watch. But, it is disturbing that it is based on the actions of the best player in the world.
Typically, flopping was the method that slower, less talented players took advantage of better players. The Godfather of the flop was Detroit Pistons Bill Laimbeer who should have won several Academy Awards for flopping during his career. Other famous floppers include Vlade Divac and Reggie Miller. Currently in the NBA, in addition to James, Anderson Varejao and Pao Gasol are known floppers. Even on the Heat, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have been known to flop as well.
So why does LeBron James flop? He often uses it to fool the referees into calling flagrant fouls, especially in the playoffs. LeBron will pretend he was hit in the head when replays show the contact wasn’t near his head. James is 6’8” and 250 pounds of muscle. He is near impossible to stop when he charges the basket. Thus, it is confounding that NBA referees believe that he would fall so dramatically at the slightest touch. Replays make a mockery of the called fouls due to the LeBron James flops.
Admittedly, flopping work for James. He has gained an advantage. But, it just seems that King James has so much talent – does he need to do it? LeBron would be easier to root for if he did not flop. As long as the NBA referees keep falling for it, it will continue. Hopefully, LeBron just decides to take the high road and let his true talent speak for him and leave the acting for his endorsements.
What’s interesting with LeBron and his flopping is that while he doesn’t get every call he reaches for, it doesn’t really affect him in other potential foul calls against him over the course of the game. But the double standard that has existed in the NBA for decades on fouls against superstars and scrubs is something that most who follow the game have simply come to accept.