The ball is in your court, Mr. Stern

During Sunday’s Miami Heat – Indiana Pacers playoff game, ESPN interviewed Commissioner David Stern who watched the game from court-side. Stern was asked about Pacers coach Frank Vogel who called the Heat the biggest “floppers” in the league which led to a $15,000 fine.

Stern defended the fine, but expressed his agreement with the underlying policy behind Vogel’s comments. The NBA, and basketball in general, faces a major issue in flopping. Stern labeled it not even a legitimate play.

Amen! Finally, someone in the power structure of a sport admits that flopping is a serious problem which should be eliminated from the game (take cue, soccer; someone please stand up and stop the insanity on the pitch).

Flopping took center stage in one of the NBA’s best first round series between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Los Angeles Clippers. Players such as Chris Paul, Blake “Flake” Griffin, and Reggie Evans continuously flailed their limbs and landed on their asses in the seven game series.

Grizzlies’ forward Zach Randolph called the Clippers the biggest floppers in the league “by far” on the Doug Gottlieb Show on ESPN Radio (see all of his comments in the same link above). Below, you can see one example of Clippers’ superstar Chris Paul falling to the ground with minimal contact after grabbing a rebound. In another video, Reggie Evans of LA’s basketball step-child exaggerates contact after setting a screen.

Sir Flops-a-Lot Paul

And the invisible uppercut to Reggie Evans’ chin

The Clippers are not the only ones. Manu Ginobli of the San Antonio Spurs is well-known for his disgraceful flopping prowess. It’s a league-wide epidemic affecting superstars and role players. It’s out-of-control.

At one point earlier this season in a game between the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks, former NBA coach and current ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy embarked on a two minute diatribe against flopping (video below). Van Gundy’s the voice you heard at the end of the Evans’ flop clip above. He’s a well known anti-flopping advocate and an important voice in the war on embellishment.

It’s time to take a hard-line approach on flopping. It cannot be tolerated. Violators should face stiff penalties designed to strongly discourage such action and rid the disease from the game of basketball.

Referees are able to stop flopping by making the requisite calls. However, all potential incidents should be subject to post-game review by the NBA. Offenders should be fined and suspended games. If you want to play, play the right way.

For example, first time offenders, aside from in-game fouls, would be subject to a $10,000 fine and a one game suspension after a post-game review by the NBA. Secondary offenders would be subject to a $25,000 fine and a three game suspension. A player who commits a third offense must pay a $50,000 fine and miss five games. Any further violation should result in a $100,000 fine and a ten game suspension.

David Stern, it’s time for you to set a precedent. Exterminate this nasty disease from the game of basketball. It’s better for the sport, the players, and the fans. You made your feelings public, now it’s time to act on them.