COLUMNS

Get the flop out

Kyle Riviere

Professional basketball players are paid to play basketball, not to act.

So, Commissioner David Stern and the NBA have decided to keep it that way. Last week, they announced that they will penalize floppers this season by fining repeat offenders.

Officials at league headquarters will review game film. If they deem that a player flopped, he will get a warning. The second time, he will be fined $5,000, $10,000 for a third offense, $15,000 for a fourth offense and $30,000 for a fifth flop. If the corporate flops six or more times, he will face suspension.

Of course, the Players Association is going to fight this with all they have, but this is long overdue.

Too many times, we have to put up with professional players barely getting bumped and flinging themselves to the ground like they have just been run over by a bus. It slows down the game, and it cons referees into calling fouls that have no business being called.

Leave the theatrics to those in Hollywood and FIFA World Cup soccer.

Flopping was never really a problem in the NBA until the '90s. It has slowly gotten more prevalent every year and now, it's at its all-time worst.

Just like Jose Canseco has been called "The Godfather" of steroids in baseball, I think we can give the same moniker to Vlade Divac when it comes to flopping in the NBA.

Nobody flopped better than Vlade. He was truly the Marlon Brando of his craft. And ever since he perfected that craft during the Kings' playoff wars with the Lakers, flopping has become a constant in the NBA.

Vlade is long gone, but his torch has been passed on to players like Manu Ginobili, Anderson Varejao and Shane Battier. Even Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have become notorious for their flops.

That's not a good thing. Having some of your best players resorting to such tactics only leads to more players trying to duplicate.

Griffin did make a good point about the new flopping policy come playoff time. He reminded everyone that a fine will not prevent guys from faking fouls if a championship is riding on it.

To combat this, the NBA says it will have a separate set of flopping penalties for the postseason. They will announce those at a later date.

Either way, these new anti-flopping fouls should help out the referees immensely. They won't have to spend as much time each night trying to distinguish between a real foul and just a brilliant display of acting.

It should help out us viewers by cutting down on the fouls--which should shorten the games and make the action less choppy.

Maybe now the players will finally focus more on playing solid defense rather than what they can do to invoke a blown whistle.