Come Flail Away: The NBA’s Top 20 Worst Flops

By: 04.16.12
Manu Ginobili

There are a few basic certainties around basketball, from the rec league to the NBA: Players will dribble and shoot and scream “Oooohhhhh!” at the top of their lungs at contact.

No matter if it’s a full-speed encounter or the slightest thread count of jersey touching, flopping happens. On Sunday, as Sean Sweeney posted earlier todayJeff Van Gundy read the Riot Act against flopping after Miami’s James Jones went down in an Oscar-worthy heap.

It got us thinking: What are some of the worst offenses we’ve seen?

These will only serve to raise the blood pressure of JVG and anyone else who believes the charge rule is getting out of hand. But remember, offensive flopping happens, too.

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Robert Horry on Carlos Boozer: This has to come first because JVG is on the call for this one, too. Five years ago he still can’t believe what he’s seen on this ball screen.

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Manu Ginobili on Bonzi Wells: Ginobili is one of the best practitioners of creating contact but pretending he’s the victim. Don’t worry, it’s not the first Ginobili clip.

Tony Allen on Gordon Hayward: When a hit to the nose isn’t really a hit to the nose.

Chris Bosh on Carlos Boozer: First Horry, now Bosh, Boozer is on the wrong end again of an all-time great flop. Is this the most blatant flop, ever? It’s at least in the top three. The head snap, the slow crumple, it’s all there.

Andrei Kirilenko on Carlos Boozer: The “Carlos Boozer File” continues. Boozer’s bad luck is a modest hip check that AK-47 turns into John Elway‘s helicopter hit from Super Bowl XXXII.

Page 2

Andrei Kirilenko on Dirk Nowitzki: When you have commenters typing in all caps for a “robot ref” to call out flops like this, you know it’s bad.

Raja Bell on Manu Ginobili: This rarest of finds is the double flop, and it’s the first in a series between these two. As two of the more practiced floppers in the league, these two know how to use their body for effect better than a Cirque du Soleil acrobat.

It’s like watching van Gogh and Monet in a paint-off.

Raja Bell on Manu Ginobili: Here’s Bell in 2007 in the playoffs getting the “worst” of a Ginobili forearm.

Raja Bell on Kobe Bryant: “You have to be willing to take a pounding” Doug Collins says on this broadcast. Maybe from his angle it looked that way but upon further review…no. This perceived elbow led to Bell’s actual clothesline of Bryant later in the game. It doesn’t exactly seem to be cause-and-effect, unless you’re Bell.

Baron Davis on Mehmet Okur: This is in its own category because Davis falls so blatantly without the game even going on. It takes stones to pull off this in plain sight, though he had to have known the W’s crowd would have his back.

Page 3

LeBron James on Derrick Rose: If the ball was part of your body, then yes, this is a foul.

Lebron James on Brendan Haywood: The video quality is suspect, but the King’s acting is superb in this year’s season opener on Christmas. We waited three months longer than usual for the NBA, and this was LeBron’s gift to us.

Chris Paul on Brandon Bass: There’s a nice clip online from 2010 of Paul dancing to make fun of Antawn Jamison‘s acting on a screen, but it appears he’s become a fan, as well.

James Harden on Dwyane Wade: The silver lining here was that the ref wasn’t fooled into calling this offensive.

Hedo Turkoglu on Iman Shumpert vs. Carmelo Anthony on Jason Richardson: Using the same tactic in the same game, Melo and Hedo both got calls for these. I like Richardson’s body language after his foul, like, you think I hit him?

Page 4

Jamaal Tinsley on Manu Ginobili: The Spurs’ color commentator, as someone who’s seen more than his share, offers a genuine, “nice flop” compliment after Tinsley’s backcourt mugging. Him doing this to Ginobili, in San Antonio, is like me offering Steven Spielberg advice on directing.

Pau Gasol on Kevin Garnett: While Gasol’s flop is a true flop, it’s not like Garnett’s known to be the most above-board defender of all-time, either.

Derek Fisher on Ray Allen: Two All-Star calls on the TV here: “Derek Fisher does such a great job of making it look like a sniper shot him.” — Mark Jackson. “Fisher is a renowned flopper.” — JVG.

Omer Asik and Kyle Korver on Josh Smith: In the same category of the same-play double flop is the same-possession double flop, this time pulled off by the Bulls. Asik’s pre-empted flop is the best of the two, clearly. Boozer probably looked at Smith and thought, I know.

Rajon Rondo on James Jones: We bring you full circle. The man whose flop sent JVG off the deep end watched like a matador as Rondo flails by him to get foul shots.

Who is the worst flopper?

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