Posted June 06, 2013

David Stern: NBA’s current flopping policy ‘isn’t enough’

2013 NBA Finals, Ben Golliver, David Stern, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs
David Stern of the NBA

David Stern said the NBA understands how to stop flopping but was unsure if the league had the stomach to do so. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

MIAMI — Commissioner David Stern believes that the NBA’s anti-flopping policy isn’t sufficiently punitive to achieve its goal of curbing the simulation and exaggeration of fouls in an attempt to deceive the league’s referees.

Speaking at a press conference before Game 1 of the 2013 Finals on Thursday, Stern said that the league’s Competition Committee and Board of Governors will discuss the possibility of beefing up the policy, which was first introduced before the 2012-13 regular season, but he doesn’t know yet whether a tougher policy will be enacted for next season.

The league’s anti-flopping policy includes a warning for first-time offenders followed by escalating fines that begin at $5,000, with the threat of suspension for players who violate the policy on more than six occasions. Before the postseason, the NBA tweaked that policy to remove the free warning and to initiate the $5,000 fine on the first offense.

“It isn’t enough,” Stern said. “It isn’t enough. You’re not going to cause somebody to stop [flopping] for $5,000 when the average player’s salary is $5.5 million. And anyone that thought that was going to happen was allowing hope to prevail over reason. But you take a step and you begin to see it.”

The NBA doled out 24 flopping violations to 19 different players on 13 different teams during the regular season. Five players have received two infractions each, with zero players getting dinged three or more times. During the playoffs, seven players from five different teams have received an infraction, with zero repeat offenders. All told, the policy has resulted in zero suspensions and a total of $60,000 in fines.

Stern said that the goal of the policy wasn’t to accumulate massive fines, but to gradually phase in a procedure that could serve as a jumping off point for future discussions.

“There’s always a challenge of getting it right,” Stern explained. “The point was to do it gently, look at all the flops, and there have been plenty, [and then] penalize the most egregious very gently. We could end [flopping] immediately if we decided to suspend players, but that might be a bit draconian at the moment.”

Flopping has had a constant presence in headlines in recent weeks thanks in part to LeBron James, who drew a fine during the Eastern Conference finals against the Pacers.

Stern said that the first year trial has produced enough information to inform decisions on future policy changes but that the decision to enact tougher legislation will be left to the Competition Committee and the Board of Governors.

“I think we have the data,” he said. “I don’t know if we have the stomach. We’ll have to see what happens with the Competition Committee and the Board.”

RELATED: Ranking The Top 10 Flops Of The 2012-13 Season


Public says: Stern policy on not calling fouls on corporate shills "not enough".

Public says: Make refs anonymous as in other spots, no lobbying by players, chatting with players by refs to get face time on TV. No effin' drama queens. Contrast to NHL and other sports.

Public says; give coaches a red flag as in football to contest crappy calls. None in first half of season, one per game in second half , five per series in playoffs. Penalty of 20 second time out if wrong.

"Flopping" is s distraction tactic to steer people's attention from the total rot of NBA officiating that the Stern era put in place.


I've got an easy solution to the flopping problem.  Have the refs STOP calling fouls when it happens.  If nothing gets called, they'll stop doing it.


Who is to say that any flopping fines were even paid?   Or any kind of NBA fines of any type?    I never saw a receipt or a check stub.   Did you?

LeBron "the King" James = Jerry "the King" Lawler

ESPN = "Mean Gene" Okerlund

SI = "Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart

David Stern = Vince McMahon



"we have tha data (but) i don't know if we have the stomach." sounds better than, "we actually don't have the guts to impose the penalties for flopping especially during the playoffs because we run the risk of suspending players, i can think of one in particular who's been flopping his way to the finals and should have been one flop away from getting suspended. its not in the best interest of the nba to have one its most valuable player getting suspended for unsportmanlike behaviour."


The way to stop flopping isn't done with fines.  When a player goes down in that manner, the referee should send the player to the bench and out of the game for 5 minutes on the pretense that the player may have been hurt (based on the way he went down) and in order to protect the player from "flopping" injury, he must remain out of the game for 5 minutes.  I promise you flopping will stop.  I don't think Mr. Stern considers the problem bad enough to take a step like this.


Flopping Foul.. or flopping violations... then..
1. Official Auto Video Replay.... if found Guilty

a] 1 technical free throw..
b] Plus ball possession...


How about 5 PERCENT of a player's salary per flopping violation? Money goes to charity of players choice.



i agree with the "flopping" penalty; "technical free throw plus ball possession" instead of the fine which is nothing but loose change for some of these multimillionaires (it should actually work on percentage of earning if they really want to impose a fine because $5K for lebron is like 0.50 cents but for the lower paid players, $5K IS $5K)

the definition of "flopping" should be explicitely defined!

someone falls down (extravagantly?) = no call by the ref= play on (no penalty), i disagree that lance stephenson, lebron and west got fined for something that did not have any bearing on the game. the refs obviously wasn't "deceived", the commissioner did not have to step in- the refs got everything under control.

should only be considered as "flopping" when the referee blows the whistle thereby affecting the outcome of the game. now this is the tricky part; why, how and when do they call for the "video-replay". they cannot stop the game everytime there is a supposedly "flopping" violation or else games will run the risk of going for over 3 hours. the onus should be on the opposing teams  (player or coach) to ask (challenge) for the video-replay. 

each team gets one "challenge" each quarter (or each half depending on the league's discretion). if successful, they keep that one "challenge" for that quarter; if unsuccessful, they have no more "challenge" for that quarter. 


@Snilloc The player should not have any decision on what the money should be used for.  I can just picture LeBron flopping for the starving children.


@vicente @MikelArtist

*1st quarter / 2nd quarter / 3rd quarter... allowed 2 have 2 reviews each quarter. plus 2 technical free throws plus ball possessions...

* 4th quarter - last 5 minutes flopping review / no limit / 
plus 2 technical free throws plus ball possessions...

on this case it will have a bigger impact to the flopping players...