In the N.B.A. Playoffs, Flopping Is a Welcome Sideshow

In the 2023 N.B.A. playoffs, LeBron James got in on the act. And Stephen Curry, and the league’s most valuable player, Joel Embiid. Kyle Lowry keeps trying, but oh does he need help. Even Nikola Jokic has taken a bow.

Yes, this postseason has showcased the beauty of basketball. The upstarts, upsets and dominance. The Miami Heat putting the kibosh on the comeback of comebacks in the Eastern Conference finals. But it has also been marred by players of all stripes — ahem, Malik Monk, the sixth man for the Sacramento Kings — falling and flailing as if stung by a cattle prod.

All in desperate attempts to hoodwink referees into calling fouls.

Welcome to the National Basketball Floppers Association.

Flopping isn’t new, of course. In the 1970s, Red Auerbach, the Boston Celtics’s fabled and curmudgeonly leader, railed on national television against the “Hollywood acting” that was sullying the game.

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