In basketball, a flop is an intentional fall by a player after little or no physical contact by an opposing player in order to draw a personal foul call by an official against the opponent. The move is sometimes called acting, as in "acting like he was fouled". Because it is inherently designed to deceive the official, flopping is generally considered to be unsportsmanlike. Nonetheless, it is widely practiced and even perfected by many great professional players.
Flopping effectively is not easy to do, primarily because drawing contact can sometimes result in the opposite effect—a foul called on the defensive player—when too much contact is drawn or if the player has not positioned himself perfectly. Additionally, even if no foul is called on either player, by falling to the floor, the flopping defensive player will have taken himself out of position to provide any further defensive opposition on the play, thus potentially allowing the offense to score easily. To consistently draw offensive fouls on opponents takes good body control and a great deal of practice. Players generally become better at flopping as their careers progress.
The National Basketball Association(NBA) added a rule in 1997 to cut down on flopping near the basket, adding a 4-foot (1.22 meter) "dotted line area" around the center of the basket to help prevent flops. Such flops are charged as blocking fouls or no-calls. In the 2012–13 season, the league began fining guilty players.
Unlike the NBA, the penalty for "flopping" under FIBA rules is a technical foul. (FIBA rules state that would count as one of a player's five fouls (6 in a 48-minute game in some countries) towards being taken out of the game. In the NBA, technical fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct count as one towards the two to ejection or seven to suspension.)
2012-13 National Federation of State High School Associations basketball rule 10.6.f specifically defines "faking being fouled," in the judgment of an official, as unsportsmanlike conduct subject to penalty of a technical foul, but in practice this call is exceptionally rare.
The NBA regulated flopping starting in the 2012–13 season. Any player who flops during the regular-season game would first be warned, followed by fines in increments of $5,000 for each successive flop during the season. The fines would increase to $30,000 for a fifth offense, when a suspension would also be considered. In the playoffs, players are fined $5,000 for their first flopping offense, $10,000 for a second, $15,000 for a third, and $30,000 for a fourth. Any player who flops five or more times could be suspended.
Flopping has been criticized among the NBA community literally for decades. In a "Red on Roundball" halftime segment which appeared on CBS-TV NBA telecasts in the 1973-74 season, Hall of Fame coach Red Auerbach and referee Mendy Rudolph discussed and demonstrated the practice with obvious disapproval. 
On May 28, 2008, the NBA announced that it would impose fines on players who show a clear case of flopping and suspensions for repeat offenders.[discuss] However, the league did not impose any fines, but continued to monitor the situation.
|“||"All that bull[expletive]-ass calls they had out there. With Mike [Callahan] and Kenny [Mauer] -- you've all seen that [expletive]," Wallace said. "You saw them calls. The cats are flopping all over the floor and they're calling that [expletive]. That [expletive] ain't basketball out there. It's all [expletive] entertainment. You all should know that [expletive]. It's all [expletive] entertainment."||”|
On November 28, 2009, Wallace, by this time with the Boston Celtics, again made sports news wires when he claimed that Hedo Türkoğlu, then with the Toronto Raptors, duped the officials into giving Wallace his fifth technical of the season by flopping:
|“||They've got to know that he's a damn flopper. That's all Turkododo do. Flopping shouldn't get you nowhere. He acts like I shot him. That's not basketball, man. That's not defense. That's garbage, what it is. I'm glad I don't have too much of it left.||”|
Commissioner David Stern has complained about flopping because it's a way to fool the officials, but the league has been unable to find a way to punish or prevent it. And, although Stern agreed with Wallace in principle, the league fined Wallace $25,000 for the 2008 outburst (because of the obscenities) and $30,000 for the second.
Shaquille O'Neal loathes opponents who resort to flopping. He criticized Dikembe Mutombo, the 2000–2001 Defensive Player of the Year, in the 2001 NBA Finals and Vlade Divac in the 2002 Western Conference finals for their theatrics. O'Neal said he would never exaggerate contact to draw a foul. "I'm a guy with no talent who has gotten this way with hard work." In a 2006 interview in Time, O'Neal said if he were NBA commissioner, he would "Make a guy have to beat a guy--not flop and get calls and be nice to the referees and kiss ass." However, in a matchup against the Orlando Magic on March 3, 2009, O'Neal flopped against center Dwight Howard. Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was "very disappointed cause [O'Neal] knows what it's like. Let's stand up and play like men, and I think our guy did that tonight." O'Neal responded, "Flopping is playing like that your whole career. I was trying to take the charge, trying to get a call. It probably was a flop, but flopping is the wrong use of words. Flopping would describe his coaching."
|“||They are the biggest flopping team in the NBA. It'll be very interesting (to see) how the referees officiate the series and how much flopping they reward... Every drive to the basket, they have guys not making a play on the ball, but sliding in front of drivers. Oftentimes they're falling down even before contact is even being made. It'll be interesting to see how the series is officiated.||”|
Vogel was fined $15,000 by the league for these remarks.
In May 2012, Commissioner David Stern reiterated that flopping is a legitimate concern. Fines for flopping were introduces the following season. On November 21, 2012, Brooklyn Nets forward Reggie Evans became the first NBA player to be fined for flopping. After having been warned for a previous offense, the NBA league office identified an instance of flopping on Evans in the Nets' loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on November 20, 2012. Evans was fined $5,000. The rate of violations slowed as the season progressed, an indication that players realized the rule was being enforced. There were 24 violations during that regular season, with five players receiving the $5,000 fine for a second offence.
Famous floppers 
Vlade Divac earned a reputation as a premier flopper and is often found at or near the top of lists ranking the greatest floppers in NBA history. Even one of Divac's own countrymen and former teammates, Peja Stojaković, referred to him as "the father of flopping."
In college basketball, Duke was named by Sports Illustrated in 2009 at the top of its list of the "Top 10 Flops" of the 2000s—a list otherwise reserved for players, teams, or other sports figures who spectacularly failed to live up to expectations—because of the team's perceived tendency to flop in order to draw fouls.
Other players who have been named as premier floppers include:
- Danny Ainge
- Chris Bosh
- Shane Battier
- Raja Bell
- Jarron and Jason Collins, named by Shaquille O'Neal in 2009 as the NBA's worst floppers
- Reggie Evans
- Derek Fisher, of whom Divac said, "I think he does a better job of that [flopping] than I do."
- Manu Ginóbili
- Blake Griffin
- Robert Horry
- LeBron James
- Bill Laimbeer
- Kevin Martin
- Reggie Miller
- Tony Parker
- Chris Paul
- Greg Paulus (at Duke)
- Dennis Rodman
- Luis Scola
- John Stockton
- Anderson Varejão
- Dwyane Wade
See also 
- "NBA set to penalize players for flopping". NBA.com. September 27, 2012. Archived from the original on October 1, 2012.
- "NBA to crack down on flopping". ESPN.com. October 3, 2012. Archived from the original on October 3, 2012.
- "NBA to fine players for first flop". ESPN.com. Associated Press. April 18, 2013. Archived from the original on May 19, 2013.
- Stein, Marc (May 29, 2008). "Fines will be imposed for clear cases of flopping". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 30, 2008.
- Ziller, Tom (December 29, 2008). "So Much for the NBA's Flop Crackdown". aolnews.com. Retrieved May 19, 2013.
- Associated Press (November 28, 2009). "Wallace: Flopping watering down NBA". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 8, 2009.
- Pistons' Wallace fined $25K for cursing, criticizing officials
- Aschburner, Steve (March 10, 2009). "Trading 'Shaqspeare' spreads word in NBA". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved October 15, 2010. "It was a tweak at a guy who abhors and complains about such unmanly theatrics from opponents, and who even admitted as he bristled back that he had, indeed, flopped."
- "Lakers hold off Sixers, 96-91". Amarillo Globe-News. Associated Press. June 11, 2001. Retrieved October 15, 2010. "The 76ers trailed from the second quarter on and missed their one and only chance to tie the game when Allen Iverson could make only one of two free throws with 2:06 left - 15 seconds after O'Neal drew his sixth foul for backing over Dikembe Mutombo."
- McCallum, Jack (June 3, 2002). "Trading blows and barbs, big men Vlade Divac and Shaquille O'Neal have turned the Western finals into comic opera". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved October 15, 2010. "There was some head-scratching before it was divined that O'Neal meant "cheat" and not something either X-rated or far out, like "covenant" or "coronet.""
- Gregory, Sean (October 30, 2006). "10 Questions for Shaquille O'Neal". Time. Retrieved October 15, 2010. "Make a guy have to beat a guy--not flop and get calls and be nice to the referees and kiss ass."
- "Magic's Van Gundy calls out Shaq for flopping". ESPN.com. Associated Press. March 3, 2009. Retrieved October 15, 2010. "I was shocked, seriously, shocked," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said of O'Neal's flopping. "And very disappointed cause he knows what it's like. Let's stand up and play like men, and I think our guy did that tonight."
- "Shaq rips Van Gundy for flop comment". ESPN.com. Associated Press. March 5, 2009. Retrieved October 15, 2010. ""Flopping is playing like that your whole career. I was trying to take the charge, trying to get a call. It probably was a flop, but flopping is the wrong use of words. Flopping would describe his coaching," O'Neal said, steering the conversation back to Van Gundy."
- Haberstroh, Tom (May 11, 2012). "Frank Vogel: Heat love to flop". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
- "Pacers Coach Frank Vogel Fined $15,000 For Comments About Heat Flopping". Sports Illustrated. Time Warner Company. May 12, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
- "David Stern eyes flopping flap". ESPN.com. May 14, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
- Wojnarowski, Adrian. "Source: Nets' Reggie Evans first NBA player to be fined for flopping". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
- Miller, Stuart (February 14, 2013). "League’s Action Reduces Acting". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 22, 2013.
- Beck, Howard (May 30, 2008). "Cut Out the Theatrics: N.B.A. Devises Penalties for ‘Floppers’". The New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2008 "Vlade Divac was regarded as one of the premier floppers when he played for the Sacramento Kings."
- Neumann, Thomas (June 7, 2007). "The greatest floppers in NBA history". ESPN.com. Retrieved November 21, 2008.
- Arnold, Geoffrey C. (May 25, 2008). "In NBA, flop has become last refuge of defenders". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved June 1, 2008. "He was the father of flopping," said New Orleans forward Peja Stojakovic, a teammate of Divac's in Sacramento.
- Luft, Jacob (December 22, 2009). "2000s: Top 10 Flops". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 30, 2010. "Duke basketball hasn't been a flop in the record books... But the Blue Devils have been a flop on the court in the most literal sense possible. This is the decade in which the word "flop" became synonymous with Duke hoopsters' overzealous attempts to draw offensive fouls."
- Cahill, Dan. "Chris Bosh 1-18 shooting, 1-1 flopping". Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- Stein, Marc (September 24, 2009). "'Finest person I've ever been around'". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 24, 2009.
- McMenamin, Dave (March 30, 2011). "Lakers a 'long shot' to catch Spurs". ESPNLosAngeles.com. Archived from the original on April 2, 2011.
- Freeman, Eric (May 8, 2012). "Pretty much everyone thinks the Clippers flop too much". Yahoo! Sports. Yahoo!. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
- "LeBron James Flop: Did Heat Star Sell Call On Tyson Chandler Flagrant Foul?". Huffington Post. April 29, 2012. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- Mason, Beckley (April 30, 2012). "Flop of the Night: LeBron James". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
- "NBA Releases Video Evidence Showing Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, And Other Stars Flopping". Business Insider. October 8, 2012. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
- Mason, Beckley. "The 2012 All-Flop Teams". ESPN.com. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- ESPN's Page 2 on "The Art of Flopping" The article includes the columnist's opinions about who are the best (i.e. most egregious) floppers.
- This American Life "Crybabies", Act Two chronicles the phenomenon of basketball flopping and its origins.