NBA fines LeBron James, David West and Lance Stephenson for flopping

The number of flopping penalties in this year’s NBA Playoffs nearly doubled this morning when the league fined the Miami Heat’s LeBron James and the Indiana Pacers’ David West and Lance Stephenson $5,000 each for incidents in Tuesday night’s Eastern Conference Finals Game 4, including this impressive piece of acting by James and West:

Exhibit A: This impressive LeBron-David West double flop from last night (GIF from Deadspin)

(GIF from Deadspin)

Last fall the NBA announced that it would be cracking down on flopping, worried that the scourge of players exaggerating contact was having a negative impact on the league’s image.

During the regular season, one flop earned a player a warning, two a $5,000 fine, three a $10,000 fine, four a $15,000 fine, and five a $30,000 fine. More than five could result in a suspension. The NBA adopted a stricter policy for the playoffs, eliminating the warning and charging $5,000 for a first offense.

But enforcement of the no-flopping rule has been spotty. The league issued just 24 penalties in over 1,200 regular season games. Only 19 players were implicated, and just five were fined. Prior to this morning’s penalties, only four players in the first three rounds of playoff action had received bills for excessive theatrics: the Pacers’ Jeff Pendergraph, the Memphis Grizzlies’ Tony Allen, the New York Knicks’ J.R. Smith, and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Derek Fisher.

James, who won’t have any trouble cutting a $5,000 check, told Ken Berger of CBSSports.com earlier this week, “Guys have been accustomed to [flopping] for years, and it’s not even a bad thing. You’re just trying to get the advantage. Any way you can get the advantage over an opponent to help your team win, then so be it.”



About Josh Tinley

Josh Tinley writes the Away From The Action column at Midwest Sports Fans, covering all aspects of sport aside from what actually happens on the field, court, or track. Josh grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from the University of Evansville and Vanderbilt Divinity School. He is the author of Kneeling in the End Zone: Spiritual Lessons From the World of Sports and the managing editor of LinC, a weekly curriculum for teens that explores the intersection of faith and culture. Josh lives outside Nashville with his wife, Ashlee, and children, Meyer (7), Resha Kate (5), and Malachi (3). He will not allow himself to die before the Evansville Purple Aces make another trip to the NCAA Tournament. Follow him on Twitter @joshtinley or send him an e-mail.

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