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“I don't need to flop, I play an aggressive game. I don't flop, I've never been one of those guys.” - LeBron James, 2013
Yesterday, as I was watching the Indiana Pacers shock the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first game of the playoffs, I saw a play by LeBron James that really blew my mind.
LeBron, of course, is a walking highlight reel, and we all have been witnesses to the mind-blowing athletic feats he has accomplished. He has also “wowed” fans in a negative sense, with some of the worst flops the NBA has seen.
This play was the one that forced me to turn off the TV.
Lance Stephenson clearly makes a swipe at the ball and misses, a common reach-in foul. But LeBron acts as if Stephenson connected with his face, then runs over to the cushioned part of the basket as if he was in desperate need of an Academy Award.
This isn't surprising to see from LeBron, he's been doing it his whole career.
Now, I'm not here to say LeBron can't be the best player in NBA history because he flops or compare his theatrics to those of Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan,
I'm just disappointed that this happens in the game, and that the best player of a generation is the ringleader.
And I'm not the only one …
I don't want to describe LeBron to my kids as the best player I've ever seen, but was also prone to act like a little girl on the court. I think NBA history deserves more than that and I think the fans deserve more than that.
As Dave Eggers said about flopping, “it's essentially a combination of lying, begging and cheating,” all of which run contrary to what organized sports are supposed to be. Guys who consistently try to gain an unfair advantage in sports are supposed to be villains, not lead the NBA in jersey sales.
I thought we wanted our sports heroes to physically dominate the competition, not be knocked down, sprawled out on the floor while looking around for the closest official.
Remember when our NBA heroes would duke it out on the hardwood if it came down to it? Not anymore. Now our NBA stars literally fly away from a confrontation.
Yes, that's actually LeBron's own teammate who hit him. Believe it or not, “LMAO LeBron” started trending on Twitter after this play.
I understand that LeBron isn't the only player or star for that matter who flops in the NBA, but he's the star who flops in the NBA.
When he goes down, commentators say things like:
“What kind of league are we becoming?”
“Wow, that was Keanu Reeves-like.”
LeBron will probably go down as the best player in NBA history, and rightfully so. It's just sad that the best player of all time was also the biggest contributor to the black eye of the NBA.