When the NBA instituted warnings and fines for flopping at the beginning of the last season, the hope was that it would curtail the practice by providing some measure of shame for the worst offenders. That hasn't entirely happened — players still sell contact really often — but it's definitely the case that we now have several working examples of the worst kind of flopping. If the league says it's bad, it's usually pretty terrible.
Yet it's very difficult to prepare for the sheer ridiculousness of the flop that earned Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo a warning on Thursday. In the fourth quarter of Wednesday's eventual loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Rondo set up to take a charge as his Hawks counterpart Jeff Teague dribbled through the lane. Unfortunately for Rondo, Teague avoided him and passed to teammate DeMarre Carroll. That didn't stop Rondo from trying to sell the (lack of) contact anyway. Check it out below (the relevant moment starts around the 24-second mark):
Brett Pollakoff of ProBasketballTalk referred to this as the worst flop of the season, and it's certainly in the running. It appears that Teague doesn't make any contact with Rondo, and either way the Celtics star seems to be falling well before Teague reaches his personal space. While this was Rondo's first league-noticed flop of the season and therefore only merits a warning, it was bad enough to count for two violations. If the NBA had decided to fine him right away, the decision would've had some merit, in a sense of cosmic justice.
Instead, the Celtics had to settle for a 105-97 loss, which actually helps them more than it hurts them given their draft lottery status. Justice comes in the next world — in this one you have the law.
- - - - - - -