Flopping has been the best (or worst) part of the modern-day NBA – depending on how you look at it. On one end, it’s such a downer especially if it happens to a team or a player you’re rooting for. On the other hand, crazy flops have given us a ton of embarrassing but equally amusing moments that will forever live in our memories. If flopping is an art – then these are then we have a league full of artists. Or con artists? Again, depends on how you look at it. Here are the top ten most embarrassing flops in NBA history.
10. Andrei Kirilenko (December 2008)
European stars’ Andrei Kirilenko and Dirk Nowitzki had a mini rivalry between them in the late 2000s. It’s hard not to compete against each other if you’re two lanky and talented ballers from Europe being constantly pitted against each other in the post.
In a match-up at home in Utah, Kirilenko produced one of the craziest oscar-winning flops in NBA history. Nowitzki was squaring up for what seemed to be one of his signature jump shots at the top of the key as he swung the ball from side to side. Andrei Kirilenko, being the master flopper that he is, took full advantage of Nowitzki’s sharp elbows and acted his way to draw an offensive foul on the German. With plays like this, no wonder that Kirilenko was always on Dirk’s nerves.
9. Tony Allen (January 2012)
Three-time All-Defensive First Team member Tony Allen of course makes this list. The former Memphis Grizzlies swingman has been known to be a lockdown defender in his time. But, along with his impeccable on-ball defense comes a few embarrassing flops here and there. Mid-way through the 2011-2012 season, the Grizzlies were facing the Utah Jazz and a young stud named Gordon Hayward which Allen was assigned to stick to like glue. And when Memphis was cutting down the Jazz lead in the fourth quarter, Allen came up with a huge flop against the Jazz guard to force the nearby official to blow his whistle and call an offensive foul on Hayward.
8. Baron Davis (November 2007)
Baron Davis made a name for himself as one of the league’s cheekiest guards. The flashy guard has always been known to make a statement whenever he takes the floor. After the infamous ‘We Believe’ season of Baron Davis and the Golden State Warriors in the 2007 playoffs, Davis was back in the headlines for one of his more shameful on-court dives. After a travelling infraction was called on Jazz forward Mehmet Okur, Davis tried to tap the ball away from Okur. And when Okur crossed the guard’s path, Davis went full Hollywood.
7. Stephen Curry (May 2018)
No one’s safe from this list – not even Splash Brother himself, Stephen Curry. Yes, we all know how great Curry is. He is a two-time MVP after all so his greatness isn’t debatable, really. But, Steph’s ever-flailing arms makes it to number seven of this list. Early in their 2018 playoff matchup against the Houston Rockets, Curry and the Golden State Warriors were enjoying an early 7-0 lead. And when Chris Paul trying to settle down the Rockets and set-up a quick pick-and-roll, Curry switched on Paul and the slightest of nudges from Paul sent Curry all the way to the baseline. Seriously, it looked like a 2k glitch.
6. Chris Paul (March 2013)
CP3 himself was in the wrong side of a flop highlight in 2013. In a match-up against the Sacramento Kings, Paul who was still part of the Los Angeles Clippers tried his very best to get into the head of former Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins has been known to lose his temper quite often so Paul was trying his best to earn some cheap points for his team and probably even get the big guy thrown out. Unfortunately, it was a no-call so CP3 had himself quite a shameful few seconds.
5. Chris Bosh (February 2011)
11-time All-Star Chris Bosh has been known to trend in social media with his crazy meme-worthy highlights both on and off the court. In 2011, Bosh had one of his more memorable (or forgetful) defensive plays against former Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer. Though Bosh wasn’t the best post defenders, he was definitely one of the smartest ones. Boozer got the ball in the high post, faced the rim and swung his elbows for a jab fake. Bosh took full advantage of Boozer’s swinging elbows and took a dive to signal to the referees that he got hit in the face. Even if there was a ton of space between Boozer’s elbows and Bosh’s face when you watch the replay, Bosh still got the call.
4. LeBron James (May 2013)
We can’t not have The King on this list, right? Yes, LeBron James is arguably one of the best to ever play in the NBA but let’s be real – he’s been known to make some crazy flops every now and then.
In an intense playoff match-up against the Indiana Pacers in 2013, LBJ brought one of his best (or worst) flops in his decorated career in the league. James was matched up against the bulky David West and this fourth-quarter play brought out not one but two acting jobs from both James and West. After initially bumping against each other to jockey for position at the post, West switched to the right side of the floor and proceeded to seal his defender. Being the sly player that he is, James used the slightest of nudges to produce a flop that deserves an Emmy nod. And then can we give a best supporting role to West, too while we’re at it?
3. Lance Stephenson (May 2014)
One of the more famous floppers in the NBA is none other than Lance Stephenson. The year after the previous floptastic play, these two teams were back at it in the NBA playoffs but now Stephenson was joining the cast of characters. As one of the top defenders of Indiana, Stephenson had the unenviable task of shadowing LeBron and with James having the talent advantage over him, Stephenson had to resort to some very creative plays like this try and level the playing field.
Flops like this earned Stephenson the title of one of the best floppers in the world and even took his flopping talents to China in his short stint in the CBA.
2. James Harden (February 2017)
2018 NBA MVP James Harden is one of the most unique talents the league has ever seen. His insane footwork combined with his lockdown shooting and his innate ability to get to the rim has earned him a spot as the league’s best scorers in a number of seasons. But, he also has these embarrassing plays in his arsenal. One of the craziest flops in Harden’s career was when he decided to go on a piggyback ride on former Chicago Bulls guard Michael Carter-Williams in OT. And, because he’s James Harden, he obviously got the call.
1. Marcus Smart (April 2016)
If we will be crowning the king of flops in the 21st century then Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart should definitely be a favorite in that conversation. The Texas-native has been an infamous flopper time as an enforcer for the Celtics’ frontcourt. He’s been known to get into the head of his opponents and try to make the most out of the slightest of touches from his offensive counterparts. Unfortunately for Smart, not every call he sells is bought by the officials.
In a crucial stretch of the 2016 playoffs against the Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks, Smart unveiled one of the most shameful dives in his career. He was going for a long rebound and a harmless tap from Kyle Korver took Smart out of the playing court with an acrobatic, double-leg-pump dive. I mean we all know that Korver’s hands do have a few powers in them given the amount of threes he’s converted throughout his career but I honestly don’t think Kyle Korver has super strength like this.
Honorable Mention: Raja Bell
Raja Bell is also one of the best in terms of league acting is concerned so he barely makes this list as an honorable mention. Those these two plays from Bell weren’t good enough for the top 10, they’re way too good to be overlooked. Take a look at Bell’s double flops with JR Smith and Manu Ginobili.