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Ben Wallace and the art of the well-timed flop

Beckley Mason of TrueHoop looks at some of the NBA’s most distinguished floppers today. Here’s what I contributed about Ben Wallace and his beautiful sell-jobs to draw loose ball fouls:

Ben Wallace, C: Writes Patrick Hayes of Piston Powered: “Wallace is adept at going for rebounds in heavy traffic, but he also uses that traffic to his advantage. If a shot is missed and he doesn’t have a great angle to get to it, he’s patented a move where he jumps forward and lurches his body while simultaneously letting out a loud “OOOPH,” which over the years has pretty regularly convinced officials he was pushed in the back. Often, video evidence suggests otherwise. Wallace’s artful flopping on rebound attempts has been just another valuable skill he’s brought to the Pistons that doesn’t show up in his stats. Oh, and don’t ever mention to him that he flops … he doesn’t like that.”

Make no mistake … I consider this 100 percent complimentary. I have a few friends who annoyingly don’t like the NBA as much as they like college basketball. When I press them on that, they invariably mention something about ‘flops’ being a part of the game they don’t like. I am a huge fan of a good flop though (this Manu Ginobili-Raja Bell simul-flop is one of the best sports highlights ever). If you are smart enough and savvy enough to be able to create cheap contact and sell officials on the fact that you’ve just been mugged, more power to you. That’s what I’ve always admired about Wallace when he does it — he’s a graceful, mountain of a man, but the hint of contact with an official in sight sends him tumbling. Love that.


  • Mar 20, 20124:16 pm
    by Sean Corp


    The move you write about is one of my favorite things about Ben Wallace. I always take a moment to chuckle when he swindles the refs into calling a foul just because a rebound took an unfortunate bounce. Love it.

    • Mar 20, 20124:22 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Oh, it’s awesome. I can’t even do it justice trying to describe it. I even forgot to mention him quickly spinning, raising his arms and giving the ref a death stare in order to further sell that call.

  • Mar 20, 20125:03 pm
    by Mel Crosby


    Hey Pat, that interview with Stan and Ben Is classic, I had to play that a couple of times. That just made my day, FUUUUNNNNNNY!

    • Mar 20, 20127:47 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Oddly, this and one of my other favorite Ben interview clips both came from when he was in Cleveland. The other was when someone asked him about Kevin Garnett’s whole fake tough guy thing/only picking on smaller/weaker players and Ben just said, “All I know is KG don’t say nothin to me.”

  • Mar 20, 20125:15 pm
    by gmehl


    I got no problem with they way Ben draws his fouls because he always has a better position than the guy that makes contact with him. Its not like he does it all the time or every second or third play. He is very smart…Dennis Rodman smart!

  • Mar 20, 20126:49 pm
    by Chris H


    I love the simul-flop.  Seriously the ref must have blown the whistle in sheer amazement.

    • Mar 20, 20127:46 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Might be my favorite NBA play of all-time. Love how confused the ref looked … he finally blew his whistle, but it was a good two or three seconds before he even knew what he should call there.

  • Mar 20, 20129:55 pm
    by andyf


    I dont get it.   I’ve always admired Ben Wallace, but it seems strange to admire his ability to flop.   Sheed always sneered on floppers “all them cats are floppin”…and piston fans regularly spoke with derision with varejao’s flopping when we faced the cavs.  Dont see how it can go both ways

    • Mar 20, 20129:58 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      I think every savvy, smart player flops and at the same time ridicules others for flopping.

      Both Wallaces were great at throwing their body around to get calls on defense and Billups has always been a master at selling contact that may or may not have been there on offense.

      It’s a skill, not necessarily one that anyone wants to fess up to having, but a skill nonetheless.

  • Mar 20, 201210:30 pm
    by John


    The fact that you love flops shows that you are a moron. It is what is in part wrong with the NBA, along with entitled athletes, no hard salary cap, inmates running the asylum, an assinine commissioner, a system that rewards star players, and the list goes on.  So stupid.

    • Mar 20, 201210:37 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Says the guy who is reading and commenting on a NBA site.

    • Mar 20, 201211:18 pm
      by gmehl


      What you are missing is the way Ben Wallace does it and most others do. Ben when he takes a charge sells it when there is a fair amount of contact there. Its not like he does it when a 5’11 point guard runs into him. If you are in position and a guy makes contact with you then i think you are well within your own rights as a defender to a certain degree to accentuate it so the referees see it. I am not saying do a Varejao type flop and moan but rather get in position and let the guy make contact.

  • Mar 21, 201210:45 am
    by swish22


    It seems like it’s usually the better defenders that are the best defensive floppers.  They are determined to get stops!!   Doesn’t matter how.  Defense wins championships!  Frank still plays Ben because he knows what to expect.  110% commitment to the team concept! 

    Back to Macklin,   Seems like  listening to his interviews he is headed in the right direction because of influences like Ben Wallace.  Ben should be kept as an assistant in the Pistons organization.  

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