In honor of yesterday's Academy Awards, Patrick Hruby of ESPN Page 2 profiled some of the Association's greatest actors in "The Art of the Flop." As you can imagine, the original Bad Boy--Bill Laimbeer--was featured prominently in this piece. Hruby describes the best of all-time this way:
The Godfather. A master at appearing hurt … then sprinting back down the floor (the picture of perfect health).
There is also this recent amusing Laimbeer story:
Two years ago -- a decade after his retirement -- Laimbeer sounded a similar note. Informed that both Wilkins and Patrick Ewing described him as diving's Dark Prince, the former Bad Boy wrinkled his brow, lifted an eyebrow and assumed the puzzled, who-me? countenance of an Iranian nuclear scientist.
"I disagree," he said. "No comment. Why are you coming at me?"
Now I recently purchased a Laimbeer throwback jersey (which I'll unleash on unsuspecting Wizards fans this Saturday), and that should tell you how high I hold Laimbeer amongst the Piston greats. (His is the only name other than my own that I'd walk around with on my back.) But even I had to step back and consider my own hypocrisy, revering a flop-artist like Laimbeer while railing against the likes of Balki Ginobili and Reggie Miller.
What it comes down to is this: flopping is synonymous with the determined, hard-working, pain-in-the-ass players of this league. Of the guys that are accused most often in today's game (Ginobili, Tony Pizzle, Shane Battier...even Rip Hamilton), none are the type to take a play off. And all are loathed by their most heated rivals. A guy like that on your team is invaluable, but on the opponents squad he is a cheater and can incite a rage in even the most passive of people.
So I ask you, who do you think the worst? Ginobili? Richard Jefferson? AI?
Let us know in the comments, and we'll see if our responses track with Page 2's poll.
The Art of the Flop [ESPN]