By Ben Golliver
January 27, 2014

The NBA issued Hawks guard Shelvin Mack a warning for flopping on Monday, but reversed its decision on Tuesday.

Mack's flop occurred early during Atlanta's 112-87 road win over Milwaukee on Jan. 25. With a little more than six minutes remaining in the first quarter and the Bucks leading 11-10, Mack played defense against Brandon Knight off the ball.As Knight cut through the paint, he extended his left arm towards Mack in an attempt to clear some space before darting back out towards the three-point line. Mack allowed his body to collapse quickly to the court upon the contact, and he fell backwards into the paint.

Replays indicated that Knight delivered only minor contact to Mack's chest, and that Mack's reaction was inconsistent with the brush from Knight. No foul was called on the play and the action continued.

On Tuesday, the league decided to retract the warning. Mack told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he fell to the ground because Knight stepped on his foot. This is the first time the NBA has retracted a flopping warning.

This type of flop was specifically brought up in the NBA’s official video introducing its flopping policy. In the video, Clippers guard Chris Paul was defending a drive before he fell backwards dramatically to the ground as if he had been struck by an elbow.

“As the highlighted defensive player, No. 3 in the red uniform, defends the driving offensive player, he feels slight contact and then launches himself back to the floor,” the video’s narrator explained. “This reaction by the defensive player is an over-embellishment of marginal contact and is intended to draw an unearned offensive foul on his opponent.”

The 10 most ridiculous flops of the 2012-13 season

Twenty-three players have been warned for flopping this season, joining Wizards guard John Wall, Timberwolves forwards Kevin Love and Corey Brewer, Spurs guard Patty Mills, Bucks center Zaza PachuliaHardenKnicks guard Iman Shumpert, Clippers guard Chris PaulCavaliers center Anderson VarejaoCeltics forward Jared SullingerMavericks forward Dirk NowitzkiBobcats guard Gerald HendersonWarriors forward/center Marreese Speights, Sixers guard Tony WrotenBulls forward Taj GibsonPistons guard Brandon JenningsLakers guard Jodie MeeksPacers guard Lance Stephenson, Celtics guard Jerryd BaylessRockets forward Chandler ParsonsHeat guard Mario Chalmers, Knight and Timberwolves guard Kevin Martin.

HardenBrewer and Stephenson have all been fined $5,000 for incurring second violations.

Instituted before the 2012-13 season, the NBA's anti-flopping system provides one free warning to players before they are subjected to a scaling set of monetary fines.

  • Violation 1: Warning
  • Violation 2: $5,000 fine
  • Violation 3: $10,000 fine
  • Violation 4: $15,000 fine
  • Violation 5: $30,000 fine
  • Violation 6: Subject to discipline reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension

The NBA assigned 24 flopping violations to 19 different players on 13 different teams during the 2012-13 regular season. Five players received two infractions each, earning fines totaling $25,000, with zero players getting dinged three or more times.

During the 2013 playoffs, the NBA removed the free warning and began assessing fines. Although commissioner David Stern said that the league's current policy "isn't enough" to curb the practice, the league did not adopt any changes to the policy during the offseason.

The NBA defines flopping as "any physical act that, following review, reasonably appears to be intended to cause the game officials to call a foul on another player" with the “primary factor” in determining a flop being whether “a player’s physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact.”

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