Does Racism Exist On The Court?

  • Does Racism Exist On The Court?

    I realize this is a political topic. But it would be great if responses could stay directly related to college hoops and how the game is called by officials.

    I don’t lounge around thinking about racism in basketball every day. This question came to mind from another thread where the discussion moved towards Duke’s famous flop ploy. Some day, when Coach K retires and they create a statue of him to be placed in front of Cameron, I suggest they pose him laying down on his back with a theatrical look on his face, begging for a flop call from the refs. That would definitely be a piece of art properly expressing who he was in college basketball. Okay… he may be just a tad bit more than that, but who can argue there has ever been a better D1 coach who knew how to work the refs.

    GREAT DUKE FLOPPERS (by rank):

    1. Tyler Hansbrough (played like a Dukey but was at UNC) - Easily the #1 flopper Duke has ever had. His specialty was throwing his body backwards as he shifted his body into a driving ball-handler at the last possible second. Another thing Tyler liked to pull was to flop on his own drives. When he was in a situation where he was charging into a defensive player, he would often try to dramatize the impact, sometimes even trying to flop backwards, in hopes of not picking up a charge but going to the FT line instead. Here was a player who literally was led by his nose. Did he suffer from injuries? Yes, but because of his own rugged style of play. If you consider the impact of him getting those calls, it ended up being a double-whammy on opposing teams.


    1. Shane Battier - He’s the guy that got all this rolling. His play at Duke was, shall we say, controversial most of the time he was on the court.

    2. JJ Redick - Probably the best technician at drawing offensive fouls. If he could have learned the theatrics that some of these other players on this list had mastered, he would have become the #1 flopper of all times.

    3. Greg Paulus - Definitely the most outlandish flopper in the bunch. Don’t take my word for it, watch the clip below.

    1. Christian Laettner - No… we didn’t forget Christian. He loved to flop on the high ball screens he would set, with his arms crossed and extended away from his body at his elbows, he looked like a football offensive lineman blocking the pass rush.

    2. Grayson Allen - The “newcomer” to flopping greatness. A player well known for dirty play, including cheapshotting and tripping opposing players behind officials’ backs. He will definitely become a coach someday because he knows how to work the refs during the game to get calls later.

    *I should put a Plumlee on this list… but I’m tired of typing Duke players.

    This list of players would fit appropriately at the top of a list of all college basketball floppers, with just a few exceptions added in. Duke’s reputation for flopping put them at the top of the list by Sports Illustrated -

    2000s: Top 10 Flops

    Do you really think Coach K could use such a dirty successful tactic if his teams were predominantly black?

    Marcus Smart is at the top of the list for flopping among black players, and deserves to be somewhere at the top of all players ever to play in college.

    But with the college game becoming 64% black by 2013, it seems that black players are completely under-represented in the college basketball flopping world. Why is that? Could it be that there exists a subtle racism with officials to “trust” white players more than black players? Marcus Smart was a distorted enigma when in college. Some of his flops were so ridiculous one could only laugh at his antics. But if he was white, would he have been discounted so highly for his theatrical performances?

    This topic glares bright in my mind that there could be favoritism by officials as pertaining to the color of players’ skin. However, I have a counter thought to all of this, and it leads me back to my roots on the playground.

    (even Calipari addressed Dukes overplay of the flop. We all know there is very little Calipari wouldn’t do in order to win. So why doesn’t he employ the flop? Could it be because most of his players are black?)

    Could black players be under-represented in the flopping world because of cultural differences? I played for 10-15 years on an inner-city playground, dominated by black players. In the entire period, I NEVER saw a player flop. Granted, we didn’t have officials, we had to call out our own fouls and you had to get mugged in order to remain respected for calling a foul. You were basically considered a “snitch” for calling anything where blood wasn’t involved in the end result.

    Playground ball is all about the reputation you carried. That reputation was always built around masculinity. Flopping was considered to be feminine in nature. So could that cultural background carry forward to the hardwood of college basketball? Yes and No!

    First, the “no.” I don’t believe there are many college players today that received their basketball knowledge on the playground.

    And the “yes.” Even though modern players don’t have the playground experience to draw from, that doesn’t mean they still don’t have cultural pressures to always appear masculine. I know for a fact, that many players would never take a flop, regardless of what is at stake, and of these players, black players are fairly represented in numbers equal to their numbers as a whole playing basketball.

    Should Kansas players play with more theatrics? I think in some cases, yes. But that should be used sparingly or it will backfire just as it did for Marcus Smart. We really need to play with more theatrics when playing teams like Duke. We need to try to even the playing field just a bit. If everything was equal on the court, we would smash Duke EVERY SINGLE GAME, I don’t care how many McDs AAs they have.

    I look at a player like Frank. The flopping issue has been addressed at Kansas a couple of years ago. Frank did add in just a touch of theatrics… he began using a “head flop” which is nothing more than Frank jerking his head backwards. I do believe in some cases it helped him get a few more calls. I don’t think Frank wants to go much deeper in theatrics because I do think he feels it attacks his masculinity. Something of which Frank has no lack of!

  • @drgnslayr

    I think flopping has more to do with individual players and coaches than race or culture.

    For example, growing up in the inner city myself, I played for coaches that would not tolerate flopping, so I never flopped because my youth coaches wouldn’t stand for it. You went for the block or the steal, or stood in and took the hit in the chest. You didn’t bail out or flop. If you didn’t have the guts to stand in, there was a seat on the bench just for you.

    Look at a guy like Lagerald Vick. He’s not going to flop because he’s a good defender, and flopping takes him out of the play if there’s no call. That’s what’s frustrating about watching a guy like Marcus Smart, or Shane Battier when he was at Duke. Both of those guys were legitimately good defenders. There’s no reason for them to be flopping! It actually hurts their teams’ for them to flop.

    A guy like Laettner (average defender) or Greg Paulus (below average defender), it’s not as big a deal to flop because they aren’t high level defensive players.

    Poor defenders flop. Lazy defenders flop. Good defenders don’t flop because they are in position to make a defensive play. Marcus Smart has not realized his defensive potential because he flops too much.

    Some coaches teach flopping to make up for a lack of athleticism, size or quickness. I have seen this at the high school level. I even saw it change the tone of a couple of state playoff games. But in truth, teaching that hurts players as they advance to the next level. While you may fool a HS ref, that same flop is ignored at the collegiate level. The flop that works in college is ignored in the pros.

    Even now we are seeing the NBA officials ignore more and more flops, which is going to really affect guys coming from programs that do flop a lot.

    I don’t think KU should start flopping. It doesn’t help anything.

  • @justanotherfan

    I agree with you. BTW, the NBA now reviews flops and player get fined for obvious flops; it has cut down flopping quite a bit.

  • @justanotherfan You hit the nail on the head again friend.

  • @drgnslayr Hansbrough was UNC not Dook. He Niang traveled every time they touch the ball as well.

  • Are we only talking about Duke, which by the way is a dogs name? Marcus smart is number 1 w/me! But I hate all Duke players.

  • @kjayhawks

    Yikes… I just had him stuck in my head, and he played like a Dukey to me! Thanks! I will at least go back and reference that above.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 oh he was terrible too

  • @drgnslayr I always do that too!

  • Dukes newest flopping star… drum roll pleassse…

    Chase Jeter. At dang near 7 feet tall this guy spends more time on the ground crying for calls then any player I can remember in years.

    Get rid of him, your what’s wrong with the game

  • @drgnslayr

    By the way, enjoyed the read. Very well thought through

  • @BeddieKU23

    I know the subject matter on this was a combination about racism and flopping. I don’t know that there is a relationship and I’m not just out to play the race card.

    But in my thoughts, it seems that there is more white players flopping than black players. I hadn’t ever thought about that before until yesterday. I know the first thing some people will point to is racism. And though I am of color, I’m not one of those people that always look to play the race card. In my heart, I don’t feel like racism is a part or much or a part of the game. I can’t really say I experienced racism directly in the game and when I played in the Midwest USA, we played in a lot of small towns. A lot of small town refs. I do think there was favoritism regarding home officiating, but not relating to race.

    I mention it here because some will think it right away. I believe there are other reasons, as I mentioned above. There are many cultural differences on a level where we can carefully generalize and state it as just a generalization.

    Just watched this documentary on Paul Pierce. I think it is a good reference for how things are different. Paul grew up in Oakland, played in Inglewood inner city leagues, and he brought his cultural differences all the way to Boston… it almost cost him his life being stabbed 8 times in a club.

  • @drgnslayr

    I’m also unsure there is a direct connection but its fun anyway to pick on Duke. I have tremendous respect for the university and its coach but its players- man they make it hard don’t they?

    I do think flopping is taught, I believe Coach K teaches it. He’s not a defensive wizard like Bill Self, he’s an offensive mind first that can mold top players together to win consistently. So he cuts corners in other area’s like taking advantage of rules or his consistent whining in ref’s faces to get what he wants. I find it hard to believe ref’s are not intimidated by the his “stardom”, ref’s are human and as much as they all want to sound in-partial to the situation outside of calling the game, we all know that is impossible to do.

    Coach K has influence, he influences his players to play a certain way- like flopping instead of defending. Even if we change word flopping to “trying to take a charge” I still think its poor defense. It’s covering up a breakdown, and ref’s are bailing out bad defense at what seems to be a historic rate this year.

  • @BeddieKU23

    Yeah… I was super pissed off two years ago when Duke won the NC, which was largely due to the refs changing how they called the game in the second half. He had manipulated them over halftime. Whether we like that or not, it is a part of coaching… working the refs. He is one of the best, and I’m sure a lot of that has to do with his stardom.

    Had the game been called in the second half like it was in the first half, Wisconsin would have taken the championship.

    Flopping is the best term for taking those charges… but there is other uses for theatrics… like at the 4-minute mark of the following video. This was the real turning point in our loss to Villanova. All Devonte had to do was grab his head in pain… theatrics to get the call. You know many refs would bite the bait and call it the other way.

    Theatrics matter. I believe it quite easily might have cost us a NC last year.

  • @drgnslayr

    Wow I never thought that but thanks for mentioning it. And the type of coach that Bill is, hard to see his players becoming “theater majors” all of sudden to get calls, Self expects his players to play and win the right way, except the “theatrics” way sometimes can benefit you more than in the long run… The Nova game is still a tough pill to swallow 9 months later. That foul on Devonte, could make any KU fan throw their TV out the window!

  • @BeddieKU23 My TV is safe from that call, or the others, too.

    It was endangered by Perry being a complete nonfactor and by all the missed 3 ptrs. Far outnumbered any problems caused by refs. A good team should never play so poorly as to leave it in the hands of the refs.

  • DG does a lil throwing himself around, just a smidge!

  • @BeddieKU23

    “Self expects his players to play and win the right way…”

    Today, I don’t have a problem with players trying to sway a call. The game mimics a bit of general life… and persuading people is a part of life.

    Devonte didn’t deserve that call. He had every right to go for that ball. He was punished for hustling after a loose ball. This was a definite “NO CALL” back a few years ago (as it should have been called). Especially when you consider that a call can sway the outcome of a game leading to crowning a NC.

    The “right way” for this call was a no call. And if there had to be a call, it should have gone our way. Something that could have been impacted with a little theatrics.

    Look… all we want is a game to be fair in both directions. We often go against teams that use plenty of theatrics. All we need is enough theatrics to even out the game. That is the “right way” in today’s game… to at least get a game where the calls go both ways, about equal.

  • I remember the time our inner city, 9th ward New Orleans high school went out to the burbs to play 20,000 a year tuition Country Day and led by 10 at the half, this against a team that would finish 2nd in the state. 2 minutes into the 2nd half and Country Day was shooting 1 and 1’s. It’d taken all of 2 minutes for the officials to put them in the bonus. That was racism on the court.

    Another time, playing a team we’d waxed in a tournament by 20, playing at their gym, with their 15,000 a year tuition paying parents on hand, and one of our guys got T-d up. The ref told our coach that our kid gave him a look so he T-d him up. That and about 10 other calls made sure the rich kids won. That was racism on the court.

    That same school a ‘Christian school’ hosted us in football a year later. It hadn’t rained in a month, but that Friday night our team on the sideline and coaches of course had to stand in 2 inches of mud because the Christian school had made sure to overwater the grass just on our sideline. That was racism on the field. We overcame and beat them anyways.

    Unfortunately it exists in all kinds of ways. @drgnslayr you opened up an old wound with your Duke Badgers reference. Well for 10-15 years now I’ve been hearing how incredible it is what UW has done because they’re not athletic. It’s kind of code language for there’s too many white kids on the team to be very good. A team of non-athletic kids beats 38-0 Kentucky without athletic kids? Preposterous!

    Still waiting for the day when we’re judged on the content of our character and not the color of our skin.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 said:

    But I hate all Duke players.

    Hate is such a strong word. How about “virulently dislike”?

  • @BeddieKU23 Its a terrible call to me to because DG himself was fouled to create the loose ball, guy reached clear across his body and made contact with his arm. After all the cheap whistles we see every year these days it was very very maddening. That being said we couldn’t hit from the outside in that game Mason and Selden were I believe 1/11 from deep with several wide open shots, and Perry was shut down completely. When we got up by 6 or 7 about midway thru the second half we let them have several offensive rebounds which gave the lead back. I disagree with officiating as much as the next guy but thats what I dislike about KSU fans, they always blame the refs even no matter what, they would blame them if the Chiefs came to Manhattan and whipped their tails.

  • @tis4tim I do try hard not to say that word in my real life! Having a hard time not thinking that word today!

  • @tis4tim said:

    @Crimsonorblue22 said:

    But I hate all Duke players.

    Hate is such a strong word. How about “virulently dislike”?

    In the interests of the science of Linguistics, I could try that and see how it sounds:
    “I hate all those virulently disliked Duke players.”

    Don’t know about @Crimsonorblue22 but it works for me.

  • IMHO, there is little if any racism in major college or pro sports when it comes to refereeing. Most of the bias we see in refereeing is based on the program/coach and the reputation of the player. More specifically. we all know that refs do give the benefit of the doubt to superstars and players ,such as Jordan and LeBron, got/get away with heck of a lot more than the average player. Same thing in major college basketball where the calls seem to be more program/coach related; we all know how coach rat face works the officials and gets the favorable favorable calls regardless of race. Wisconsin is a good example; it s the only major college basketball team I can think of that at times plays 5 white players, I cannot think of another major program other than the Ivy League and other minor leagues with a similar make up. If racism would exist in refereeing, then Wisconsin would have not gotten the shaft by the refs in the title game against Duke, a team with considerably more black players.

    If you take any program in isolation, such as Duke, I am sure you can get some hints, but when you look at the sport as whole, it is hard to tell there is racism, considering the all the major programs in the major sports (football and basketball) have a large component of minorities and there is way too much scrutiny and exposure for it to happen.

  • @mayjay

    I agree we played poorly but it was a fight. Some of it was due to Villanova making us play poorly. Some of it was just individual no-shows.

    I liken Perry’s play and Selden’s terrible outside shooting to a slow death.

    While the play with Devonte being the final dagger in the heart.

    That’s the problem for me, at least, the play with Devonte sticks with me more than what Perry didn’t do and watching Selden’s trey ball’s miss the rim on more than 1 occassion.

    At a key moment where KU still had a chance to win, our best player in that particular game was taken away by human error. Sigh… Anyway’s there’s always this year!

  • @drgnslayr I see a lot of flopping in the NBA. Playing blacktop streetball, why would anybody flop, since hitting the deck in ANY manner is going to cause scrapes and pain. Plus the manhood thing–a defensive glide with a knee can do a lot more to disrupt the endless dribbledrives than trying to flop. How would flopping send any kind of message?

    Flopping is only designed for the refs. Period. Trying to gain an angle by manipulating the refs.

    Got to love Kevin Young’s giving Marcus Smart a flop-that-hurt.

    Didnt Wayne Selden try to flop, almost routinely? Plus, Marcus Smart has a screw loose anyway, why would dear Wayne learn that from Marcus Smart?

    Listen, when it comes right down to mano-a-mano (on-ball D), @justanotherfan had a phrase above that resonates with me: “guts to stand in. You dont bail out or flop”. Does anybody see any flopping in pickup ball either? And what would that say about the dude? Some likes driving hard with contact, usually what puts an end to any such endeavor is to make such an endeavor an ‘expensive’ undertaking…which means repetetive physicality. (I mean, defensive gliding a penetrator right out of bounds, even with your hands straight up, lots of contact, obvious foul, but not malicious. Tripping, as you swivel your defensive hips, feet can often get tangled, speeding penetrator falls, but everyone sees feet tangled inadvertently. But never grab jersey. Thats a sure sign of surrender, like u got nuthin else. D is about footwork and anticipation. And occasionally ‘setting the tone’ with physicality, sometimes even using a foul to make the statement. Extending a hand to help up the downed opponent is particularly effective conditioning, since now that whole physicality is isolated to the offensive players own action and what the D did, but ‘nothing personal’. It really makes them think twice about trying to penetrate past you, cuz it aint happenin’.

    Saddens me to report, but Ive seen LBJ try to flop on occasion…

    Never see guys like DWade or MJ flop. Didnt see Thomas Robinson flop.

    @drgnslayr --Sorry to ramble, but to me it doesnt seem like its a racial thing. I think its more about the defensive player’s own mental philosophy, white or black, doesnt matter. You can SEE the defender flop or try to draw the call from the ref. Marcus Smart is the most infamous college example. But most people saw he had a screw loose, so why emulate that, if you are a young black basketball player. And if such a kid played a lot of playground ball, flopping wouldnt be in their armamentarium, would it?

  • @drgnslayr I thought the biggest factors in the Nova loss were the 2 handoff turnovers at the top of the key, that went for 2 precious fast break buckets for Nova–in a 2 possession game! And the 2 quick charge calls on Ellis sent him, out of all games in the season–>back into his frosh/soph shell–> that paid dividends for Nova all game long. Perry never attempted a 3 even.

    Other factors were Mason and Selden cold from 3 in the same game, when does that happen in the same game, but they both found other ways to score. The 2 of them had half our points, and Devonte had 4 3s himself, I believe. Landon did his role, cant ask more (just like Jeff Graves vs Syracuse, cant ask more). Everybody’s gotta show up, man.

  • @mayjay Nail on the head. Said it better than I did.

  • Nice to see Grayson Allen a NON-factor in the Duke loss to KU. We. Handled. Him. And his coach.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 said:

    @tis4tim I do try hard not to say that word in my real life! Having a hard time not thinking that word today!

    Im with you! Im probably the biggest Duke … um … disliker on this board. They are my least favorite team by far … even moreso than Mizzou. BTW, saw your pic from the upgraded seats you scored for today’s game. Sweet! Hope you had a blast!

  • @tis4tim a whole new game there! If haase had these refs there would be no floor burns book. They were awful!

  • @drgnslayr

    Good, thoughtful post. Here’s my experience.

    It has always appeared to me that more flopping episodes involved blacks flopping and I always assumed it was because they comprised such a large percentage of the players, especially the lane drivers…

    Of the only two guys I ever recall having perseverated on about flopping, one was PG Smart at OSU and one was that buzz cut little PG at Ohio State about the same years as Smart. One was black and one was white and I recall them only because they both appeared to be unusually annoying on the floor.

    I didn’t recall any of the other guys you listed as floppers. Not saying they weren’t but they didn’t stick in my mind. I just don’t think about it much, black or white.

    I know I learned sharpening my finger nails for scratching, sucker punching when the numbers were on my side, and stiff screening (what we called nutting) from the black guys I played with on the playground. But I was kind of proud of learning those things.

    Flopping is something my high school coach taught me and my teammates to do if the refs were calling in the other team’s favor. It was supposed to shake the refs out of their comfort zones and give our coach something to bait with. Even if the ref thought we might be faking, when the coach jumped up outraged about us getting hammered it got you a favorable whistle the next trip.

    It never seemed a racial thing to me. The two blacks on my high school teams flopped like the Whites when instructed and did it about as successfully.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 said:

    @tis4tim a whole new game there! If haase had these refs there would be no floor burns book. They were awful!

    I didnt get to see the game but listened to parts on the radio while the fam and I drove around shopping. Sounds like that stanford player Reid or whatever his name is got a foul everytime down the court - at least while I was tuned in. Also seems like Haase has instilled some scrappiness in that team already.

  • @wissox

    I’m sorry for opening that wound. Yeah… it hasn’t healed up in me, either. I’m sure I’m not the level of Wisconsin fan you are, but I sure have been a fan for quite a while.

    It should have been that storybook ending… robbed by a rat face who wanted one more trophy for his cabinet.

  • @drgnslayr I have tried to remind myself that some of those boys for Duke played really well that day and Dekker laid an egg and that we might have won if we’d done a better job defending, but the calls, ugh, the calls!

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