Even though he wasn’t assessed a warning or fine this entire season, Blake Griffin has a bit of a reputation as a flopper. And by “a bit of,” I mean there are more than 235,000 Google search results for “blake griffin flopper” and the Grizzlies crowd chanted “FLOP-PER! FLOP-PER!” at him last week. There was even a rap song made about it that went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
But as Blizzy Blake tells us, it’s only because of technology that anyone thinks he’s actually flopping in the first place, and sometimes, things aren’t what they seem. Dun dun! From ESPN:
When people say he flopped on a play, he’ll watch the video on YouTube to see why they might’ve thought that.
“There’s times that I have [flopped],” he says. “But I definitely wouldn’t consider myself a flopper.”
OK, so why do people think that?
“Honestly, I think it’s slow motion,” he explains. “Everything either looks better or worse in slow motion. A cool play looks really cool. But then, when somebody takes a hit, it might not be that hard, but your reaction is going to be to whip your head back because you don’t want to get hit.
“My reaction is always to move away. So then when it’s slowed down, and you see somebody didn’t get hit that hard, but you like jerked your head back. I’m telling you, that’s what I think. Slow motion and instant replays are what do it.” [...]
“I saw the thing that [ESPN commentator] Skip Bayless said after the Serge Ibaka hit,” Griffin says, referring to the play on which Ibaka received a flagrant foul for swinging his arm wildly and hitting Griffin in the groin.
“He was like, ‘He didn’t hit Blake Griffin below the belt. He’s just a flopper.’
“It was baffling to me that somebody could watch that — maybe it’s different for me because I felt it — but it was baffling to me that somebody could watch that and think that I flopped that.”
This is exactly what Frank “Cannonball” Richards tells people who think he flinched before that famous cannonball to the gut footage — it only looks like that because you slowed it down. In real speed, Richards and Griffin are both really taking those shots and sometimes your body just involuntarily moves when it’s about to get crushed. Or whatever.
And yeah, I guess all of this makes sense logically. Most people move somehow when they’re about to get hit, slow motion footage exaggerates everything, cool plays do look really cool, Skip Bayless often says things that don’t make any sense — Blake Griffin is spot-on with all of this. If you filmed this paragraph with Phantom cameras and slowed it down to an absurd rate, it would like I had misspelled everything and that it’s taking me forever to get to the point. That’s what slow motion does.
Another thing slow motion does is give you a chance to look at every little aspect of a play, like when Blake Griffin hit himself in the face and thought a foul should be called. Or like a bunch of other Blake Griffin flops, which he kind of admits to because he knows people like me are just going to dig out the videos if he says he never flops. There are a lot of those, and sometimes you just have to look at the preponderance of evidence (I accidentally watch a lot of “Law & Order: SVU,” no big d) and maybe disagree with the guy who says it looks like a flop because of technology while also saying that he definitely jerks his head back in preparation for being hit. The slow motion might exacerbate things and make some flops look worse and some borderline-non-flops look like definitely-flops, but when you’re parsing out reasons for why all these plays you are making look like the plays you say you aren’t making, well maybe you are making those plays quite a bit. I’m sure you catch my drift play-wise.
But who knows? I’m sure Blake Griffin legitimately gets knocked down a significant portion of the times he falls down, just like I’m sure that a significant portion of the plays Twitter says are flops are probably flops. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive. However, I would very much like an explanation for those faces he makes. I’ll be waiting.