Los Angeles Lakers teammates LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma have received warnings for violating the NBA’s anti-flopping rule in the 115-105 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.
For both players, this is the first warning of the season meaning it will not result in a fine or suspension. However, further offenses will come with a fine starting at $5,000 and a possible suspension for a sixth or any subsequent violation.
The NBA determined James flopped late in the first half when the 36-year-old was jostling with Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks to get into rebounding position following a 3-point attempt by Anthony Davis.
As the ball bounced off the rim and eventually fell into Grayson Allen’s hands, Brooks flung his arm. James tumbled to the floor while throwing his hands up in the air, appearing to suggest Brooks shoved him forcefully.
Kuzma received the violation for a defensive play in the middle of the fourth quarter. Brooks dribbled at the 25-year-old forward and pivoted after a slight bump to create space for a midrange jump shot. As the contact between the two players occurred, Brooks also appeared to have pushed Kuzma away.
The Lakers forward theatrically fell to the ground while performing a clumsy pirouette.
The NBA introduced the anti-flopping rule at the start of the 2012-13 season in an attempt to curb the efforts aimed to fool referees into calling undeserved fouls.
The determination of whether a player violated the rule is made by the league following a video review of the play, not game officials at the time of the incident in question.
LeBron ‘imagining’ Lakers fans in empty Staples Center
In the eventful Friday matchup, James at one point seemed to have looked up the stands and interacted with imaginary fans despite spectators still being not allowed inside Staples Center due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) health protocols.
The four-time NBA champion then confirmed after the game he used mental tricks to set himself in the right mindset during games. “I’m definitely imaging our fans being in the building,” James said. “It’s just not the same without them. I miss our fans a lot.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!