Metta World Peace uses Times reporter for flopping demonstration
Moments before Metta World Peace charged toward me, he issued a stern warning.
“Don’t flop,” the eccentric Lakers forward said. “Stand and be a man.”
World Peace had just spoken for eight minutes on a number of issues surrounding the NBA’s announcement that it will fine players for repeated flopping. He bemoaned the league’s policy but also admitted frustration with repeat floppers. He argued referees should simply stop granting charges so liberally.
“If I ran into you right now with full force, you’d probably move back a little bit first,” World Peace said to me. “You’re not even an NBA basketball player.”
Then a reporter suggested that World Peace use me as an example to help bolster his argument that even non-NBA players can absorb normal contact. World Peace embraced the idea and handed my camera to Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick to film.
Seconds later, World Peace rushed toward me. I listened to him and refused to back down even if his 6-7, 255-pound frame would bulldoze me. World Peace drove hard enough to push me back a few steps, but I still maintained my balance.
“Did you see that?” World Peace said to the handful of media members laughing at the scene. “He’s a reporter!”
With renewed confidence that World Peace woudn’t physically destroy me in the same way he did last season to Oklahoma City’s James Harden, I openly expressed interest in performing the drill again. World Peace again charged toward me. I backed a few more feet, but I still stood up.
“He’s a reporter!” World Peace said again in excitement. “Are you kidding me?! “I’ll see you guys later.”
With that, World Peace provided a great example on how many NBA players could avoid the $5,000 fines after each warning and a one-game suspension for the sixth offense.
“You can’t just take somebody’s money for adjusting to how the [NBA] adjusted the rules,” World Peace said. “I don’t really care, to tell you the truth. It has nothing to do with me. I don’t flop. I don’t really care. But for players who do flop, I feel badly if they get fined.”
But World Peace’s demonstration also showed why fines might not be necessary if officials simply enforced the rules.
“If the guy falls, you lay the ball up,” World Peace said. “It’s that simple. There is no call. Get out of here and get up. When guys flop, you have to adjust. Sometimes you do. But the refs should make that call.”
Luckily for my sake, I came out of the demonstration still in one piece.
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