LeBron James shows the NBA at its best and worst

By Grant Bosse on June 11, 2013
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This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series Flopping in the Finals

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During the Bruins second-round series with the Rangers, forward Derrick Brassard tried to make Marchand pay for his antics, dropping the gloves on the ice, and calling him out after the game for fighting.

“Sometimes he doesn’t show any respect for his opponents,” Brassard told the New York Post heading into Game 5. “He’s been asking everybody on our team to fight all series, so I thought it was time to take him up on it, but then I guess he didn’t have any interest.”

A league full of players who take pride in policing themselves aren’t cracking down on these borderline tactics. Marchand is thriving, despite occasional suspensions. Lewis’s Kings won the Cup last year, and made it to the Western Conference Finals this season. Subban will reportedly win the Norris Trophy, given annually to the league’s top defenseman.

Hockey players want to win as much as basketball players. Flopping, cheap shots, and violations of hockey’s unwritten honor code can help.

In James’ words, “Any way you can get an advantage over the opponent to help your team win, so be it.”

But players like Doan worry that winning by flopping will leave the NHL unable to defend its reputation as a place where injuries are ignored, not embellished.

“In this sport, you hear the legendary stories of guys who came off the ice cut up and bleeding all over the place,” Doan told Bickley. “They get up and they keep going. They keep playing. It’s Bobby Clarke missing teeth. That’s hockey.”

This year, hockey is Gregory Campbell’s broken leg. But it’s also Brad Marchand sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong. Basketball is both LeBron James blocking a shot and LeBron James flopping to the floor.

Grant Bosse is Editor of New Hampshire Watchdog, an independent news site dedicated to New Hampshire public policy. He is a Senior Fellow at the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy.

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