Dick Fosbury invented flop - now he's offering advice to NBA
MAY 30, 2013 3:30p ET
Dick Fosbury has some similarities to LeBron James.
Both are Olympic gold medalists.
Both appear in television commercials.
Now, both are associated with flopping.
With the Miami Heat star having been fined $5,000 by the NBA on Thursday, Fosbury said he would love to talk to James. He figures he could make him a better flopper.
“I’m happy to give LeBron a call and see if I assist and advise him a little bit,’’ said Fosbury, who believes he could help provide “an authentic look so that the referees would believe it when they see it.’’
Fosbury won a gold medal at the 1968 Olympics in the high jump with the technique he had invented earlier in the decade that became known as the Fosbury Flop. The move of Fosbury going over the bar backward was revolutionary and is now featured in a Mazda commercial.
Fosbury, now a track coach who lives in Sun Valley, Idaho, is called by some “Mr. Flop.’’ One could say he’s the most famous flopper in sports history.
But Fosbury, 66, is being challenged for that title. With the NBA having started warning and fining players this season for flopping, some big names are being associated with that.
During the regular season, All-Stars Tony Parker and Chris Paul were among those to get warnings. During the playoffs, seven players have been fined $5,000 for flopping, including three Thursday. Besides James, also disciplined were two-time All-Star David West and Lance Stephenson, whose Indiana Pacers are battling the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.
All three violations came in Tuesday’s Game 4, a 99-92 Indiana win. James and West were fined for flopping on the same play after they somewhat banged into each other in the lane.
“When two players get caught at the same time, we don’t have that event in the high jump,’’ Fosbury said in a phone interview. “With two floppers, basketball is breaking new ground.’’
As an expert in flopping, Fosbury believes he could help James and other NBA players with their form.
“If you’re going to use the flop, it’s important that you succeed and that you win,’’ said Fosbury, whose technique was first called the Fosbury Flop in his hometown Medford, Ore., newspaper when he was a high school junior in 1964. “So I'd love to give them a couple of tips on that… I’m a coach and I’ve had enough experience for 45 years now. I could definitely help them.
“I think (players having been fined) are giving it away with some of their body language, and that’s what they really need to improve to give it an authentic look… My view is that players just need to make sure that they succeed when they attempt to flop and make themselves a winner.’’
Flopping certainly made Fosbury a winner. He set a then-Olympic record in winning his gold medal in Mexico City in 1968.
His revolutionary technique has made Fosbury the most famous high jumper ever.
Mazda has made him even more well known with an ad campaign that shows old footage of Fosbury and claims the Mazda6 has been changed in a similar way in that it’s “flipping convention on its head.’’
Fosbury is a big basketball fan, having played the sport as a youngster before finding much more success in track and field. Being a native of Portland, Ore., his favorite team is the Trail Blazers.
Fosbury has never met James, who won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics and golds in 2008 and 2012 as a member of the U.S. basketball team. But he said he’s a “real fan’’ of James and it would be an “honor’’ to one day deal with him.
And provide advice on flopping.
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