Boston Celtics

Dec 19, 2018; Boston, MA: Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart is knocked to the floor by Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr. during the second half at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

By Matt Dolloff,

Danny Ainge was a notorious flopper in his playing days, and he also yelled at the officials when flops were called as fouls against him. It’s one of the reasons so many former opponents may look back Ainge as an opponent with hilarious disgust.

But Ainge is willing to admit now that he got the majority of calls in his favor, as he said in his interview with Toucher & Rich on Thursday.

“Yeah, I was a pretty good flopper, too,” said Ainge. “I think I got the better end of that deal than guys flopping against me.”

Ainge is still not shy about his general feelings on flopping: he’s OK with it, as long as you’re responding to actual contact that your opponent made on the play. He’s OK with it to the point that he doesn’t like using the word “flop” as a pejorative against players. He gave T&R his own personal euphemism for the controversial practice that’s still quite prevalent in the NBA.

“Here’s the thing I have about flopping: I have a problem with the word ‘flopping’ in general, because I think that you’re not flopping if you actually are simply drawing attention to the contact made,” said Ainge. “[It would] be illegal contact made at most times. So if a guy bashes you with his left shoulder and you go down to the ground, that is not a ‘flop’. That’s ‘drawing attention to the play’, which you have to do. Otherwise, referees aren’t going to call it.”

Dec 12, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards forward Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) is fouled by Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) in the first quarter at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

However, reacting demonstrably to real, actual contact doesn’t necessarily describe what pisses fans off, which is straight-up pretending to get hit. Celtics guard Marcus Smart has delivered some absolute whoppers in the flopping department over his career, although he’s not as bad about it now as he used to be. He’s also had some bad flops called against him as well, which may be a product of the reputation he’s built.

The officials play a big role in the adjudicating of flopping and discerning real fouls from acting. They pay a lot of attention to their own calls and player behavior, which can play a role in why players like Smart may earn a reputation around the NBA for flopping as opposed to others.

“It’s a small world and there’s not that many referees, and they they do know guys that show them up, guys that are complaining too much, guys that they made wrong calls on because they got tricked,” said Ainge. “So, you develop a reputation as your career goes on.”

Listen below for the full interview with Ainge from Thursday. This week’s edition of “Flop Talk” starts at the 10:02 mark.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at