Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is taking on flopping, and one of his companies is putting up more than $100,000 to study the problem.
Researchers at Southern Methodist University say that Radical Hoops Ltd., a Cuban-owned company, has awarded a grant to fund an 18-month "scientific study of the unsavory practice of player flopping in basketball and other sports."
"The issues of collisional forces, balance and control in these types of athletic settings are largely uninvestigated," said SMU biomechanics expert Peter G. Weyand, who leads the research team. "There has been a lot of research into balance and falls in the elderly, but relatively little on active adults and athletes."
Researchers will investigate the forces involved in typical basketball collisions and look at how much force is required to cause a legitimate loss of balance, among other flopping-related matters.
Cuban told the Wall Street Journal he was curious about the physics of flopping how and why a 250-pound player, for example, crashes when he runs into someone under 200 pounds.
"If you look at a high-contact sport like football, you see few pancakes, where guys end up on their behinds," Cuban told the Journal in an email. "Yet in our sport, guys end up on their backsides all the time."
Cuban also told the Journal his motivation for the project was twofold:
• Cuban said the NBA can benefit from "a template that defines some basic guidelines on what levels of force, speed and size" contribute to genuine falls. The goal is to "take out guessing and reduce the amount of judgment involved."
• And, perhaps, more importantly to the outspoken owner: "If we get great data we can learn from, it will save me a ton of money in fines," he wrote with a smiley face.