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Business Insider covered the research of SMU biomechanics expert Peter G. Weyand, who is teaming with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to investigate the forces involved in basketball collisions and the possibility of estimating “flopping” forces from video data.
The coverage, “Mark Cuban Is Funding A Scientific Study To End Flopping In The NBA,” was posted June 7.
Flopping is a player’s deliberate act of falling, or recoiling unnecessarily from a nearby opponent, to deceive game officials. Athletes engage in dramatic flopping to create the illusion of illegal contact, hoping to bait officials into calling undeserved fouls on opponents.
The phenomenon is considered a widespread problem in professional basketball and soccer. To discourage the practice, the National Basketball Association in 2012 began a system of escalating fines against NBA players suspected of flopping, including during the playoffs, “NBA announces anti-flopping rules for playoffs.”
The Cuban-owned company Radical Hoops Ltd. awarded a grant of more than $100,000 to fund the 18-month research study at SMU.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is funding a scientific study into flopping in basketball.
The study will be conducted by biomechanics experts at Southern Methodist University, and it will look into exactly what makes a flop, a flop.
From the university website:
“The researchers will look at how much force is required to cause a legitimate loss of balance. They’ll also examine to what extent players can influence the critical level of force via balance and body control. They will also explore techniques by which the forces involved in collisions might be estimated from video or other motion capture techniques.”
Flopping has become an unseemly part of the NBA game.
The league started fining and publicly shaming floppers this season, but it hasn’t stopped some high-profile flopping incidents in the playoffs.
Right now, determining whether some is or isn’t a flop is largely subjective. It sounds like Cuban and SMU are trying to define the bounds of flopping with science.
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By Margaret Allen
Senior research writer, SMU Public AffairsView Archive →