SMU announced today that Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban has given a $100,000 grant for the scientific study of player flopping in the NBA (above, see example gift of LeBron James against the Mavs) and other sports. The practice, of players throwing themselves down unnecessarily in an attempt to get a foul called on another player, is considered a big problem in basketball (and soccer too). So much so that the NBA has this season enacted a slew of fines for flopping.
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.
Et tu, Dirk?