Mix one part guy from a reality show about investing in things with one part guy who always complains about the refs — what do you get? Well, Mark Cuban, for one, since he is both of those guys. But you also get Mark Cuban funding a scientific study on the physics behind flopping, which is a real thing that is happening. From SMU.edu, so you know it’s legit:
Biomechanics experts at Southern Methodist University have teamed with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to carry out a scientific study of the unsavory practice of player flopping in basketball and other sports.
[...]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.
“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.”
The objective of the research is to investigate the forces involved in typical basketball collisions, said Weyand, an associate professor of applied physiology and biomechanics in the SMU Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.
Yeah, of course this is happening. What exactly are they studying?
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.
The research findings could conceivably contribute to video reviews of flopping and the subsequent assignment of fines, Weyand said. “It may be possible to enhance video reviews by adding a scientific element, but we won’t know this until we have the data from this study in hand.”
You read that right. Mark Cuban is funding a study that will attempt to find out how much force you need to knock a player over, whether or not that player could have helped falling down, whether or not that player fell down on purpose, and of course, how to track all of this — this is the greatest referee trolling of all-time. Mark Cuban is paying money to find a new way to complain about referees. I thought filing a legal brief about winning a championship as evidence against a lawsuit’s claims of mismanagement was his master stroke, but investing in ways to become the world’s foremost expert on flopping when you are famous for complaining about referees is next level zingery.
Of course, I’m sure this will be framed as “for the good of the game.” And yes, being able to prove who is and isn’t flopping could go a long ways towards addressing something that people make way too big of a deal about, so that is true. But really, Mark Cuban wants to know who’s flopping and can afford to try to figure it out. It’s genius. There’s a reason he’s a billionaire.