Mark Cuban is the chief anti-flop guy in the NBA, but if it works for his Dallas Mavericks...
Back in June 2013, the billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban decided to put his money where the flops are. Tired of watching the likes of Manu Ginobili--San Antonio Spur and renowned thespian--dramatically enhance, let's say, the effects of minor contact by hurling himself to the floor as if shot, Cuban looked for a way to end the show. He paid an expert in biomechanics to study the practice--called "flopping"--with the aim of determining a way to identify the flop on film. If the body did certain things during a flop that don't naturally occur with normal contact, perhaps a computer algorithm could detect the anomaly and label it a flop--sort of like a high-end version of the crime cameras that deter most criminals from robbing 7-Elevens. We'll catch you if you do it, is what Cuban wants the NBA to be able to say.
We wrote Cuban and asked why, in such a macho game, did he think these otherwise extraordinarily tough competitors "fake" it. "Easy," Cuban replied, "they want to win." Perhaps nobody wants to win--and understands that mentality--more than Mark Cuban, whose Mavs brought home the hardware in 2011. Cuban--the antithesis of owners like the now disgraced Donald Sterling--spends both the money and the time, exhibiting a dedication to winning that lures great players like Vince Carter to Dallas, where they hope to wrap up prosperous careers with championship rings. Carter, a former superstar, remains a valuable contributor. (He hit a difficult, decisive 3-pointer in Game Three.) But his biggest contribution as the recent San Antonio-Dallas series wore on was to perform one of Cuban's most despised moves: Vince Carter flopped, and it turned the tide for the Mavs in Game Six. Carter was once so great no one could give him a decent nickname--Vinsanity and "Half-Man, Half-Amazing" were lame candidates that never stuck. But the play in the video below may have sealed it: Carter should be known as Con-VINCE-ing. Because he fooled these seasoned NBA refs with a Ginobli-level flop while Cuban looked on in a mix of what would have to be pride and horror. Given the salutary results, Mark Cuban might reconsider his research project--and redirect his money into a fund to pay his players' flopping fouls. He won't, of course. He'll use the flops as long as they call them--just the way he owns patents even though he thinks current patent law is a disgrace. You work with the system you have, especially if you, like the players flailing all over the court (ahem, LeBron James) "want to win."
[Check out the "Most Interesting Finds" on Amazon ]