Chat with Michael Wilbon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN's Michael Wilbon stops by to take your questions about the Packers defeating the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV and much more.
Wilbon, a longtime Washington Post sports columnist, is co-host of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption, the popular weekday sports debate and discussion program, as well as an NBA studio analyst for both ESPN and ABC. A pioneer in sports journalism, Wilbon was one of the first sports writers to broaden his success beyond newspapers to include television, radio and other media.
Send your questions now and join Wilbon Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Michael (Little Rock)
I read in your column that TK was also invited to the White House party. Did he actually go? And if so, did Mr. Tony stay awake through the entire game?
Mike Wilbon (1:23 PM)
Hi Everybody...Hope you all have recovered from any sort of Super Bowl hangovers! Yes, it's true. Tony K and I were invited to The White House Super Bowl party yesterday and yes we both attended. I wrote a column about the experience for ESPN.com which is posted now...Kornheiser, for those of you who don't know, goes to bed notoriously early, like 9 p.m. as if he's 3 years old. My 3-year-old Matthew goes to bed 3 hours later than Kornheiser. Anywayy, late in the fourth quarter President Obama walks over to Tony and asks how he's enjoying the evening and Tony says, and I quote, "Mr. President, you don't want to get to be my age (62)." And The President says, "Tony, you're right." The President, I believe, turns 50 in August. And Tony says, essentially, e needs to leave before the game ends because he cannot stay awake. The President turned to me and said, "He's serious, isn't he?" But Tony did make the entire game. We walked the mile from the White House back to our PTI offices after the broadcast of the game, so Tony was fully awake, though starting to complain.
Mike Wilbon (1:23 PM)
It was pretty extraordinary, actually, sitting and watching a football game for 4 hours with The President of the United States. He's such a passionate sports fan. And it's not like he's up-to-speed on one or two sports; he's got a appetite for all of it. We talked a ton about Chicago stuff, from Jay Cutler to Derrick Rose. He was completely engaged with his guests, and even though there were probably 200 guests in and around the room it was also very intimate, very warm...I'll speak for Tony and just say we're grateful for being invited...it was a blast...My very first Super Bowl party should also be my last one; the bar is simply set sooooo high now.
Mike Wilbon (1:26 PM)
Yes, I'm usually late. Fashionably late though...I started typing my first answer at 1:03 but it took awhile because it was super long. Sorry, you want the truth, right? I could lie and say I had a fender bender, but it didn't happen. I'm chronically late. See, you've learned something about me, that I've got this flaw and I'm actually fine with it...My intention is to be early, but I'm not playing for Tom Coughlin...When I HAVE to be on time, like on the set or on deadline, I am...Otherwise, I'm late...So there!
Did you have an opportunity to meet Dr. Bill Releford at the Super Bowl party? He's doing a lot of tremendous work out in Los Angeles with his Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program.
Mike Wilbon (1:27 PM)
Yes, I did meet Dr. Releford at the White House yesterday! We have a mutual friend or two...I didn't get to chat with him long last night but look forward to learning more about his tremendous work...
Erik (Columbia, PA)
Mike, big fan of PTI. Any chance Aaron Rodgers' performance through these playoffs and during the Super Bowl has set the bar so unbelievably high that anything he does or doesn't do next season will be seen as a disappointment?
Mike Wilbon (1:32 PM)
Great question...yeah, Aaron set the bar pretty high for himself going forward. But don't the great ones do just that, and usually early. Roethlisberger did and lived up to it again (though certainly not yesterday)...Tom Brady did. Brett Favre kinda did, though he didn't win again. joe Montana did...I know, we're talking about the greats. But doesn't Rodgers have that in him? Suppose he wins a second one, something Favre never did? What will that do to his stature in Green Bay and in--forgive me for saying it!--Packer Nation? Yes, he's got tons to live up to but wouldn't you rather be in that position than having nothing to live up to? What would that mean about your career?
How many beers did Obama have throughout the game?
Mike Wilbon (1:35 PM)
Less than one, which is to say less than Kornheiser...I don't drink beer, but there was a White House beer that was served if you wanted to try it, which I did...It was pretty good, actually, though I'm no beer expert.
So Wilbon did you have to be neutral the whole game or were you allowed to cheer for the Steelers against your hated Packers?
Mike Wilbon (1:43 PM)
I don't cheer in public, ever...Not Ever. It's been trained out of me. "No cheering in the press box" is more than just the standard of behavior, it's a reporter's way of life. I never jump up and start clapping when I'm somewhere in an official capacity. If I was sitting in Soldier Field? Sure. Or Wrigley Field? Absolutely. Even when I have a rooting preference I'm not demonstrative about it. But for the record, yes, I was rooting for the Steelers yesterday. And while I hate the Packers in some philosophical way, I absolutely like Aaron Rodgers and Donald Driver and Charles Woodson, tremendously so in the case of those three players. Couldn't be happier for them, or my Midwestern Cheeseheads bretheren...though I wince as I say that!
AJ (Los Angeles, CA)
Mike, after running around all day yesterday and dealing with people all week... Would you agree that SuperBowl Sunday is the newest American Holiday?
Mike Wilbon (1:46 PM)
Oh, yes. I've felt that way for awhile. Research done by the Hallmark company has shown that Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest at-home party day in America, bigger than New Year's Eve, and that more eating takes place in the home on Super Bowl Sunday than any day in the year except Thanksgiving. That's amazing and a testament to just the kind of "holiday" Super Bowl Sunday has become. That's why, partly, the NFL wants to have an 18-game season that ends on President's Day weekend...The game will start at 9 eastern and people will have Monday off. Watch. It's coming.
Did you actually go to the superbowl party at the white house?What was on the menu? And were you able to eat any of the 'good' stuff?
Mike Wilbon (1:49 PM)
Sports stuff was on the menu. Man stuff, I call it. Brats, cheeseburgers, wings. All of it looked so good. I only ate cheeseburgers...okay, two of the. Best I've had in years. Look, I suffered a heart attack three years ago, so I have to be careful what I'm stuffing in my mouth. And The President, after I had that heart attack, told me that if he heard of me slipping into any South Side rib joints, I'd have to answer to him...So I certainly wasn't going to get out of line in regards to eating with him sitting three feet away...The burgers were a wow...you'd think they were Kobe beef, though that couldn't have been possible...
Hey Michael, PTI love the show. Keep up the good work. What do you think could we see Ben and Aaron head to head in another SB?
Mike Wilbon (1:52 PM)
Maybe next year, maybe never. Are we ever going to see Drew Brees and Payton Manning again? Unlikely. Or Brady and Eli Manning again? Unlikely. Hey, everybody's out there trying. The jets are trying, the Bears are trying...the Falcons and Eagles are trying? We might get Michael Vick vs. Roethlisberger next year or the year after...or maybe Mark Sanchez against Jay Cutler next year, or Sanchez vs. Cam Newton...Don't get me wrong, a replay of yesterday's game wouldn't exactly shock anybody. I generally don't like rematches in that way, but each is young enough (Big Ben is about to be 29, Rodgers 27) to make it back sometime in the next 10 years. Remember, John Elway didn't win his first Super Bowl until he was 37 years old.
Sausage King (Oregon)
Mike, what are your thoughts on the magic celtics last night.. Will the magic improve by the playoffs and are the celtics now a lock for the finals?
Mike Wilbon (1:59 PM)
Yeah, let's talk a little basketball! The Celtics are the best team in the NBA right now, far and away. I don't think the Lakers or Spurs could get more than a game off the Cs right now in a seven-game series. Now, that can change by the end of May, but we're talking about right now. And right now Orlando needs a tweak and a big man. And I don't know how they go about that. Gilbert Arenas has been a disaster for them, and not because he was served with child-support papers at halftime of Friday night's game against the Wizards, but because he can't go past me right now. He has zero explosion...can't get to the basket, can't make a shot from the outside. it looks like he's shot. But Orlando has some issues, like no backup for Howard, who by the way, is going to be suspended for having too many technical fouls...They just don't have any size to speak of, which would suggest they have to make a deal before the trade deadline...I don't see Orlando finishing any higher than fifth in the Eastern Conference the way they're going now.
supe 45...in the top 5 super bowl mix?
Mike Wilbon (2:02 PM)
No. We appreciate that it was competitive and close, but no. Not in the top 15. You've got Patriots-Rams, Titans-Rams, Giants-Patriots, Bears-Patriots, 49ers-Bengals when Montana went right down the field, Denver-Green Bay when Elway went flying through the air...Arizona-Pittsburgh two years ago was better...No, this was good, but not an all-timer.
What do you think about the Bulls possibly acquiring JR Smith from the Nuggets before the deadline?
Mike Wilbon (2:10 PM)
is that rumor started up again? As a Bulls fanatic, I'm torn over the possibility. I think IF Smith can control himself he could help the team tremendously. There just aren't that many teams beyond the Celtics who can guard Rose/Boozer/Deng and J.R. Smith. The Miami Heat couldn't guard that. The Celtics are the only team I can think of that could...maybe the Lakers, but by then we're talking real late in the playoffs. Problem is, J.R. Smith DOESN'T seem to be able to control himself for long and you have to wonder about his committment to defense. But it's intriguing. I think I'd do it as long as I didn't have to give up anybody in the top 7, and that means Taj Gibson mostly likely, too. There are guys I'd rather have, like Omri Caspi in Sacramento, or Courtney Lee in Houston, or (still for me) O.J. Mayo in Memphis...I'd take any of those guys. The Bulls, to get past that second round, are going to have to be able to score more easily when half-court basketball becomes the order of the day...
Alan (San Francisco)
Do you think the Lakers will make a trade before the deadline?
Mike Wilbon (2:15 PM)
Who would they trade? Ron Artest? Okay, I could see that. They'd have to skillfully find a team that has a disgruntled player who could help the Lakers in return. I think they could be helped by a trade, yes, but I think the possibilities are very, very limited. Moving Artest, who has three more years remaining on his deal, would be difficult. You wouldn't want to move anybody else because the Lakers rely on each and every guy in the top seven...They might have to make do with the guys they have...
I'm tired of people saying that Big Ben is simply an average/overrated QB. I understand he made some mistakes last night and it wasnt the best game of his career, but i believe he is an above average QB in this league. What are your thoughts?
Mike Wilbon (2:17 PM)
Ben has now had one terrible Super Bowl and one not-good Super Bowl, but I've been not just ON his bandwagon, but driving it. But I have to admit yesterday wasn't a good day for Ben...or for me since I've been out there saying if I had one game to win for my life I want Ben as my QB. I'm not moving away from my declarations today, just because Ben lost. But Aaron Rodgers certainly looked a ton better yesterday. Ben, remember, is still 10-3 in playoff games and is still 28 years old. I'm not ready to give up on him yet.
Scott (New Hampshire)
Out of all the commercials, which one was your favorite?
Mike Wilbon (2:18 PM)
The Eminem commercial for Chrysler...Brilliant. The rest of them are junk, pure junk.
What do you think ultimately happens with Carmelo?
Mike Wilbon (2:19 PM)
I think we're getting closer to the point where the Nuggets are about to cave and take a lesser deal...Did you see what reportedly is on the table now? The Nuggets could have gotten much more in November than they'd get now in this three-way deal with the T-Wolves.
What can I do, at age 16, in order to get into journalism? Blog? Apply for internships? You're one of the best at what you do, Mr. Wilbon!
Mike Wilbon (2:23 PM)
Read and write as much as you can...learning how to tell a story, in whatever medium you favor, is important. Take English and journalism classes in high school if your school offers them. Go to your community newspaper, whether it's in old-fashioned paper form or on .com, and volunteer to write...same with your school newspaper, if it still has one. Writing or talking for/to an audiance can get you over stage fright, which would be natural if you have it. Most important, read. Read. Read. Read good writers, like the late David Halberstam, read history (like the books by Tom Brokaw), read biographies. Read. And when you get tired of reading...READ! It'll help your writing and storytelling more than I can explain to you. I have to remind myself of his all the time. Read your local paper, read the NYTimes, be current, be smart, be thorough, know what the heck is going on beyond your favorite subjects. Read stuff you have no interest in. Keep a Diary. Write a blog. Read and Write. Have I said it enough???
Are you on Twitter, Michael? There's a Twitter account of "you" and you have over 10,000 followers, but you haven't tweeted once! http://twitter.com/MichaelWilbon
Mike Wilbon (2:31 PM)
I don't tweet. I don't, by and large, care about what others are tweeting. I just don't care. I want to do other things with my time. it's just a preference. 90 percent of what I'm aware of just doesn't interest me. It's like Facebook junk...Look, I readily realize the importance of social media. The rebellion in Tunis took root on Facebook. I get it. It's like music. I don't care how important certain groups or kinds of music are to people who are 30. I listen to what I listen to, which is still R
Mike Wilbon (2:34 PM)
Anyway, we'll chat next week...OH quickly, I'm giving Christina Aguilera a break even though she screwed up royally yesterday simply because I've seen her do the Anthem a dozen times and do it WELL, sometimes brilliantly. She blew it, and she says she blew it and feels badly...She'll do it again and she'll nail it...And I couldn't hear the Black Eyed Peas...I like the group, but just couldn't hear them...Was it any good?
Mike Wilbon (2:34 PM)
See you next week!