Chat with Michael Wilbon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN's Michael Wilbon stops by to chat and share his thoughts on the sports world.
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!
mike wilbon (1:04 PM)
Hi Everybody...coming to you from Boston where I'm getting ready for PTI and tonight's Celtics-Heat Game 4...We'll jump right into playoff issues, of which there are plenty. Hell, we could do a full chat on just the Lakers and their situation...maybe a Pac Man-Sugar Shane question or two...
Is Rose trying too hard? Should Thibs give Boozer the ball more?
mike wilbon (1:08 PM)
Derrick Rose, much as I love him, cannot take 32 shots in a game if the Bulls are going to be a serious championship contender. CANNOT. Now, it's different from Russell Westbrook shooting all the time because Rose doesn't have a Kevin Durant alongside him and Westbrook does, making me wonder about his agenda...Still, Boozer had it going last night and Rose never went back to him in the 4th quarter. Boozer, clearly hot in the third quarter, should have gotten the ball, some plays run for him, in the 4th and I blame Rose and Tibbs for that. But these are the growing pains of learning how to play in the playoffs. The Bulls are still trying to figure it out and it didn't help Rose that Korver and Deng had no games whatsoever offensively...They'd better get it together quick. ATL has figured out how to beat the Bulls, so it's the Bulls turn to come up with a counter punch in a hurry. It can't be Rose shooting every possession either.
Mike,If u watch the video, you can clearly see Salvatore begin to raise his and with a closed fist as if he is going to signal a FOUL when he "mistakenly" blew the whistle, but then he puts it down so fast. I know he said he made a mistake, but the way he said it he made it sound like he didnt think it was a foul at first, But again he dlearly raised his hand...your thoughts..
mike wilbon (1:10 PM)
I know Bennett a little bit, I KNOW he's a terrific official, and I applaud him for saying after the game he blew the call, that it WAS INDEED a foul, and he just blew it. Players, coaches, refs, writers, EVERYBODY needs to do that more often. It happens. We're human. He did blow the call and it was a foul. Rose should have been at the line shooting 3 free throws in a 6-point game. Instead, ATL won the jump-ball and scored on that possession, making it potentially a five-point swing, from what could have been a 3-point margin to 8. Not a small deal at that point of the game.
What are some things the Lakers need to do in the off-season?
mike wilbon (1:12 PM)
Get rid of Andrew Bynum, who quite a few in the Lakers family have never really liked anyway. They can package him and Lamar Odom (who everybody does like) and send them to Orlando for Dwight Howard...If you're Orlando, are you going to get a better package than that for Howard? Unlikely. I'd start there if I ran the Lakers. I don't think anybody other than Kobe is safe from being traded. The Lakers have to get younger, more athletic. They have to decide who is going to coach the team. (I like Brian Shaw). The Lakers have a ton of decisions to make, but a new coach is coming for sure and I would suspect a roster overhaul, too.
rich a. queens, ny [via mobile]
If, let's say phil jackson decides not to retire. Which team would u think he would go and coach next.
mike wilbon (1:15 PM)
I know what you want me to say...The Knicks. Sorry, not going to say it. Phil's not going to coach the team he played for. Can't see it. I take him at his word that he's retiring. Looking at what happened this last week with the Lakers, doesn't that seem like the right thing for him to do now? What's left for him to accomplish as a professional basketball coach? And why, if you want to wrap it up, would you put yourself in that crazy stressful situation in New York? The team is not ready to win it all next year and you've got issues with the owner and GM...Why?
Shortrib (Memphis, TN)
When the Grizzlies get to the Western Conf Finals (And Yes I am going ahead of myself). The Mavs are going to be in trouble. That 3 point barage you saw yesterday won't happen against the Griz. Your thoughts?
mike wilbon (1:18 PM)
Let's not get ahead of ourselves, is right. Memphis did NOT play well in Game 3...Okay, the Grizzlies did play well in OT. But OKC handed them the game by playing dumb basketball, led by Russell Westbrook, who seems not to know he's playing alongside one of the five best players in the world in Kevin Durant. They come down and jack up stupid shots throughout the 4th quarter, blowing a 16-point lead. Memphis got a big assist in that game from the opponent. Now, I think Memphis has a BIG game left in it and if they play it tonight and go up 3-1 the Grizz will win the series...But...tonight's winner wins the series. And yes, Memphis can play with any team in the league, not because of three-pointers but because it's a balanced team with a lot of everything, including talent, inside presence, depth...not long on experience though.
who would dallas like to face in the next round?
mike wilbon (1:20 PM)
Having said all that...Memphis. OKC has a top-five player in the league (Durant) and a top-20 player (Westbrook) in terms of talent. OKC, if they can be convinced to play the right way, is a tough, tough opponent. So is Memphis, obviously. But I just think if Dallas' players and coaches answered honestly they'd say Memphis.
Eric (DC )
afternoon Mr. Wilbon miss your writing here in DC. Anyway what Bynum did was straight punk move and that was on the play ground or early 90 it would have been dealt with. I would not have been mad at Dallas Coach if he would have sent the 12th man to handle that situation. But props to Dallas they did it the right way and sent the lakers home
mike wilbon (1:23 PM)
Thanks...And I agree with you wholeheartedly about Bynum's thuggish move. He should be suspended for at least 5 games next year, which means his debut in an Orlando uniform would be delayed. Worse even, was that he had no remorse afterward and tried to justify it. I didn't understand two years ago why many in the Lakers family disliked the kid; now I do. He does behave like a punk. At least Lamar Odom said he was frustrated and embarrassed and simply shouldn't have done what he did, slamming into Dirk. Good think I'm not a coach because I believe in eye-for-an-eye and I'd be looking to get Bynum no matter what uniform he played in...
Brendan (Pittsfield, MA)
Wilbon,Can you give us some insight to Magic Johnson's reaction when Bynum commited that bush league foul and then took his jersey off on the court? I immediately turned to my girlfriend and said 'wow - I bet Magic is furious with how Bynum is representing the Lakers right now' and couldn't wait to hear his reaction. Unfortunately our channel went right to the news.
mike wilbon (1:28 PM)
Magic was furious, and for those of you who missed it started the post-game show on ABC with an apology to the mavericks, Mark Cuban, JJ Barea and basketball fans everywhere for the Lakers' lack of class. It clearly hurt Magic, Mr. Laker as far as I'm concerned, to see the franchise he helped build behave that way. He was seething as it all played out...REmember, Ron Artest had already been suspended for one game for clotheslining Barea. Then you have Odom, then Bynum? Hell, that's half the top six of the Lakers lineup involved in garbage...There's no place for it, Phil should have been publicly critical but was probably absorbed with his own swan song The whole thing was grossly unfortunate and people should be held accountable by the NBA.
Myron (Washington DC)
I hope you are not too humble/bashful to post this, but you are a wise man Mr. Wilbon-- particularly in the realm of sports. Certainly not the typical Monday-morning-quarterback. Do you ever look at the decision-making of some of the less-compitent professional coaches/managers and say to yourself "pshhh i could do wayyy better"?
mike wilbon (1:31 PM)
Thank you...but no, I don't. Well, every blue moon. It's one thing to sit here and do it at a keyboard (or microphone) with no accountability if I'm wrong, and another to do it in live time with the pressure of an owner, sponsors, fans. One thing I always respect is how difficult other people's jobs are. I try to never presume I could be better at something than somebody who does it 24/7. When writing or talking I have the advantage of having (usually) talked to smart people before I write/go on air. I have the luxury of thinking about it in retrospect, and I can take stands because no owner is calling me into his office reminding me its HIS money and not mine...
I hated how Shane Mosley simply tried to avoid fighting pacquiao and holding on to him in the final 9 rounds of the match after his KO. Is this something we must just accept as part of the game? (like flopping)
mike wilbon (1:33 PM)
Sadly, yes. Sugar Shane indeed had no interest in fighting, just in not being knocked out. And because Pacquiao doesn't hate Shane, because the two have no trumped up dislike for one another, he didn't really go after him until the 14th round after the referee ruled that bogus "knockdown." Too bad, it was such a non-fight. But until and unless Floyd Mayweather gets over his case of severe cowardice the fight game is really on hold, isn't it?
Mike, Why would Howard want to go play with a blown up team and an aging Bryant who isn't who he used to be?
mike wilbon (1:34 PM)
What's Howard playing with now? Two guys making $100 million (Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu) who can't play anymore and a bunch of guys who should be 7th men? How did that just work in the playoffs? You'd rather play with that than even a aging Kobe Bryant? Go right ahead. I'd love to play the GM game with you as my opposing number.
I don't want to misrepresent your sentiments, but it seemed like you thought the Bulls would have an easier series with ATL than they had with Indy. Did you underestimate the Hawks or overestimate the Bulls? What has surprised you about this series so far?
mike wilbon (1:36 PM)
You didn't misrepresent at all!!! You got it 100 percent right. I DID think the Bulls would have an easier time with ATL than Indy...The Bulls made one mistake which undid that whole scenario: They let a fragile Hawks team feel good about itself by winning Game 1 in Chicago. That changed the whole tenor of the series. So that probably means I overestimated the Bulls, who should have known (since everybody else in the league did) that the way to beat ATL is to jump on them right away and make them wallow in their own pity party. But, Coach Larry Drew has been appealing to his team to not let that very thing defeat them and they've answered positively so far.
5 games? What kind of message does that send. Bynum should be gone for 15+.
mike wilbon (1:37 PM)
Five games, ten...I'm okay with whatever.
Mike,Did Charles Barkley not throw a couple of cheap shots in his day? Remember when the Rockets knocked out the Suns out of the playoffs in 1994, game is in hand and Olajuwon goes up for a dunk and what does Barkley do? The same thing Bynum did, just without the elbow. And are we completely forgetting how cheap the Utah Jazz were with Stockton and Malone, I mean they through more cheap shot and flopped more than any other team in that era, is everyone's memory that short?
mike wilbon (1:38 PM)
The beauty of Charles Barkley is that he runs from nothing. If you listened to TNT's broadcast last night, at one point Charles said, "Trust me, I threw some cheap shots in my day and..." So, yes.
Damion north carolina [via mobile]
How will rondo injury impact the series?
mike wilbon (1:39 PM)
We're still waiting to see whether Rondo will even play tonight, though it sounds like he will. What he did Saturday, coming back from that grotestque elbow injury, was amazing. He inspired his team and rallied it like you rarely see. If he's introduced in the starting lineup tonight it'll be pretty amazing here...To get that steal and dunk, and handle the ball...Its one of the very, very few times I can think of when going to the Willis Reed analogy is valid.
Mike, love PTI, keep up the great work. If Rajon Rondo can't be 100% tonight/the rest of the series after the gruesome elbow injury, who do the Celtics need to step up the most to win Game 4 and/or the series?
mike wilbon (1:41 PM)
Pierce and Big Baby. Rondo won't be 100 percent, but he can still impact the game. They'll all have to play well, I think. Also, won't Miami be much aggressive in attacking Rondo?
Matt (Washington, DC)
Will David Stern immediately step in if it appears a Hawks-Grizzlies NBA finals might happen -- this is NOT that much of a longshot right now.
mike wilbon (1:42 PM)
Yeah it is. ATL won't beat Miami or Boston. Memphis has a better show than ATL, and what would stern do, go to an invitation and simply invite the Lakers back in? Stop it.
What is your favorite thing about working on PTI?
mike wilbon (1:45 PM)
Discussing the big issues of the day in sports. Sports is the conversation of our lives, mine and Tony's. To tell you the truth, sitting around the office arguing with each other and the staff is the best part. People don't realize Tony and I have been arguing with each other since 1980; PTI didn't air until 2001. That's 21 years of back-and-forth, of being on the road together (from Seoul to Barcelona), sitting side-by-side at games and events and tournaments...We've done that with each other plus our friends and colleagues (including David Aldridge, Christine Brennan, J.A. Adande, David DuPree, Richard Justice, Bob Ryan, LeBatard) for decades. DECADES. it's all a blast. The exchange of information, challenging each other, phone calls in the middle of the night screaming, "ARE YOU WATCHING THIS %$&*#$%*!!!" The reporting that goes into KNOWING something instead of just speculating...I love all of it, I guess.
mike wilbon (1:47 PM)
Yes, I love D-Wade. I'm biased. He comes from where I come from, which is to say the South Side of Chicago (like D. Rose)...I've followed his career since he was a freshman at Marquette and come to know him personally/socially and yes, I like him tremendously. That doesn't mean I think he's perfect and shouldn't get popped by the league or whatever governing body if he crosses the line on the court. I thought both guys were jostling and it was unfortunate...it might have even been overly physical or even reckless, but I don't think there was intent to injure...or even a flagrant foul. It was very, very unfortunate and Rondo could have been seriously injured. Goodness, it was grotesque.
Tw questions about the fight. 1) didn't it seem as if Shane was a tad bit too friendly wth all the fist bumping and hugging before and after every round? 2) Weren't you hoping for Pac-Man to finally grow some and call out Floyd for running from him Carl Lewis style?
mike wilbon (1:48 PM)
Yes, and yes! But that's not who Pacman is. He's just not that guy. I'm that guy. I'm calling out the cowardly Floyd Mayweather. What a joke he is.
Ryan (The Q)
Im going to be Tony and we can do role play real quick. Your Otis Smith, How do you surround Howard with enough talent this summer to lead them to the championship next season?
mike wilbon (1:50 PM)
You can't, unless you have a roommate who wants to give you Kevin Garnett over the summer. You trade Howard for Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum, and you keep Reddick and you have 3 guys who fit together...You want to dump Arenas and Turkoglu but nobody wants them, particularly not at their salaries...
mike wilbon (1:50 PM)
okay, gotta runa and prepare for PTI before getting to the Garden for tonight's Game 4...Once again, CAN't WAIT! See you next week, thanks for chatting...MW