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, in addition to writing for ESPNChicago.com. 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!
Jeff (Atlanta, GA)
Are you slurping the Tim Tebow koolaid? I know the defense and running game are the main reasons why Denver is on this 5-1 run, but Tebow seems to have inspired the team and they have bought into his leadership, effort, and enthusiasm. How long can this continue?
mike wilbon (1:13 PM)
Hi Everybody...There's so much out there today...so, so much...I'll try to jump around and touch on all the important topics, and a couple trivial ones, just to mix it up...But why not start with Tim Tebow, as good a pro football story for a wide-ranging audiance as there is, other than the Packers remaining undefeated...YES, I'm drinking the Tebow kool-aid and have been all season...Hell, I talked to the kid at the ESPYs one afternoon in July and was convinced he was going to lead the Broncos to a good season. And that was based on NOTHING other than he's got a charisma, an earnestness that makes him utterly irresistible...at least to me. I root like hell for him. Don't care about the Broncos, didn't care about the Gators, just Tebow. He does inspire. People LOVE just hanging out with him, trust me. The defensive players there in Denver seem to love him; we know the offensive players do. And let's be fair; Denver's got a great defense and running backs with guts and talent, like Willis McGahee...How long? Who the hell knows? We don't know, John Elway and John Fox don't know. Isn't that why the story is like an old network drama cliffhanger every single week?
The next DC area team to win a title will be....
mike wilbon (1:17 PM)
The Washington Capitals. I think this move firing Bruce Boudreau, who I like personally and think worked his butt off with little cooperation from a couple of the star players, and hiring Dale Hunter is going to be the move that leads the Capitals to being a mentally tougher team. Capitals v Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals anyone? I have a horse in that race, and it isn't the Capitals. But I'd love to see the Capitals in the Cup Finals...And they have the roster to do it. If Ovechkin and Semin can't get their acts together now...Scratch that. What neither knows since they're too young to know Hunter's resume, is that he'll throw either or both through a plate glass window if they don't get on board. I know Hunter hasn't coached at the NHL level, but he damn sure played and well at the NHL level for nearly 20 years...I hate that the players bailed on Boudreau, but as we know the shelf=life for NHL coaches ain't long. Seems like the necessary move that George McPhee made this morning and I think it'll pay off immediately and in the long run...
Why wasn't a bigger deal made of PTI's 10th anniversary?
mike wilbon (1:20 PM)
Tony and I aren't in for a ton of self-promotion...We think there's way too much of it in media, anyway. A big enough deal was made anyway. We were on all manner of radio shows, nationally. One day on PTI I think we did some little tongue-in-cheek mention...or did we not? I can't recall. Anyway, remember, Tony and I think of ourselves as sportswriters, which we were for 30 and 40 years respectively...NOT TV hosts, which I grant you we kinda sorta have been for a decade. We're grateful to have been allowed to be on stage this long and are grateful to people like you, Ryan, for paying attention...Not throwing us off the stage is probably thank-you enough. Although, now that you mention it, maybe we each should have come up with an end zone dance!
Bad BCS! (Everywhere, USA)
Are you like me in hoping for an inexplicable UGA upset of LSU in the SEC champioship game resulting in ALA and LSU, two teams that didn't even win their conference, in the national title game? What controversy!!!!!
mike wilbon (1:25 PM)
Usually, I'd be with you, wishing for whatever caused the BCS discomfort. And not winning the conference championship game would be a little embarassing...But I must say, it doesn't matter. The college football season, this here season, is over until Jan. 7 or 8 or whenever the BCS title game is played because LSU and Alabama are the best two teams out there and they're going to play for the title. This week is a waste of time. So much for all those people who say this format means EVERY SINGLE WEEK IS MEANINGFUL...bull...this week isn't meaningful. Saturday's games, in as far as the national championship picture, are meaningless. The season, at least to me, has been unsatisfying. Okay, there were a couple of good Saturdays but it's just one of those seasons that fell flat. Look, I LOVE college football. I'm up to my neck in it. But I'm not with people who just celebrate stuff without looking at it critically. The college football season was just...blah...LSU and Alabama aren't blah, they're fabulous teams who have earned the positions in the polls. But seeing those 2 play again after that 9-6 snoozer isn't going to get me excited...
Hello Mike. I'm sure you are excited to have the NBA back. I was curious if you thought that the Hawks would make a push to trade for Dwight Howard since he is from Atlanta which might give us an edge in trading for him?
mike wilbon (1:26 PM)
Good question...thing is, I haven't heard the Hawks mentioned in ANY credible trade rumors involving D. Howard, even though the Hawks have some interesting trade pieces...It would seem like a place he'd love to play and that would (should) love to have him. Your question will prompt me to make a couple of phone calls this afternoon, especially since there's a season in front of us now and these conversations will start to bubble up again...
Doesn't Charles Barkley owe Auburn an apology for calling them racist when they didn't hire Turner Gill?
mike wilbon (1:27 PM)
No. Fairness and creativity in hiring starts with giving people chances who've earned them...It doesn't mean they can't be fired. In fact, the process when done the right way almost assures firings, regardless of color.
Are you and Tony gonna have an NBA back party?
mike wilbon (1:31 PM)
Dude, my NBA-is-back party is called "work." Granted, it's work that I love but it means missing Christmas with my family (no Bears-Packers in Lambeau for me...but Bulls-Lakers in Los Angeles, presuming the NBA keeps that matchup, ain't bad...no pity party needed)...it means about 100 flights...it's a marathon, again, a marathon I love and am fortunate to get to participate in, meaning ESPN's coverage. But I can't expend the energy on a party. I'll need it for the romps back-and-forth across the country...Hell, I've been sitting on a sofa this last month watching so much football I'm not even in NBA media shape!!!
Hey Mike, non-sports related question: who are your favorite Northwestern Alumnae? Mine are Rod Blagojevich, Rahm Emanuel, Stephen Colbert and Charlton Heston. Related to that: what makes NU special?
mike wilbon (1:38 PM)
Well, don't I have to start with Ann Margret and Cindy Crawford? I know, I know neither graduated from NU, but being an alumn means having attended, not necessarily having graduated. I met Mr. Colbert in June; he followed me as the graduation commencement speaker (glad it wasn't the other way around)...I met Stephanie March (wife of Bobby Flay and ADA on Law & Order SVU at 2010 Homecoming)...Seth Myers is on my short list of favorite alums. Fred "The Hammer" Williamson and Irv Cross, for those of you of a certain age. Daphne Maxwell-Reid is on the short list. Megan Mullally from Will
Who would you take as your starting point guard for the future: D Rose or John Wall
mike wilbon (1:40 PM)
You're asking a guy who grew up on the South Side of Chicago, across the park from Simeon High School where D Rose matriculated, who he'd rather have as his starting point guard, a rookie who is still trying to find his way or the league MVP who led his team to the conference championship round in his third season. Huh?
mike wilbon (1:42 PM)
Okay, you deserve a better answer than that...so here goes: John Wall may very well be a fine player someday...maybe we'll see that by the end of this coming season. And by his third year Wall could be the real deal; nothing the kid has done so far would serve to contradict that. Flip Saunders tells me Wall had been exemplary, as a teammate and as a young player...I believe Flip. BUT, D-Rose is a player we now know can be the lead character in a championship contender. It's not saying he's going to fill the United Center with more banners. I'm just saying, if you put two scorers in that Bulls lineup, and make one of 'em Jason Richardson, I'll take Rose and feel good about my chances to compete with anybody, Miami included.
What do you think should happen to Boeheim? What do you think will happen?
mike wilbon (1:47 PM)
I don't know. Sorry, if you want some confident know-it-all answer. I don't know. This isn't Penn State. Not to me. No Grand Jury has been convened. No chargers have been made formally, not that I've heard. It all sounds scandalous, but I don't know who and what to believe. it's that simple. There's information flowing in all directions that makes me say, "I don't what the hell to believe here." And until the point that it is conclusive and the police start arresting people and charging them...I'm not going out on a limb and saying what should happen to anybody. You might not need to hear more, but I do. In the case of Penn State, I'm convinced, even though there is innocence on the part of the accused until proven guilty, that there was predatory behavior. So was law enforcement...at least reasonable enough evidence to act on. At Syracuse? I'm not there yet.
Hey Mike do you see the College Football game finally getting a playoff system out of the next 10 years? Is LSU ovverated?
mike wilbon (1:47 PM)
LSU is NOT overrated. LSU looks to be a great college football team. Playoff? Which happens first, the Cubs win the World Series or we get a college football playoff. I'm not holding my breath for either, though I'd like to see both.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
As a rational, objective observer of the NBA lockout, who should I give more praise to for getting the CBA finally agreed upon, the owners or the players? I'm leaning players because of how much $$$ they gave up relative to the last agreement, but I need your thoughts to be better informed...
mike wilbon (1:49 PM)
I'm not all that excited about crediting either side, though I agree with you and think "players" because they gave up more, no question. But I think they also knew that while they could win a legal challenge it would take more than a year, maybe two, and the NBA would be damaged beyond immediate repair, and so they went back to the table with the owners, which ultimately is the only way these labor disputes in sports are resolved.
Did this lockout really solve anything, or are we going to see this whole thing again in 6 years?
mike wilbon (1:52 PM)
It solved everything in their world...for now. In six years, chances are that the owners, having hired very smart people to exploit loopholes and find ways around the very terms they negotiated and insisted upon, will want to opt out because their own dealings will have pushed the players share to 54 percent or something like that...The owners will tell us they signed a deal in 2011 they didn't really want but was pushed down their throats by then-retired David Stern...Just like the Gene Upshaw, according to tons of players, sold out the union and negotiated a bad deal...only to find out by the end of that deal the owners claimed they were snookered by Upshaw and Tagliabue got stomped on in the previous negotiations...I don't believe anything these people say, none of it. More to the point, Scarlett, I don't give a damn. Play Ball!
I know it's a little early to predict someone's legacy, but how do you see Ohio State and Urban working out?
mike wilbon (1:53 PM)
Short-term, yes. If urban wins a national championship in his third season or fourth, I don't see the dance going 7...he's got health issues, and those things are real. Ask Coach Kill.
Do you think the lockout has already destroyed some of the goodwill the NBA built after the phenomenal previous season?
mike wilbon (1:55 PM)
Detroyed goodwill why? Because the league will have missed 26 games (16 after all is said and done) in november and december that the casual sports fan didn't know existed anyway? The NBA needed to get back by Christmas Day and has done that. Pro football rules the day in this country until January...So the NBA, despite its best intentions, got it done in time. I would NEVER start an NBA season until Dec. 10, or somewhere in there...And I'd have a 70-game season every year, with 24 teams...Less is better...But that's just me.
Did you catch Costas' commentary about celebrations? Taking into account DeSean's and Stevie's bouts with asininity, did you think Costas was being awfully pick-and-choosy about what counts as an appropriate celebration?
mike wilbon (1:58 PM)
I got a text message last night from one of my best friends telling me how great Costas' comments were and I'll have to go back and hear them. I missed the prelude to the game last night doing family stuff...Wish I'd heard it and now will go back to find it on YouTube or wherever these things are archived...
Bulls offer Gibson, Asik and fillers/picks for D. Howard? Does that get them to 1st base?
mike wilbon (1:59 PM)
I presume you mean, does that get them to first-base in getting D. Howard. They're already standing on third in terms of being a playoff team, though they'll need to get better to keep from being picked off...Hmmm, I'd do that. But I have talked to club executives who tell me I'm crazy, that they wouldn't take the ball out of Rose's hands so frequently and give it to Howard. Again, I'd do this, but people I trust who make a living making these determinations tell me I'm insane.
My cousin, Billy, told me there was a rat race at the big mall, in the city, on black friday. But he didn't tell me if his rat won the race. Updates please.
mike wilbon (1:59 PM)
This sounds so preposterous I had to post it, you know, just in case somebody has details.
I know as Redskins fans i cant root for my team to lose but what can really be gained by them winning at this pt. They need a QB and come april i think they need to be in the top 5 to get that franchise qb. You agree?
mike wilbon (2:02 PM)
No. I don't. They could trade for a QB. Hell, look at the Raiders. They're doing to win their division (sorry Tebow loyalists) and do it with a guy who was retired until the end of October, for crying out loud. Or they could draft one of these kids who will fall to later in the round who could be Dan Marino falling to the Dolphina with the last pick in the first round or whatever it was. Barkley, RGIII can both play. My issue is whether Mike Shanahan has ever been any good with a big-time draft pick. Mike Shanahan the coach is damn good, Mike Shanahan the GM? Hmmmm, I dunno...
Is there anyone in the league you'd rather build your team around for the next 7-10 years than Kevin Durant? Lebron, Howard, Rose included?
mike wilbon (2:04 PM)
Great question. I think it's a point guard era, as a much as I LOVE Durant, I might want to do it with a point guard. For instanc, would even K.D. be better off with Chris Paul than he is with Russell Westbrook? Just wondering? I'd be fine having any of the guys you mention as my franchise player going forward from right now...The John Wall question will be worth revisiting at the end of this season, I suspect.
If I'm an opposing coach, I wouldn't be afraid of Suh. Just have your offensive linemen talk some smack to him and watch the penalties mount up.
mike wilbon (2:06 PM)
BeCUASE I'm afraid of Suh I'd have one of my OL do exactly what you suggest. Exactly. Get in his head because clearly it can be done. The 2 games Suh is going to be suspended for is about right. If it was one game I wouldn't quibble. His coach didn't do him any favors after the game. Nobody wants to do what Bill Parcells or Bob Knight would do after a game, which is say, "That isn't acceptable and that kid is gonna sit until he gets it in his head." That way, the league would know who is in charge. That didn't happen in Detroit.
D. Rose also doesn't have to deal with All Day Dray and Javale McGee...what a couple of knuckleheads.
mike wilbon (2:06 PM)
Great, great, great, great point which MUST be considered. Thanks
Tyler (Germantown, PA)
Wilbon, I'm sure you must've heard the "Fire Andy" chants from yesterday's game against the Patriots. If you're Jeffery Lurie, are you firing Andy Reid when this season is over? If you keep him, are you at least taking away his GM privileges?
mike wilbon (2:08 PM)
I'd let Andy Reid go. Seriously, and I'm not blaming him for what hasn't happened in Philly this season. It's just time. If I ran another team, on the other hand, I'd hire Andy Reid in a heartbeat. It's like Ozzie Guillen leaving Chicago after winning a World Championship and having some success. Another voice, another approach, another vision was needed. Same in Philly, I guess. Andy's been there a long time and it's time to let somebody else try. That's all. But Andy Reid is a guy I'd send a plane for if I had an opening other than Philly.
Still defending Mr. Suh?
mike wilbon (2:10 PM)
Shapren your reading skills, Pal. Didn't I just say I'd suspend him for 2 games and somebody needs to be in charge of sitting him down and getting through to him...Hold on, maybe you submitted the question before you read my answer on Suh already...if so, I apologize...to my producer, my editor and all my fans...not actually TO YOU but to all the people who understand my self-serving apology and feel like they're getting a shout-out!
Jordan (San Jose, CA)
How do you feel your former colleague Mark Jackson will fair as an NBA coach? Bay Area fans have been dying to see this successful again after that memorable 2007 run. We pack the arena to get our basketball fix, not necessarily our winning fix. Can Jackson be the guy to take the Warriors to that next level?
mike wilbon (2:16 PM)
Yes. But look, I'm totally biased. I first met Mark Jackson (and Chris Mullin, same time) when Jax was a sophomore point guard at St. John's on a team with national championship aspirations. I talked to mark before he became a starter; he was sitting behind Mike Moses, a senior, I think...Anyway, my editors at The Washington Post would always say, "Why are you quoting this kid Mark jackson who doesn't even start," and I would tell them "because he's the smartest kid out there...he's like a coach as a 20-year-old." So, you know where I'm going with this. I love mark jackson and want him to win and feel he, with a good cast of players, can and will. I'm not distanced from this, I'm not objective. Mark and Dan Patrick (and Scottie Pippen for a few weeks) held my hand through my first gig on an NBA show. They're my friends first and foremost...But I know I'll have to take off my friend hat and put on my NBA hat and look at what the Warriors do critically. One thing I hope they do, for my friend's sake, is get rid of Monta Ellis. Steph Curry does mostly the same thing (score) and does it with so much greater efficiency. Curry also looks to pass the ball more than once a quarter, or as a move of last resort. Anyway, I think the new owner there and new coach there are the right places to start...Mark sent me a new Warriors sweatshirt...Other than the Bulls, I have a new team to root for.
You can throw Nick Young in there, too.
mike wilbon (2:16 PM)
Hey, can't the Bulls sign Nick Young to catch-and-shoot D-Rose's passes?
Who will "Pay Forte!!!" next season?
mike wilbon (2:17 PM)
The Bears...when they "franchise" him.
mike wilbon (2:17 PM)
It's down to McCarthy and Harbaugh, that's it, that's the list.
Should the Vikings fire Leslie Frazier? Too much talent on that team to be 5-12, right?
mike wilbon (2:17 PM)
I'd give him a second season and a very short leash.
Would Noah-Howard be the best defensive front line since Duncan-Robinson?
mike wilbon (2:18 PM)
Oh goodness, yes. But wouldn't the Bulls have to give up Noah to get Howard? I'm just saying, if I'm Orlando I gotta have Noah, who's a known quantity in Florida where he helped win back-to-back NCAA titles. I don't want to give him up, if I'm the Bulls. But if I'm the Magic?
Have two major work stoppages during his tenure hurt Stern's stature as a commissoner?
mike wilbon (2:24 PM)
A little, yeah...But Baseball and hockey missed their championships one season; the NBA did not. Football has the stain, forever, of bringing in guys off the street as replacement players, a stench that will never go away as far as I'm concerned. The NBA didn't do that...So, for Stern, it was nervous nelly time but they're back on the court when they positively have to be.
How long should Suh sit?
mike wilbon (2:24 PM)
and game or 2...I'm okay with either call.
Did David Stern save his legacy by ending this lock out?
mike wilbon (2:25 PM)
Stern didn't end it. He pushed like hell, he really did. He lit the fire. He led...I'll even go that far. But the players had to give up more. But Stern did cajole and beg and browbeat his owners...Interesting how one questioner asked if his legacy is damaged and you're asking if it's saved. Perspective!
Lawrence (La Crescenta, CA)
Do you think the Big East should give up football and become a non-football conferece like the Big West? The Big East look pretty pathetic because they are so desperate for teams.
mike wilbon (2:26 PM)
Get out of the biz of football, where there are millions of dollars to be made? Ah, no.
Eric Ray (Eight of six)
Your wiki site says you once threw a one hitter. Please tell me the one hit came in the 9th with 2 outs.
mike wilbon (2:29 PM)
Ha. Where the hell did that come from? True. Senior year high school, a Saturday morning after the St. Ignatius College Prep prom...I went to sleep at 4, woke up at 7:30 (mom gets an assist)...at Quigley South...I think the hit came fairly early, though I will NOT swear to that...I know I walked the bases loaded and the run scored on a sac fly...at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it. pretty sad if that's a career highlight, isn't it, losing a one-hitter?
mike wilbon (2:30 PM)
Okay, Kornheiser is screaming at me to join the PTI production meeting in progress...gotta go...okay, we'll chat next week as we run up to free agency in the NBA, which should be fun, and abbreviated training camps and playoff races getting tight (presumably) in the NFL...Thanks everybody...see you Monday.
Bryan (Spirngdale, AR)
What is it about professional athletes that makes them not want to get in line with the rules of the game and act like thugs on the field at times? What is so hard about good sportsmanship, integrity, and challenging yourself to play well within the rules?
mike wilbon (2:33 PM)
Really, did it seem hard for David Robinson or Tim Duncan? Does it seem hard for Grant Hill and Steve Nash and Ray Allen? Or Brian Urlacher or Charles Rogers, or Drew Brees or Peyton Manning? Did Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken play outside the rules. Be careful Bryan...I just picked out some names of my favorites, but fact is the vast, vast majority of professional athletes very much play by the rules and demonstrate great sportsmanship, integrity. Don't be so knee-jerk and be careful about brushing with such a broad stroke...You're bound to be wrong if the generalization is too huge, as in this case.