Chat with Michael Wilbon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
mike wilbon (1:29 PM)
Afternoon Everybody, well, in the East and Midwest anyway...We'l jump right into the post-All-Star NBA, college hoops, and whatever else anybody wants to delve into...
Brian (New Orleans)
Do you think you will ever get a chance to play golf with Obama?
mike wilbon (1:35 PM)
This is a pretty good place to start! I've never come CLOSE to playing golf with a president, but I've never actually KNOWN The President of the United States until now. Not to sound cocky, but yes, I'll probably get the chance to play with President Obama...he might not be President anymore by the time that happens, but it's conceivable. We've talk about it on occasion, but I think we can agree that won't be a priority anytime soon! The President would like to tee it up more, I know that...But of course it's not realistic. It would be an honor if it happens...Hopefully, it will. I think we're probably about the same skill level...I'm a 13-handicap...I'm guessing there won't be any strokes offered!
Alan (South Florida) [via mobile]
Mike, who had a bigger impact on sports and culture: MJ or Jim Brown? I contend it's Brown due to his breaking down racial barriers in sports and movies due his on screen relationship with Raquel Welch.
mike wilbon (1:39 PM)
You know, w/ all the MJ conversation going on last week I thought very specifically about this question...Jim Brown had a real impact during the Civil Rights movement. He and Kareem and Arthur Ashe and Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson, among others, were front and center, unlike today's athletes who are usually removed from anything seen as controversial. It wasn't just Brown's on-screen interaction with Racquel Welch (the movie was, I believe, "One Hundred Rifles") but his boldness when it came to being involved with social issues. I am still in awe of Jim Brown in certain ways. During the Los Angeles riots in the early 1990s (cont'd)...
mike wilbon (1:43 PM)
...Jim Brown had the Crips and Bloods come to his house to talk out their issues...I was one of the people Jim invited to his home in the Hollywood Hills...I wrote about it for The Washington Post. This was, what, 1991? That's 25 years after his retirement from the NFL and he still had that kind of juice with people who never saw him play! It was staggering. They just put down their weapons and came to Jim Brown's house to talk/listen. That's power...Now, having said all that, Jordan's impact was on a culture was everywhere, but didn't have that kind of seriousness to it. The Chicago Tribune once wrote a piece saying (with plenty of reporting) that Jordan's presence meant $1 trillion to Chicago and its economy...That's just Chicago. Jordan had a global impact NO NFL player could have because American football has no impact internationally...None. People in India have no idea of who Tom Brady is...but they know Michael Jordan by the sight of his head...it's a difficult question, but one that is interesting to consider, so thank you...
Brian (New Orleans)
What was your favorite moment/memory of the NBA Allstar weekend?
mike wilbon (1:47 PM)
I don't stay long at All-Star weekend anymore. It's a TNT event, meaning that ESPN/ABC has nothing to do with it other than reporting for SportsCenter. My favorite thing, professionally speaking (I'm too old for the parties, and trust me, that's what All-Star Weekend is, a raging three-day party) is the Friday media availability. All the players and coaches participating in the weekend are available to chat up, and I fly in for that...Got to spend some time talking with/listening to seven or eight players I needed to hear on specific subjects I'm interested in, or are projected to come up in the days immediately following. Really enjoyed some time talking with Erik Spoelstra, Miami's coach, who's just an incredibly bright man who doesn't get nearly the credit he deserves for that team's success...So that access is my favorite thing. I've seen 20-plus dunk contests and 3-point shootouts and games and that part of it doesn't do much for me anymore...But the ability to sit with, say, Luol Deng or Chris Bosh or Blake Griffin or Kevin Garnett for an extended period is what matters to me...
mike: what do you make of unc/uva/gt to B1G rumors? just another step towards 4 16 team power conferences?
mike wilbon (1:48 PM)
That rumor was out there a couple of months ago, back when Maryland and Rutgers bolted the ACC for the Big Ten...but I think those have been pretty much put to rest, right? North Carolina issued a statement saying they were staying in the ACC...I haven't heard any new rumblings...
Do you think Devin Hester and a 3rd rd pick for Percy Harvin feasible to you?
mike wilbon (1:52 PM)
No. You don't trade for return men eight years into their careers. You draft one and get him on the cheap, young and on the way up. Devin Hester, bless his Hall of Fame heart, is past the point of havin the kind of on-field impact he had from 2006 to 2011...That's it. The tank has to be close to E. How many players in the history of football are great in the return game at nearly 30? You really think this new staff is going to go all-in with Hester, who didn't really do anything of impact last season. I don't want to sound ungrateful...Hester is the greatest return man in the history of the NFL...But I don't see another club being interested in TRADING for him...signing him, sure...but a 3rd round draft pick should be a starter for your team...That's WAAAAAY too much...The Bears would like jump at that alone, much less a third and Harvin....
If the Bulls do trade away assets (Rip, Boozer if possible) to get under the luxury tax, do they just keep Rose out for the season? And can the Bulls replace those guys (Taj at PF and ? at SG) easily or is it going to hurt them long-term?
mike wilbon (1:56 PM)
The Bulls appear to be in really good shape, long-term. Remember, they have--and I'm not looking at the roster as I write these words--five players, I think, who are on really short-term deals (one year, or a second with option of some kind)...who can be swept off the cap after this season...AND they've got that first-round pick that belongs to Charlotte (so Bulls fans have to continue to root AGAINST MJ and the Bobcats) AND Mirotic (hope I spelled his name right), the 6-10, 6-11 stud/kid playing in Europe they drafted a couple of years ago...I would be uber cautious about bringing back DRose simply because the Bulls can't beat Miami in a series this year...That has to be the primary consideration: how does the club get in position to beat Miami? You treat Rose accordingly and not wear him out on a comeback...Thibs knows one speed: full-out, so Pax and Gar will have to protect against that...They have to.
Will the Bulls finally trade Carlos Boozer for the Shooting Guard they need or for a stretch 4 like Bargnani?
mike wilbon (1:57 PM)
Bargnani isn't a 2-guard for the Bulls, doesn't rebound at 6-10, and doesn't score as much as Boozer. This, to me, would be insane. Keep Boozer, who has played well this season, unless you get some crazy offer...Bargnani isn't a great offer.
Mike, Bulls season ticket holder here, I am absolutely torn about my thoughts on Rose's return. Part of me thinks that if he feels healthy enough to return, then he should (and of course I am super anxious to see him play). However, I also kind of wonder if a punchers chances at taking down the Heat this year is worth the risk. To have Rose just continue his rehab through the summer and prepare for next season seems to make a lot of sense with the way Lebron is playing right now. Also, I get the feeling that everyone in Chicago would fully support Rose and would almost prefer if he just played it safe, so I hope he knows this and does not try to make a comeback this year for us. We know how hard he works and how much he cares and we just want to see him healthy for the next 10 years.
mike wilbon (2:00 PM)
I'm posting your thoughtful comment because it's the core of a real dilemma. There's no easy or sure answer, no guarantee. It's really one of those things that keeps the people in charge and making decisions up all night, trying to figure out what the hell is the right thing to do...
Michael [via mobile]
Hey MW, saw on PTI yesterday you thought it was "Izzo's time" and thought Sparty would win last night. Just wondering what your thoughts on the Hoosiers are on the Hoosiers after the impressive road win
mike wilbon (2:04 PM)
That was a GREAT win for the Hoosiers. Not a good win, a great one. And another fabulous Big Ten game...There have been a half-dozen of them, at least. I thought Michigan State would continue its mastery over the Hoosiers in East Lansing and Tom Crean's boys said "enough of that." Victor O is one helluva player, maybe the conference's player of the year, which is saying something. IU has some tough games left, as you surely know, at Michigan and vs. Ohio State, but the Hoosiers are in the driver's seat in the Big Ten AND on pace to get a No. 1 seed...Having said all that, I don't expect them to run the table and I'm laughing right now at all the people who want to take a great win in February and turn it into a prediction about March. I expect ALL the top 10 teams to lose a game between now and the Big Dance...IU too. Would that forecast anything? No. There's no super team out there and its going to be difficult to navigate...BUT, great win for the Hoosiers.
jeff (Los Angeles)
MW- what's your thoughts on Jerry Buss? Greatest owner ever?
mike wilbon (2:10 PM)
Thanks for bringing up Mr. Buss. He has to be in the conversation for Greatest Owner Ever, right? 10 championships in 30 years? How can he not be? And it's not only what he did for the Lakers, but what he did for the NBA, along with Jerry Reisndorf, David Stern...Remember, the NBA Finals games were on tape delay when Buss took over the Lakers. He was the final word in creating the most important brand in the NBA today. Yes, the Lakers, because of their 10 in 30 years, surpassed the Celtics as a global brand...The Celtics and then the Bulls are probably next in line...Look at the people Buss had in his employ, from Jerry West to Magic to Kobe Bryant. It's staggering, really. Goodness knows what's going to happen to the Lakers now with his son Jim in charge of basketball operations.
Alan (South Florida) [via mobile]
Mike, speaking of current athletes being more outspoken on social issues I really like Lebron has been speaking out about guns and also about the Trayvon Martin case. Glad to see he is less afraid than other current athletes.
mike wilbon (2:12 PM)
LeBron is 28 years old now. He's not a kid anymore. And when you're 28 with the kind of experiences LeBron has, you're really about 38. He's done a lot of living in 10 years, and like you, I really like the way LeBron is evolving. Most people aren't ready at 20 or 22 to have a fully developed voice. We see people who are 6-foot-8 and worth tens of millions and think they're mature enough to have a view on the world, and they're not. LeBron is there now...It's a good thing for basketball, a good thing for him...
Why do you only answer people from Chi-Town?
mike wilbon (2:14 PM)
If you think I actually look at people's names when I'm answering these questions, much less the places where they say they're from, you'd be really mistaken. I look at the questions, period, that's it, that's all...And you're from Idaho...Why did I take yours?
What would you think about a Carmelo Anthony - Denver like trade to get Rondo to the Pacers? The Pacers get a top 3 pg to pair with Paul George and could contend seriously for championships for years. He would bring championship experience to a young and hungry team. Thoughts?
mike wilbon (2:15 PM)
Why do you think the Celtics would trade Rondo to the Pacers and NOT require Paul George in return? So you should get the Celtics best player and they'll want your spare parts? Really? Why?
JJ Redick to the Bulls seems to make a lot of sense for the Bulls, but what could they offer the Magic in return? Is JJ worth a 1st round pick?
mike wilbon (2:17 PM)
I don't know if the Magic want the Bulls first-round pick this year, but if they do, I'd send it to them for JJ Reddick in a heart beat. Now, if I'm the Bulls I am NOT giving up that first-round pick that belongs to Charlotte and will probably be used in 2015 or 2016...I love JJ, but that Charlotte pick (I think from the Tyrus Thomas trade) could be the first pick in the draft.
Josh (Deerfield, IL)
What about this possible offer? Boozer, Teague, Bellineli, Charlotte 1st round we got in the Tyrus Thomas trade, and 1-2 conditional 1st round picks for Kevin Love
mike wilbon (2:18 PM)
Oooooh, you're getting me all tingly now! I'm not giving up 2 conditional first-rounders though...Maybe one...and the Charlotte pick and Boozer? Okay...but I gotta keep Mirotic, too...I gotta go on YouTube today and see the latest on that kid and how he's playing this season...
JP (Columbus, OH)
Mike - the dunk contest is so played out. They need to either get rid of it or tweak it. My idea would be to make it an open competition. Let the best dunkers in the world participate, NBA or not. There are creative, amazing dunkers out there doing things we haven't seen before - with no props. I haven't seen an original dunk in the NBA dunk contest since Vince Carter. Open the competition up to the world's best dunkers. It's not like anyone's heard of half the guys that participate in it now, anyway. Thoughts?
mike wilbon (2:20 PM)
Hell, I don't need any thoughts; I love yours. I think the Dunk Contest needs to go away for 5 years...Let people miss it, if they do...If not, leave it out longer. People get wed to these ideas, which become culturally passe. The Dunk Contest was the greatest thing in the world. Now, it's the most boring thing in the world. Let it go. Be creative, replace it with something smarter for now...And when that thing runs its course, get rid of it...
I agree the Vikings would never do it, but Frank in Chicago was suggesting a 3rd rounder in addition to Hester for Harvin
mike wilbon (2:21 PM)
Ohhhhh, my bad...Thanks for getting me straight on that...I don't think the Vikings would do that either...AND, I don't think such a deal goes down between division rivals...I just don't think Hester has any more trade value. Not at this point.
Wouldn't it make sense for Rose to return if for nothing else than to get the playoff experience that a 24 year old superstar needs in order to have long term success?
mike wilbon (2:21 PM)
Yes, it would make sense...AND, it would help Pax and Gar figure out how to proceed building a roster after seeing what kind of player Rose is NOW. Yes.
You're running the Lakers (without the supervision of Jim Buss)...what do you do with the Lakers? Trade Nash? Howard? Stand pat?
mike wilbon (2:23 PM)
I trade Howard now...See if the Suns are interested in taking back Nash (people in Arizona hate that team without Nash)...The Lakers should have been getting Jose Calderon from Toronto before he went to Detroit...I just don't see the Lakers recovering in time to become the 8 seed and get crushed by OKC.
Alan ( South Florida) [via mobile]
Mike, how about for the All Star game they replace the dunk contest with a two-on-two tournament?
mike wilbon (2:24 PM)
Didn't I say that last week? Maybe this is great minds thinking alike. YES!
akilah, chicago [via mobile]
If for unforeseen reasons, you were only able to watch one sport for the rest of your life, which one would you choose? Why?
mike wilbon (2:27 PM)
I couldn't pick. I'm seasonal. Grew up on baseball as a first love, came to pro football relatively late (10, 11 years old) and became an addict...feel basketball in my bones more than anything else...played tennis, obsessed with golf...can't do it. I need the sports changes that come with seasonal changes. I want September/October baseball and October college football and December/January pro football, March Madness, NBA spring playoffs, summer golf and tennis...it all fits and makes sense to me that way. Can't pick. Can't. I love 'em all, and need a great from the all...Damn good question though.
Josh (Deerfield, IL) [via mobile]
I never said mirotic michael, I wouldn't trade him either. Deng will be available possibly next year b/c butler is developing so quickly.
mike wilbon (2:27 PM)
I know you didn't...I was just throwing that in there!
Josh (Deerfield, IL) [via mobile]
Do u think the one of the reasons superstars don't come to chicago is because of the shadow of MJ? Also I think it has to do with rose not recruiting guys to come play in chicago
mike wilbon (2:28 PM)
Ahhh, you found it...It was the latter, not the former. People go to Los Angeles as free agents despite all those greats forming an imposing shadow. It has nothing to do with MJ...By the way, I admired the way Rose said he wasn't going out there to beg LeBron or anybody else to come to Chicago...I LOVE that about Rose.
I see your point. But why should Hibbert, Granger, and West be considered spare parts? All 3 have been all-stars and could definitely contribute to rebuild if that is what the Celtics decide to do going forward.
mike wilbon (2:30 PM)
Hmmm...Well, thing is Caitlin that while I love Hibbert, he's underperformed this season. Granger has been hurt quite a bit (so has Rondo, to be fair) and West is just past his prime...I'd have to get more for Rondo...who in the four players you mention is the only player of impact. The Celtics would be giving up a player of impact and not getting one back.
Steve (Erie, PA)
Any chance anyone can take the NCAA and King Emmert seriously anymore?
mike wilbon (2:30 PM)
No. He's been a joke..Just a bigger joke now.
Chris Wallace (Memphis)
Some GMs trade their best player for spare parts.
mike wilbon (2:31 PM)
Ha! Love that. You think Chris was the driver behind that trade? I don't think so...But your point is on the money!
mike wilbon (2:31 PM)
Okay, gotta run and prepare for PTI and for NBA Countdown, which is back in action tonight with Rose/Simmons/Wilbon/Johnson! Tune in...See you guys Monday for more chatting...Thanks so much! MW