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 1:30 p.m. ET!
Tom (Pingree Grove, Illinois)
Hi, Mike: Thank you for your various contributions throughout ESPN; I enjoy your work. While the return may be somewhat limited, it is a given that the Bulls will now explore trading Deng and Boozer, but what I am wondering is if they try expanding a potential trade's parameters. The Bulls face two future issues, including revamping the core, but also preparing for the possibility that, long term, Derrick may not be the franchise player given his injury battles. Consequently, an expanded trade including perhaps Taj Gibson or even Joakim Noah might provide a future valuable piece and not simply eliminate payroll. Thank you.
mike wilbon (1:46 PM)
Hi Everybody...Sad day for a lot of us, Bulls fans everywhere, but especially for Chicagoans and even more so for a kid who grew up across the street from Simeon High School and played basketball in that gym on many a cold winter day/evening...So, while we'll get to the NFL in a minute, but the big news for some of us today is D. Rose being out for the season again...with this injury really putting into play the convesation that the Bulls may have to hit the reset button and not look at Rose as franchise player...It simply doesn't look like his body will allow him to play the game that he plays, with all the violent exploding and landing, in which case the Bulls have to decide what the new direction is...(more)
mike wilbon (1:48 PM)
...The Bulls HAD planned to keep Luol Deng, while adding the best player in Europe, the 22-year-old kid Mirotic who has been lighting it up over there in his professional league, and keeping the draft pick they own that belongs to Charlotte (likely used in 2016) which could be a killer pick. But we're onto that conversation now, which is not the way the summer and early fall went, when Rose was back and trying to play his way back to his MVP form...which ain't, sadly, gonna happen now...if ever.
That last wildcard spot in the AFC seems like a game of hot potato. The Bills have the easiest schedule coming up and 9-7 will get them that spot...
mike wilbon (1:52 PM)
Do you know how many teams are in it for that last playoff spot in the AFC? I'm thinking more in the direction of the Steelers or Ravens for that spot...I can't see the Bills winning that spot, BUT it would be a great story to have Buffalo make the playoffs, given how irrelevent that franchise has been in recent years. I have great memories of covering the Bills during their great run that produced 4 trips to the Super Bowl, of being in Buffalo where the Bills provided so much of the region's identity, of all those great players like Bruce Smith and Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed...I loved watching those teams and think they look better and better, even in defeat, as we move away from that time...So, I would love if it the Bills got good again, but I'm not holding my breath for that to happen this year.
If you were a high profile professional athlete today faced with dozens of questions from sports reporters on a regular basis, would you be the sort who gives "non-answer" answers (e.g. "just taking it one game at a time" or would you give real answers and run the risk they your comments get blown out of proportion (see RGIII last week about Philly defense). Seems like there is only potential downside for the guys who give candid answers.
mike wilbon (2:02 PM)
I get your point, but there are tons of athletes who give real answers. I talk to them all the time. You ever listen to a guy like Bart Scott? He's so damn conversant...on anything and everything...Same w Ray Allen...Even though he can be a little volatile, Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers is a great talker, a thoughtful and smart guy who is totally engaging. You ever listen to LeBron James vs. most other athletes? LeBron doesn't answer in cliches at all. Nor does Kobe Bryant...There are some all-time great athletes--think Charles Barkley and Mike Tyson--who never answered in cliches and said exactly what was on their mind no matter what...over time I've become friends with Grant Hill and David Robinson, just to name two men off the top of my head, who were never cliched...never... brilliant people. My friends and colleagues Magic Johnson, Jalen Rose and John Barry were never every "one game at a time" guys when it came to talking to the media...I know what you're saying and there are plenty of those, but I tend to avoid them...There are too many thoughtful guys in various locker rooms (Peanut Tillman of the Bears seems like a guy destined for a broadcast career, for example...) for me to seek out guys who might be smart but not that engaging, might be afraid of management to say much of anything substantive, or might not have anything to say...
You used to be very hard on Tony Romo with his empty stats, but what about Peyton Manning? Last night was just another example of him coming up empty in a big game.
mike wilbon (2:11 PM)
Yeah...you're right. Now let's be fair, though; Peyton Manning has come up with many, many, many more great performances in big games than Tony Romo, who I think has won one playoff game. You can't equate the two. You just can't. Now, did Peyton have a great game last night when it was on the line? No. Peyton didn't allow those 21 points in the third quarter, did he? A 24-0 lead ought to be enough...except that you're playing against the most clutch guy maybe in the history of pro football in Tom Brady. I think Peyton Manning is probably the smartest QB in modern time, and perhaps ever, but is he the equal of Tom Brady? No. Maybe nobody is the equal of Brady. It's like asking from 1988-1998 whether anybody was Michael jordan's equal...and we know the answer to that, too. So I still think Peyton is great, one of the all-time greats...but not Brady.
Parker. Wiggins. Randle. All doing a pretty good job living up to the hype if I do say so myself. Too soon to compare this draft to the '03 draft?
mike wilbon (2:13 PM)
Yeah, but not much too soon. We'll be comparing it freely to that draft by April. Problem is, as good as those guys are none is LeBron in 2003. Not even close. So, this draft could be deeper but it won't have a LeBron-type player and maybe not even a player like Wade who won an NBA Championship pretty early in his career (2006)...
Zebidiah (Amish Country)
Do you think Johnny Manziel plays another year in college or will he get drafted into the pros?
mike wilbon (2:14 PM)
No way he plays another year in college. No way. And yes, he'll be drafted, almost certainly in the top 15 picks of the first round...okay, 20 picks. Mel Kiper has him going No. 12 right now in the draft...
mike wilbon (2:14 PM)
Ooops...13th Mel has Johnny Football on the Big Board right now...
The City of Chicago (Windy City)
There's no air left in this windy city . . .
mike wilbon (2:15 PM)
I know...I've been sitting around depressed since Friday night when I was watching Bulls-Portland live...
Turner to the Bulls make sense? What will the Sixers need to get back to make the deal in your opinion?
mike wilbon (2:16 PM)
Why trade Evan Turner? I like Turner and Michael Carter-Williams playing together...
Looks like another season lost for Rose. Can you think of someone who's lost significant playing time as much as Rose has, but was still able to come back strong? Hoping to find some light at the end of the tunnel.
mike wilbon (2:16 PM)
I'm trying too...Bernard King? He came back to be an All-Star with the Bullets after his great days were ended by injuries...
Should we just pencil Heat v. Pacers into the ECF right now?
mike wilbon (2:18 PM)
yes...In fact, there are only 2 teams that look like strong playoff teams in the entire Eastern Conference. I presume the Knicks and Nets are going to pull it together, but they both look so bad now. And the Bulls will NOT be as good as they were last season because they don't have Marco Belinelli or Nate Robinson, who could both create shots for themselves and others and were on the roster last year because that team was built to play without Rose. This one was not. Pacers v Heat is all I can see right now...
Is Derrick Rose in danger of entering the Gilbert Arenas sphere of incredible talent derailed by awful injury? Makes you appreciate what Allen Iverson did for so long.
mike wilbon (2:19 PM)
Jason J (NYC)
Better NBA draft: 2003 (James, Wade, Melo, Bosh, etc.) or 1984 (Jordan, Olajuwon, Barkley, Stockton, etc.)?
mike wilbon (2:21 PM)
11 NBA Finals appearances by the 1984 guys...and 11 so far by the 2003 guys...and we presume they'll have more, given their ages now. But in terms of impact on the game, I'm taking the 1984 class, none of whom hooked up and played together, which inflates the total. But that's just me.
Should the Bulls go broke for a guy like Kevin Love? What have you got to lose? also aren't you worried that Gar forman's lack of flexibility will harm the bulls now that they have to revamp the roster?
mike wilbon (2:22 PM)
Why would Minnesota trade away a player as good as Kevin Love?
mark o (brooklyn)
can the packers still win the division?
mike wilbon (2:27 PM)
The Bears have the worst defense in the history of the franchise (helped in that direction by injuries to two guys who might one day be in the HOF, Lance Briggs and Peanut Tillman)...The Lions, who have really smart guys like Suh and Megatron and Stafford do some of the dumbest things as a team...so I EXPECT the Packers to win their final four games with Rodgers back for the stretch run and I EXPECT the Packers to win the division.
Charles (San Jose)
Is Peyton Manning smarter than Steve Young?
mike wilbon (2:29 PM)
In a uniform on a field, maybe...Steve Young's as smart as ANYBODY in real life...Who do I think would make the better coordinator WHILE playing? I might list them 1-2, Peyton, Young.
Drew (Portland OR)
The Portland Trail Blazers are off to the best start in years. Do you attribute this to an easy schedule or are they really this good?
mike wilbon (2:30 PM)
This kid Lilliard is coming along beautifully in his second season. Aldridge is already a terrific two-way player who can play multiple positions and it seems Wes Matthews has figured out what he should be doing with that team, how he should fit in, and more important what he should NOT be trying to do. Hard to watch Portland and not be impressed by what they're doing.
Jason J (NYC)
How big a factor do injuries play in the outcome of NBA seasons? I feel like the latter half of the 80's was determined entirely by Bird's back, McHale's feet, Magic's quads, and Isaiah's ankles. I don't remember the specifics of injuries in the 90s, but Jordan and Pippen staying healthy sure didn't hurt the Bulls...
mike wilbon (2:36 PM)
I had this very conversation with John Paxson a few weeks ago in Chicago. We marveled at how the core of that entire squad stayed healthy for YEARS! Not just Jordan and Pippen, which is most important, but Horace Grant and Paxson the first three years...and B.J. Armstrong and Wil Perdue and Bill Cartwright and the others...but then Dennis Rodman and Toni Kukoc and most of the others in the second threepeat. It's amazing. Look up Jordan's record of games played and its astonishing. He essentially played every game every season after missing 67 games his second season. It's a string of 81 or 82 games every single season...And boy, should nobody take THAT for granted...
Both the Giants and the Broncos ran the ball really well yesterday, and lost. Are we heading toward a league where the ground game almost doesn't matter?
mike wilbon (2:40 PM)
Great question! I think the answer is yes...But it was clear Belichick goaded the Broncos into letting (making?) Knowshon Moreno run instead of facing a ton of Peyton Manning passes. Maybe it won't work like that every game but it seemed to work last night for the Patriots, didn't it? Used to be if a guy rushed for 200 yards his team almost always won. Now, the game is so dramatically different...
Lee McPherson (Thousand Oaks, CA)
Do you think that the Lakers just shot themselves in the foot by resigning Kobe for such a large contract?
mike wilbon (2:45 PM)
No, I think the Lakers feel that given how beloved Kobe is across Southern California, in a community where the NBA matters more than anywhere else, that he has more value there than anywhere else. I think signing Kobe was the way for the Lakers to go. I really do. Is he going to be the player he has been? No. But he still has incredible value to the Lakers franchise, and to the community that team represents...
mike wilbon (2:45 PM)
okay, gotta run and prepare for PTI...Everybody have a great Thanksgiving weekend, and thanks for chatting. See you next week! MW