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!
Michael Wilbon (1:23 PM)
Mike will join the chat at 1:45. He is traveling from Miami this morning, coming back from the Spurs @ Heat game.-Khaleelah
Michael Wilbon (1:54 PM)
Hi Everybody...thanks for joining in...Just getting back from Miami where I covered a dud yesterday, Spurs @ Heat...Wow, that fell short of Game 6 and 7 in the Finals last June, huh? It was a game for a half, then it wasn't...A rare triumph for Eastern Conference??? okay, here we go...
Gill (Mpls, MN)
Did the new format for the Pro Bowl bring in extra viewers? Can't say I watched more than a couple of snaps? Did you?
Michael Wilbon (2:00 PM)
I never watch the Pro Bowl. Seriously, I haven't watched it in 30 years...I know a great many people DO care, but I just have no bid for exhibition games...not NFL, not NBA, not NHL, none of it...If there's nothing on the line I just can't work up the interest for it. There such an inventory of sports on TV now...I can watch college hoops this last week, the NBA, professional golf (men's and women's)...I don't need to watch an exhibition football game to get my sports fix...
Paul (Phoenix, AZ)
Is Jeff Hornacek the leading candidate for Caoch of the year? What is your impression of the Phoenix suns so far.
Michael Wilbon (2:05 PM)
The Suns look GREAT! And yeah, Hornacek is a huge part of what's happened there so far. Nobody, and I mean nobody had the Suns this far above .500. And they're playing pretty well even without Eric Bledsoe...have you seen the numbers Miles Plumlee is putting up out there, the double-doubles? He's got to be my "most improved" player in the NBA, even ahead of Lance Stephenson...But they have these parts, which most people said were totally mismatched when the season begins, which Hornacek has working. Dragic ain't ever gonna be mistaken for Steve Nash, but he can score, can defend, is athletic, doesn't back down, and brings a certain tenacity to the job every day. I love watching the Suns...a totally surprise.
Deven (New York, NY)
Who's your pick for the Super Bowl?
Michael Wilbon (2:11 PM)
I don't know. It's too early in the week. I think I'm leaning toward Seattle...but let me hear the back-and-forth over the next few days...I'm really not into the "who ya got" over the Super Bowl. I LOVE the matchup, love the No. 1 offense vs. No. 1 defense. I like that there's an all-time great player, Peyton, vs. an up-and-comer, Wilson. But the picking thing is so, waste-of-time to me. I'm kinda rooting for Peyton, just because I'd like to see him win another SB. BUT, I'm a guy who loves defense-first, which leads me to want to see a league tilted toward defense, by policy, succumb to a defensive team...But picking score and who's going to win? I just don't care about that element of it...
Deven (New York, NY)
Any takeaways on the Finals rematch yesterday?
Michael Wilbon (2:20 PM)
It's hard to come away from that with anything definitive. San Antonio was playing without three starters (Splitter, Leonard and Green), and while Dwyane Wade points out that nobody plugs and plays like the Spurs, I think we know the Spurs can't beat Miami or Indy, and probably not OKC or the Clippers or Warriors without three starters. They need their full compliment of guys, and presumably will have that by the playoffs...just as Miami isn't going to beat Indy without Wade playing fairly close to the way he did last year in the conference finals and Finals...And that's Miami's challenge, to get that team through the regular season while protecting Wade, while getting Wade enough reps not to become rusty and off his game, but enough rest to be raring to go physically. AND, should Coach Spo bring Wade off the bench, thereby letting the starting five (with Ray Allen) get into a groove playing together...Wade could then miss a few more games and not worry about whether the starting five is in synch...Also, I'm always reminded of just how effective, how great LeBron James is at every phase of basketball. Still, he needs a consistent tag-team partner and you have to wonder if Chris Bosh, who is on a tear lately, can be that player if Wade is diminished? Can Bosh keep bringing bigger players out to guard him, thereby opening up all kinds of space around the basket for LeBron to operate...So, lots of small things but nothing HUGE...Oh,
Deven (New York, NY)
Prediction: Will Carmelo Anthony be a Knick after the trade deadline passes?
Michael Wilbon (2:20 PM)
Yes, I think so.
What is your take on the rumors linking Melo and the Bulls? What would be the incentive for him to go there?
Michael Wilbon (2:31 PM)
Ah, now we're into something new and interesting. There are prominent players out there (and coaches and agents) who believe folks close to Carmelo are putting it out there that he'd be interested in going to the Bulls as a free agent...not via trade...that way Melo could play on a front line with Jokim Noah and Taj Gibson AND with a scoring point guard (Derrick Rose) AND a floor-stretching shooter (Nikola Mirotic, the best player in Europe the Bulls drafted a few years ago and plan to bring over at 23 years of age for next season)...So, Melo could in theory join a team that could challenge Indy and Miami...or anybody in the East...Now, the Bulls would have to clear some more salary cap room, which would start with using the amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer and finding some way to dump the $3 million or so salary of Mike Dunleavy, who I like a ton and would love to keep...But in terms of whether, as a lifelong Bulls fan, I'd want to see that happen? Oh hell, yes. Absolutely. At that point Carmelo Anthony is saying, "I've scored, I've been in All-Star games, I've won Olympic gold, I've done everything EXCEPT WIN IN THE PLAYOFFS!" Carmelo's never been to the conference finals, has he? I don't think so. The Knicks, WITH Carmelo, are nothing, zero. And its not like they're going to re-sign Carmelo and re-make the team at the same time...I was in Chicago Saturday and couldn't believe how much of the buzz surrounding the Bulls was about Carmelo...It was, of course, coming 24 hours after that 62-point game that said to the entire basketball world, "I can still do it, fella. Yes, I can!"
Lee M. (CA)
Hey Wilbon, what did you think of the pro bowl? Did you like the format?
Michael Wilbon (2:33 PM)
I've already said I don't watch the game. But I don't know that I like the format either. I mean, I like Deion and jerry choosing up the sides like on the playground. I like that. But how do you decide who to root for? I like the grey jerseys? How do you know who is playing for whom? Look, I'm sure people who care about the Pro Bowl, and there are millions, have ideas that they care about...I just would like the Pro Bowl to go away...
Mike- The sports world- it seems- has recently been obsessed with talk of legacies (Manning, LBJ, A-Rod, etc.) But fans have notoriously short memories. In 100 years- it's conceivable none of the major sports exist- or if they do might look very different than they are now. Why are we so obsessed with trying to determine sporting legacies?
Michael Wilbon (2:35 PM)
Bless you, Tom. We're starting that way on PTI today, too, with Peyton Manning and his legacy. You're right. Who debates the legacy today of Joe Louis, who was 1,000 times more important to generations of Americans (and bigger news world wide) than Peyton Manning could ever be? Nobody talks about it. Boxing barely rates on the cultural meter anymore. I'm tired of the legacy stuff...
Who, in your opinion, are the 5 best players at each position in NBA Histroy? PG, SG, SF, PF, C.
Michael Wilbon (2:41 PM)
Damn...Good question. Hard question. Okay, Magic at point guard, that's easy. Michael Jordan at shooting guard, is easy as well. Center. How can I not go with Bill Russell? All he did was win the games. And I say that KNOWING a young Kareem was a better passer, better offensive player. And Wilt was the most unstoppable force in the history of pro sports in America. BUT, I'm taking Russell anyway. I'm gonna take Larry Joe Bird at small forward and Kevin McHale at power forward...YES, over Karl Malone. And Tim Duncan is NOT a power forward. He's a center. By the way, what I'd do if you didn't designate by position would be to give you a first-team of Magic and Jordan, Bird and Rusell (at power forward) and Kareem or Wilt at center...But it's a wonderful Barbershop question and I love to debate it always...
Why can't the wizards get above .500? Also, should that even be their goal. It seems like they are too focused on getting above .500 and not becoming a better team.
Michael Wilbon (2:51 PM)
I asked this very question to Jeff Van Gundy yesterday and we were talking about whether there's simply a phase a team has to go through before it can do what we all think should be happening: The Wizards, just looking at the talent, should be over .500. Wall and Beal are really young and talented players. And with guys like Nene and Trevor Ariza and Gortat it just seems like the Wizards have enough...But maybe it's gonna take the full regular season with this group. Their play is sooooo uneven. They go big-game hunting against the likes of Miami, then look like a team not ready for prime time on their home court against the Pistons. I still expect the Wizards to finish 4th or 5th in the Eastern Conference, but we'll revisit that March 1 and see if the Wizards are still having the same disappointing losses...at which time I'll moonwalk right out of that prediction.
Hey Mike, I know you touched on it last week, but after everyone has come out and said what they thought, atleast 50% of the reactions I've seen have sided with Belichick, most notably players around the league (Jairus Byrd, Walter Thurmond, Troy Brown etc.). While I don't think Welker meant to harm Talib in any way shape or form, I whole heartedly belive it was 100% intentional, and I just don't see it as a legal hit no matter what NFL employees claim to say. If Welker were on D and Talib on O, this is a fine everytime....and twice on Sundays.
Michael Wilbon (2:54 PM)
Oh, I totally agree the hit was intentional...It was SUPPOSED TO BE INTENTIONAL. It's a pick play. Belichick should know because his teams run those plays all the time. But intention to run a play and hit a guy ain't the same as intention to hurt him...That was my point, I don't think Welker, particularly at his size, can go into any play thinking he's going to injure somebody. I ain't buying THAT part of the equation...
Would you rather have Mirotic coming over next year and a pick in next year's draft in the 6-10 range?
Michael Wilbon (2:57 PM)
Oh, from what I've seen on video I'd rather have Mirotic...He's the best player in Europe for the second straight year, and that league is MUCH better than college basketball in the U.S. these days, not even close. So, Mirotic, who I believe will be 22 this spring, should come as a pretty mature player who is accustomed to professional expectations...there will still be an adjustment and he'll have his hat handed to him some nights, but I'd take him in a heartbeat...probably rather have him than the No. 4 or 5 pick...
I know you said you don't care for exhibition games - and on this point, I feel you - but I love MLB Spring Training. Do you watch pre-season baseball, and if so, what makes baseball different than the other sports? Also, do you watch the MLB all-star game? I actually find that game enjoyable as well.
Michael Wilbon (3:02 PM)
Great question. I do. I go and take my son in Arizona and sit in the sun and explain baseball to him and the pace is so leisurely... you can interact with the players and coaches if you so choose. I've found at almost 6 years old he gets more out of the spring training games, from the standpoint of learning the game, than from me taking him to Wrigley or The Cell (Yes, I take him to both) or Nationals Park where the size and scope of it all can be overwhleming to a kid and he's distracted from the actual game. I do love spring training, but not the competitive part of it, not the score, not who wins or loses...I just love the experience of it...
Do you think Villanova can make a final four run? Also can you get Jay Wright on PTI?
Michael Wilbon (3:06 PM)
Nobody has any idea about runs to the Final Four yet; I certainly don't. But I like Villanova. We've had Jay Wright on PTI before and likely will again...Really terrific coach, great guest, best-dressed coach out there in the college game, right?
Michael Wilbon (3:07 PM)
Okay, TK is yelling at me to join the gang here at PTI so I gotta run...thanks for chatting everybody...have a great week and we'll chat next week on THE DAY AFTER...the Super Bowl, of course.