Chat with Michael Wilbon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN's Michael Wilbon stops by to chat and share his thoughts on the Kentucky-UConn national championship.
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 Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:14 PM)
Hey folks, Mike is running a little behind today, so he won't be here until 2 p.m. ET to take your questions!
Deven (New York, NY)
Think Coach Cal leaves Kentucky to coach in the NBA again? And speaking of which, why are some college coaches reluctant to coach in the pros? What's their deal?
mike wilbon (2:22 PM)
We start here (UCONN stuff in a minute) because this seems to be the talk of office places everywhere this morning and this afternoon...It's certainly Topic A in the PTI newswroom...Anyway, we'll jump right into last night's game and the upcoming NBA playoffs which can't begin soon enough, for my tastes...Now, as for Cal...I'd leave. Why stay? University of Kentucky basketball fans, as a group, are as ungrateful as any fanbase in America in any sport. Look, fans of winning teams everywhere have an unbelievable sense of entitlement and arrogance about them but NOBODY has it like Kentucky basketball fans in my 34 years of covering sports. Why does Cal need that after winning a title and making three trips to the Final Four...It's not enough for them. NOTHING is enough for them...So Cal should leave. Lakers? Fine. The Lakers SHOULD hire Cal. I don't say this for most college coaches but Cal isn't just a college coach. He's coached in the NBA...It wasn't great. He made the playoffs once in only two full seasons...Got Swept. He can do better...I'm sure he wants it again. I feel about Cal a little bit like I felt about Pete Carroll...Pete needed a third shot. His first two were just, well, okay...
Deven (New York, NY)
Shabazz Napier is the best college athlete in the country: True or False?
mike wilbon (2:32 PM)
Why would you even undertake such a debate? Do you know all of the kids out there playing soccer and lacrosse and baseball and competing at track & field? Is Napier better than Jadaveon Clowney? Napier just won a national championship, his second. That means he's a GREAT college basketball player. Do I think he's a better athlete than some LSU or Auburn cornerback? I don't know. It doesn't matter. The kid just did something nobody has ever done: he won as a freshman (Okay, Kemba Walker did most of that lifting) and he won as a senior...Isn't that praise enough? NOBODY EVER HAS DONE IT...Okay, Grant Hill nearly did before Scotty Thurman or Arkansas killed that with a long 3-pointer in the title game in 1994. But Napier did it.
Deven (New York, NY)
Are the Spurs unbeatable?
mike wilbon (2:34 PM)
No. Nobody in the NBA is unbeatable. There's no 1996 Bulls team out there...or magic/worthy/Riley/Kareem Lakers or Bird/McHale/Parish/DJ Celtics...nobody like that. The Spurs can be beaten...by OKC, by the Clippers...Hell, maybe in the second round by the Rockets...The Spurs are playing the best right now, but they were playing the best a couple of years ago when they won the first 2 games of the series then got swept by OKC...Things change quickly in professional basketball, sometimes overnight.
Do you think you will throw another 1st pitch for the Cubs?
mike wilbon (2:36 PM)
Goodness, once is enough, right? I was thrilled to be asked once and don't expect to be asked again but if asked I'd probably say yes...Would be hard to top the conditions the first time: Cubs in first place, playing the Cardinals on a picture-perfect Sunday 6 p.m. game...a career highlight for me...
Cory (Omaha, NE)
If OKC doesn't get to the NBA Finals, there's going to be talk about them dumping Brooks to get Ollie (unless Westbrook or Durant get injured as a legit excuse). Not sure it would actually happen or Ollie would even accept if asked, but the chatter among fans and media would take place with the Ollie/Durant relationship. Agreed?
mike wilbon (2:40 PM)
Oh yes, good pull Cory. Yep. That chatter will exist this spring if OKC loses before the Finals. I don't think a loss to Miami or even the Spurs in the conference finals would lead to that talk...maybe it would...But a loss in the second round to the Clippers (which could happen) would spark it...Those Durant quotes from the Bill Simmons podcast about Ollie being a game-changer in terms of professionalism, which were simply meant to compliment Ollie, would be front and center in such talk about replacing Brooks WITH Ollie...Personally, I think Brooks is a pretty damn good coach who manages a tough situation well.
Is there any concern in the NBA Front Office about how bad the Eastern Confernence was this year, where a team like the Knicks who is below .500 is competing for a playoff spot?
mike wilbon (2:43 PM)
Temporary concern? Yes. But these things happen in cyclical fashion. There were years (think early 1990s) when the East was a monster (Bulls, Knicks, Pacers, Cavaliers, Sixers, Bucks) and the West was relatively weak...Happens in every sport...think about the AFC v NFC and how it flip-flops. So, do I think Adamn Silver and his guys are sitting around fretting over the East? A little bit. The big issue is that New York, Philly, Boston--that's millions of hoop heads--could be totally uninterested in the playoffs. THAT is the cradle of basketball...
Rumors are that both Calipari and Ollie are candidates to coach the Lakers. Who would do a better job and why?
mike wilbon (2:53 PM)
We talked about this yesterday on PTI...I think you could make the case for both, Cal based on coaching a professional style of play as is at Kentucky (and Memphis) and having coached in the NBA already...and Ollie based on a 13-year playing career and staying in the league so long on (mostly) heady play, on professionalism, on preparedness, on mastering the intellectual and emotional aspects of the game...I think Cal is going to get a high-profile job if he wants it...he could do television for a year and wait...but there are several NBA franchises that have Calipari-recruited stars (John Wall in D.C., D. Cousins in Sacramento, Anthony Davis in New Orleans)...and might consider him. I can't see the Pelicans parting with Monty Williams...It'll be intresting to see what reports come out about what teams might be interested in either...
Jason (Wilmington, DE)
Hi Mike. Thanks for doing these chats; they are one of the highlights of my week! What's up with you and TK lately? I typically enjoy you two going at it, but lately the "arguments" have taken on a bit more vitriol. I'm fearing a separation!
mike wilbon (2:56 PM)
What? Naaaaaa. We do that all the time and it measn nothing 10 minutes later...We just "made it rain" on TK with his March Madness bracket winnings...smiles all around. We'd be playing golf during our Masters "blackout" Wednesday, Thursday and Friday except I'm bailing out of here to go to Arizona and play...I just spent minutes yesterday trying to convince TK to come with me to AZ to play...to no avail...So sorry to disappoint, but its as blissful as ever for the entire PTI staff, even in year 13...and for me and TK...even in year 34...
Do you feel all college DI Athletes should be paid, or just Football and Basketball?
mike wilbon (3:00 PM)
I don't know how I feel...My feelings slide and move a little every few months or years...I like the Olympic model now, that players should be allowed to sell their jerseys or make deals that benefit them financially IF THEY CAN...Not all athletes can do that but some can and its not exclusive to football and basketball players. There are women's lacrosse players at Northwestern, where we've won 7 NCAA titles in 9 years, who might use their status to financial benefit...same with women's basketball players at UCONN or Stanford...or golfers in the ACC...maybe they could give lessons and get paid DURING the season...Look, somebody more creative than I am will have to provide some solutions...but I am in favor of that...
I know you don't care or know much about hockey, but were you serious when you advocated the Capitals should trade Ovechkin if they miss the playoffs? Given all the problems the Caps have, trading arguably the league's best player would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater, no?
mike wilbon (3:04 PM)
I have probably been to an NHL game more recently than you have (Blues at Blackhawks Sunday) so don't presume you know how much I care about hockey...and yes if the Capitals can't make the playoffs with Ovechkin what the hell good is he? If you can't make the playoff in a sport where 16 of 30 franchises qualify, then what good is he? Seriously. You could trade Ovechkin, perhaps, and get two front line players and a draft pick and maybe save some money to help acquire yet another player. You gotta do something! Just having a big goal scorer doesn't mean anything. He ranks 862nd in plus-minus...that's the worst in the NHL. THE WORST! You want to justify that. He doesn't play both ways, doesn't help his team win...So, what should the Capitals' objective be, to watch Ovie get awarded with another Hart Trophy or to try and win a Stanley Cup???
Do you think shows like PTI and Around The Horn could talk more boxing? There is a big Pacquiao-Bradley II fight this weekend, and your show could get casual fans interested.
mike wilbon (3:05 PM)
I'd love to...I'd love for their to be more big prize fights (as we used to call them)...Go back and look at the PTIs from the 2001, 2002, 2003 and you'd be amazed at how much more boxing we had...Tony and I LOVE boxing...
Leo (Salt Lake)
Mike! WHat are your thoughts on the Pac-Man Vs Bradley fight?? Will the winner fight Mayweather?
mike wilbon (3:07 PM)
Isn't Pac Man just done now? And even if he isn't do we really think, after the defeats he's suffered, that he can beat Mayweather? This is a fight that needed to happen five years ago, seven years ago...Now, I just don't have the juice for it any longer...
Kelly (Washington D.C.)
How much vetoing power do you and TK have over certain topics making PTI if a story reaches overkill? I've always wondered this as a viewer. Love the chat, Mike!
mike wilbon (3:10 PM)
Our producers--Erik Rydholma and Matt Kelliher--along with Tony and I have overwhelming say...I guess Bristol CAN be involved but rarely is...The news of the day usually isn't that difficult to discern...Some days it is. Some days there is total overkill that makes one of us (me or TK) roll our eyes and ask out...for me its usually some overblown east coast story regarding the Jets or Yankees that I don't give a damn about. Sometimes I prevail, sometimes I'm wrong and its a worthy story and we hash it out...The key is the four of us (plus important voices like Tony Reali's) hashing it out and makine sure we have the best conversations on our air...
mike wilbon (3:11 PM)
Okay, gotta run and prepare for PTI...Thanks for chatting on Championship Tuesday. Goodness, on Monday we'll be starting the NBA Playoff week...Can't wait...Talk then...have a great week and thanks for chatting...MW