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 (1:32 PM)
Mike is running behind today and will join the chat at 2:10 EST-Khaleelah
Michael Wilbon (2:17 PM)
Hi Everybody...so much to get to on a full Monday...here we go...
I thought the media over hype of the Michael Sam pick was a bit much. You would have thought Bruce Smith was drafted.
Michael Wilbon (2:22 PM)
As we sit here talking about this topic in the PTI newsroom I'm realizing I'm pretty much with you. I think its overcovered now. The drafting of Michael Sam? When he plays, okay. When there are teammates whose reactions are out there, or members of the coaching staff, okay. But we've reached a point in the news business where once something is "BREAKING NEWS" people in the media biz feel as if they have to treat it that way ongoing. I don't see the need for that at all. Michael Sam's "coming out" was certainly news, and the reaction to him, positive and negative, were news...His being drafted is news to a degree, but this shadow coverage seems excessive to me...Then again, there's excessive coverage of so many things these days...and nothing is a greater example of that than the NFL draft itself...so here you've got a combination that you know won't go away: the always excssively covered NFL draft AND a legit story of great cultural importance and impact that media folks won't let go of even if a breather seems in order...
A little surprised the Bears drafted Jordan Lynch as a RB. What are the chances he makes the team trying to change positions? Does his QB experience make him more valuable?
Michael Wilbon (2:26 PM)
Well, let's get it right first. The Bears didn't draft Jordan Lynch; they signed him as an undrafted free agent, and why wouldn't they? He's a double-local kid, grew up in Chicago a Bears fan and then went to Northern Illinois where the Bears could see him have a stellar college career. Seems ideal for special teams and utility play...He's a football player. Big, strong, tough kid who's a darn good athlete...Why not sign him?
Bashe (Richmond, Virginia)
So, is Wilbon's Adversity Theory in play with the Wizards? Is this the adversity they must go through---if, indeed, they get through it---in order to mature as a team?
Michael Wilbon (2:32 PM)
Yeah, you called it. Look, there are a handful of players who avoid that step-by-step progression from playoff pain to playoff triumph...Russell, Alcindor, Magic, Bird, Tim Duncan...But magic joined a terrific cast, as did Bird...Duncan joined David Robinson...But just about everybody else has playoff heartache: see M. Jordan, #23...It's hard. John Wall is going through some big growing pains right now and I feel for him. The fact that so few kids stay in college long enough to learn the position adequately doesn't help. But Wall and Beal, in my opinion, have done about as much as you can ask on their first foray into the playoffs. They won a round as playoff rookies. yeah, I thought they could win this round, too, based on the Pacers not getting themselves together...But they have now, and Wall/Beal are learning on the job how to do with the Pacers learned 2, 3 years ago. It's a steep learning curve. It's not automatic that Wall and Beal will bounce right back and take the next step next season but I think its more likely they will.
Brian (New Orleans)
With Michael Sam being drafted, will this lead to more players (college and pro) coming out?
Michael Wilbon (3:15 PM)
My instant reaction is that Sam's coming out and subsequently being drafted--even though it appeared he wouldn't be drafted for awhile Saturday--should lead to both more gay athletes publicly declaring their sexuality and being drafted and then accepted by professional sports teams. That's my first reaction. But I also want to watch closely to see how people, mostly teams and players and coaches, react to Sam's presence. I don't know that this is going to go as smoothly as some people think, given the reaction people had Saturday to Sam's kissing his boyfriend, in part. But I hope my inclination proves to be a correct forecast.
John (Grand Rapids, MI)
Isn't it time to for the NFL to just admit, "we don't care what the fans want, we don't really care about the quality of our product, what we care about is getting to 25B in revenue". I'm with Cuban, more Thursday games, over-seas games, Saturday games, expanded playoffs, 18 game schedule...everyone of those things either has already lowered the quality of the game or will. Roger should be prepared to accept that his legacy will be, football hit it's zenith during his watch and steadily declined there-after.
Michael Wilbon (3:21 PM)
I hear what you're saying. The NFL wouldn't be the first uber arrogant entity in sports in American history. (See professional boxing)...The NFL used to sell "less is more" but now wants to wear its ring on everybody's nose and simply flood the market with product. People overseas, overwhelmingly, don't give a damn about professional football but the NFL's attitude is, "You will" as they keep pushing and pushing with little or no success. BUT, I think it will be decades before the NFL runs into any kind of trouble in that regard. Yeah, decades. The NFL is in such a superior position right now...Kinda like MLB in the 1940s...it took baseball another 40 years before the falloff was apparent. And I think the NFL is in an even stronger position than that...But between the unknown concerning head injuries and the arrogance that really brilliant people like Mark Cuban have identified, there's something that bears watching here...
Thoughts on the Marshall Henderson story?
Michael Wilbon (3:22 PM)
Marshall Henderson, given what we know about him, was bound to spew some ignorance, from which he is now back-sliding. I can't say I'm surprised...It's sad any sort of predictably ignorant...but surprising? no.
At this point do you have any interest in listening to what Sterling has to say? He couldn't get through his interview/apology without taking another shot at Magic saying he's no role model to minorities.
Michael Wilbon (3:24 PM)
Great question. TK and I just both said we probably don't have any more interest. Maybe because I'm heavily involved with the network's coverage of the NBA I need to be aware of every single detail of Sterling's interview...So I'll watch. But do I have any interest in hearing him further? Not really. He's been heard...loud and clear.
Will more athletes come out? People had Sam as a 4th-5th round pick and look how late he went. It had to have influenced his draft position, if not even a little bit. Sad, but true.
Michael Wilbon (3:26 PM)
Not so fast, junior. Some "draft experts" didn't have him being drafted at all. not at all...so being drafted, to them, would be something of a triumph. I think it was mostly symbolic, being chosen that close to the end of the affair, but that's easy for me to say. Sam was so overwhelmed, and this clearly meant so much to him, and I am sure to so many others...I don't think this will serve as some kind of deterrent, if that's what you're asking...
Michael Sam being drafted is a great thing for diversity in this country. But I look forward to the day where an openly gay person doing ANYTHING isn't news. It still shows how far we have to go.
Michael Wilbon (3:27 PM)
Yes, it does. And thanks for saying that...
How tough was it watching the 4th quarter of OKC offense and not wanting to put a remote through the screen? Does Brooks literally call for iso on every play?
Michael Wilbon (3:29 PM)
I've said before and will say again, OKC has such great players at the top of its pyramid that the Thunder may win it all, even this season. But I don't think Durant and Westbrook taking turns, sometimes to the exclusion of the rest of the team, is the best way to use that talent. I wonder about OKC's judgement...the Spurs look like a better team, to me, right now...I don't know that the Clippers can win 2 of the next 3, but I think the Spurs would make OKC pay for the style of play you point out.
You always bash the NFL Draft. Do you feel the same way about the NBA Draft (and lottery), that it's basically just a meaningless spectacle, and you're better off watching real sports?
Michael Wilbon (3:30 PM)
The NBA draft isn't hyped for months and months and months. It just isn't. There aren't mock drafts four months early an obsession over players who last played six months ago...The NBA draft is NEXT MONTH Justin and not much is being said at all about it, which is just fine.
You would think Miami Dolphins would have a no tweeting restrictions after the "hazing" but then you have a Pouncey and then they have another one reacting to the Sam coverage. Seriously what is wrong with them?
Michael Wilbon (3:31 PM)
A lack of leadership and an organization that keeps selecting players who don't seem to be long on common sense.
Should Kevin Durant get criticized for his lack of a post game?
Michael Wilbon (3:32 PM)
Not yet...Durant has to probably put on some muscle to hold his position down on the block against bigger guys. It's not height, it's size, weight, having some junk in your trunk. Barkley, at 6-5, was a helluva post player because of his strength and balance and ability to move people while not being moved himself...But its great, being able to watch Durant's evolution as a player to see where he'll be in five years when he's 30...
Michael Wilbon (3:33 PM)
Okay, gotta run and prepare for a loaded PTI today...Sterlings, Sam, NBA playoff games, NHL playoff games...tons of stuff...
Michael Wilbon (3:34 PM)
Thanks for chatting everybody...See you next week when we'll know who's in the NBA Conference Finals...have a great week...MW