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!
Mike Wilbon (1:42 PM)
Hi Everybody! Welcome back to the Chat...I know, I know...we were supposed to resume after a little summer break this week BUT given the circumstances of the Little League World Series and Team USA in basketball and all the other stuff going on I decided I ought to jump back in now. It's not your father's August sports scene...Today feels like Labor Day Tuesday used to feel...so here we go!
Rob (San Antonio)
Mr. Wilbon, you got to feel bad for Sam Bradford. TWO years in a row!! Do you think his career will come back from this?
Mike Wilbon (1:50 PM)
Of course, I feel bad for Bradford...Goodness, to miss so much time back-to-back like this threatens any career, and to have to come back from such a serious injury and re-injury. It's like asking if I felt sorry for Derrick Rose, who had something similar if not identical, having missed almost all of two seasons with knee injuries. Because of the nature of football contracts, relative to basketball contracts, Bradford has probably taken his last snap with St. Louis because he counts something like $16 million against the salary cap next year and the Rams can't take a chance on a guy who takes up that much cap space...He's going to have to try and pick up his career somewhere else, most likely. Good for Bradford that he made that huge bonus money ($50-plus million) at the beginning...But I hope the best for Bradford, that the advances in medicine and technology and training will work in his favor and he can have a productive career going forward...
Is everyone in Chicago holding their breath every time Derrick Rose touches the ball?
Mike Wilbon (1:58 PM)
Yes. Hell yes. God, yes. Yes. For the first time in awhile Rose was knocked off the lead sports story perch by the Jackie Robinson West little league team, which had a surreal impact on metropolitan Chicago. I was there over the weekend and I couldn't have imagined people would respond to that team the way they did...Everybody...black, white, young, old, rich, poor, baseball fans and non-baseball fans...It's the first time all summer Rose wasn't the No. 1 sports story in Chicago...That was going to change anyway on Sept. 7 when the Bears open the season with the Bills...BUT Rose is the story now...and he will be because of the way he played when he was healthy, because he's FROM CHICAGO, because the Bulls could reach the NBA Finals for the first time ever without Michael Jordan if Rose stays healthy and can play as he did 10 days ago for Team USA...I told Coach Thibs this last week and he had that exhale like he wanted to shout at me, "STOP IT...WE CAN"T GO ON THIS WAY" and I understand that sentiment as a coach. Thibs HAS to get past it...But the rest of us can't...and won't be able to...
I hope the mothership is happy in two years when John Manziel joins Tebow on the set of the SEC network.
Mike Wilbon (2:03 PM)
HA! I hope you're wrong. I really do. I am so sick of our (OUR, the entire network and that includes necessarily PTI) obsession over Johnny Football...But I think he could be pretty good in the NFL, meaning I trink he can play fior 10 years...I think he's better than, say, Mark Sanchez, and Sanchez is playing in about his 6th season, right? And went to 2 conference title games...so I think Manziel can be a player, a real player...But I also understand how we in media--all media--have made people kinda sick of him...
Can you tell me why the talking heads love to say NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE so much? Is this mandated when you enter the Bristol cult?
Mike Wilbon (2:07 PM)
Thank you for asking that. I hate it. HATE IT. And it has nothing to do with Bristol. Listen to Fox, to CBS, to NBC, to the NFL Network...They all do it...as if to make it sound more dramatic or as if the emphasize that the people who played should say the word "football" hundreds of times per day. I've noticed it for 20 years, and increasingly the last 6 or 7...like there's a memo that goes out to all former players who go to the booth or a studio. I'm now a talking head and damn if I say it...Of course, I'm not in Bristol either...But it's a football thing, not at all unique to heads on this here network...
David (Omaha, NE)
Mr. Wilbon - Nebraska has a running back (probably redshirting this year) named Mikale Wilbon, from Chicago. Now, how could a four-star recruit with almost the same name not go to Northwestern?
Mike Wilbon (2:08 PM)
You think I didn't look into this when he was in high school??? Trust me, I did...I stopped short of stalking...(LOL) But just let me say he's a really smart kid and I have a vested interest in how he does...and friends at Nebraska who will keep me informed of every detail...
Everyone is hyping the Bears as a sleeper team due to the Trestman factor. Their backup RB is Shaun Draughn and 3rd WR is Santonio Holmes. Good luck.
Mike Wilbon (2:14 PM)
Yeah, I think I'm with you. I'm fine with Holmes, a Super Bowl MVP just 30 years old, as the No. 3 wide receiver because Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are BEASTS...I think they make up the best WR tandem in the NFL. I'm not talking about fantasy numbers, I'm talking about impact, the ability to change a football game. With Matt Forte and Marty Bennett I'm really excited about that offense.......but terrified about the defense and downright scared to watch the Bears special teams. The defense at least COULD get better quickly. But the special teams look like the worst such unit in the NFL. ALL of the specials (except my man Robbie Gould) look dreadful, bordering on incompetent...How can you be a sleeper when 2/3 of the team look subpar? I'm readjusting everything I thought after watching them bumble and stumble out in Seattle the other night. Look, Seattle is the champ. They're great and they were playing at home with purpose and passion. But the Bears looked unprepared. Maybe that game was just what they needed. But I need to see Marc Trestman rally his team and really play with that Seattle-like purpose and passion Week 1 against Buffalo at home because they schedule is beastly and the defense and special teams look amateurish...I'm worried increasingly that the upside could be 8-8, maybe 9-7...and that's the UPSIDE...I hope I'm dead wrong...
Derrin (Plano, TX)
What did you think of Michael Sam's mocking of, or having fun with, Johnny Football?
Mike Wilbon (2:14 PM)
That it was absolutely fine and totally in context.
So is Washington's head set to explode with ANOTHER Quarterback controversy? Can the Redskins, and their media, get out of their own way?
Mike Wilbon (2:18 PM)
No. Not at all...Great question. One answer: No. Hell no. I woke up 8ish this morning and turned on local radio and it sounded like there was a funeral somebody was presiding over. Week 3 preseason, and the sky is falling and RG3 should be traded...Luckily, I have my own shaky team (Bears) to obsess over so the Redskins are no longer my daily concern...though I do root for Ryan Clark and Barry Cofield and Pierre Garcon and YES, RG3 (i love the kid)...But I think the Redskins are going to win the NFC East...I think there will be tiresome drama every day of the season because this is what the Redskins have become all about in recent seasons BUT I think the Redskins will beat out the Eagles to finish atop the division...And I bet most people reading this answer think I'm nuts...
Ben (Baton Rouge, LA)
Mr. Wilbon, love your work. Do preseason games have any significance whatsoever, outside of major, long term injuries? Specifically, it is time for Bears fans to PANIC over what happened on Friday?
Mike Wilbon (2:22 PM)
Great question. Teams go winless and win Super Bowls. It's happened more than once. Teams win 3 0f 4 in preseason and go 4-12...Heppens...So I am aware of the exceptions and aware of the trends and can make the case that the other night in Seattle meant nothing...But I don't believe that. I believe the Bears special teams and defense were shown to be awful...and I don't think a great offense can overcome bad defense AND specials...One or the other, yes. But the Bears will have to score 35 a game to make up for the D and specials and that's a lot to ask...I stayed through that entire game to try and get a guage on whether they have the sense of purpose a team needs to get through something like that...I don't know...We'll start to find out next week...But again, you look like that, no matter the opponent, and its reason to worry...even coming off the preseason...
The Bears finish ____ games behind the Pack?
Mike Wilbon (2:23 PM)
3...Pack goes 11-5 and Bears go 8-8...
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think the two additional sacks by Michael Sam versus Cleveland make it almost possible for the Rams to cut him unless he falls flat on his face in Game 4?
Mike Wilbon (2:24 PM)
I didn't think and don't think Michael Sam will be cut, no matter what he does in Game 4. I don't. I think he makes the team. Jeff Fisher picked him and Jeff Fisher will keep him. That's been my feeling from Day 1. Now, he cold go on the practice squad but I think he'll belong to the Rams...AND I don't actually think he'll be on the practice squad; I think he makes the active roster.
If you are a teen product, do you get Mo'ne Davis to be an endorser? If you are Mo'ne's parents, do you accept?
Mike Wilbon (2:24 PM)
wouldn't she lose her amateur eligibility by doing that?
Mike, thanks for your great work. If you were to build a team from scratch -- any sport -- who is the GM in whom you have the most confidence?
Mike Wilbon (2:28 PM)
I'd hire Bill Polian to build my football team...I'd hire Theo Epstein to build my baseball team (yes, I LOVE what he's done/doing with the Cubbies)...and to build my basketball team there are several people but I'd probably start with R.C. Buford of the Spurs...There are several NBA GMs whose work I really, really like but Buford at the top of a group of very good club executives.
Mike Wilbon (2:30 PM)
Oh, and a Mr. Stan Bowman to build my championship NHL team...but of course...
Re: Mo'Ne, yes she would lose her amateur eligibility but the question is: do you strike while the iron is hot and capitalize on her fame? Or hope that she makes it eventually by earning an athletic scholarship, Olympics...etc.
Mike Wilbon (2:32 PM)
Well, I take her at her word when she says she wants to play point guard for Geno at UCONN...I believe that. It's not like she has no future. She's a bright kid with some ambition and clearly some athleticism...
Yea Wilbon, I heard Andy and Kevin this morning too. Maybe it's time you make another appearance and knock some sense into them.
Mike Wilbon (2:33 PM)
Ha! I love those guys...But everybody is so over the top here, so breathlessly insane on every single point about the Redskins...But I just don't pay enough attention to the Redskins anymore, after 16 years of covering essentially every single game as a columnist for The Washington Post...so they won't be calling me for Redskins analysis, nor should they...But I do marvel at the hysteria here even after 34 years of living in metropolitan D.C.
Geno Auriemma (Connecticut)
She might lose her amateur status, but by the time she gets to college we in the power 5 will be paying players anyway, won't we?
Mike Wilbon (2:33 PM)
Damn...Now, there's a good point...
In Peter King's piece today, he printed Ditka's and Mike Carey's news making quotes about Washington's team name side by side. I very much think the team name should be changed but I'm willing to listen to the other side's arguments. If Ditka's tantrum is the extent of their argument, then Snyder et al are in trouble. Is this issue getting as much play in D.C. as it seems to nationally?
Mike Wilbon (2:36 PM)
Great question...I travel a ton and suddenly (when in Arizona and particularly in Chicago where I sit in with Waddle & Silvy every week on ESPN 1000) I find this is a relatively new subect that carries some heat, some passion with listeners. I've been writing/talking about this topic for 30 years...granted increasingly in D.C. too...But nationally, there's a fascination with the issue I have not seen until now and this is part of the Redskins issue. Suppose the team is good enough and reaches the Super Bowl. Can you imagine the uproar for 2 full weeks? The NFL powers would lose their minds, completely unable to control the direction of the conversation...
Remember my question (SHOUT OUT!) when the RG3 spot comes on the run down during Headlines on PTI.
Mike Wilbon (2:37 PM)
Oh, goodness...I can promise you that already. Hell, I KNOW we're talking about that today and I haven't even consulted with my PTI producers just yet about said rundown...
Jake (Denver, CO)
How do you fix Team USA for the FIBA World Cup? If top pros are going to consistently drop out and leave the team hanging at the last minute, should they be building a roster with younger, hungrier players?
Mike Wilbon (2:38 PM)
Maybe...Maybe...You raise a good and fair point and I wouldn't object to that. BUT, let's see how this goes. Let's see what this team is able to do even with no LeBron/Durant/Bosh/Love/Wade/Kobe etc...I'm curious. I like this team that Coach K and his staff and USA Basketball have put together...
Did you see that your boy Tiger fired his coach. Thoughts?
Mike Wilbon (2:38 PM)
Yes I did see that. Why does Tiger need a coach when he's not playing and won't really be playing until The Masters?
Jake (Denver, CO)
Welcome back to the chats, Mr. Wilbon! Been dying to ask you your opinion on Durant (and others) backing out on Team USA for FIBA World Cup play. I know that Paul George's gruesome (which is an understatement) accident can't help, but do you think players should be more willing to represent their country? Thanks as always.
Mike Wilbon (2:44 PM)
This is an increasingly difficult call, with the injuries and concern expressed by owners like Mark Cuban...I talked to any number of players last week at the exhibition in Chicago vs. Brazil who were excited about playing in these international tournaments. I think world basketball benefits tremendously from the best players in the world, NBA players, being involved. Their inclusion is a big reason why world basketball spiked in the years after the 1992 Barcelona Olympics...I suppose there could be a team of under-24 players who ARE NBA players and that team could be put together when those kids are 19 and stay together and that might both serve the country, international basketball and the players...This probably has to evolve from where it is now...But I, personally, have loved seeing the A-team in there every competition since 1992...
Mike Wilbon (2:45 PM)
Okay, I gotta run and prepare for PTI, the first PTI with the original hosts in weeks and weeks...We're on the Deuce since the U.S. Open is on the Mothership, but you can find us. Have a great week...See you Tuesday, the day after Labor Day, when we can jump both feet into real football, both college and pro...