Chat with Michael Wilbon
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (12:51 PM)
Hang on folks. Mike's travelling today, and running a few minutes behind. He'll be here around 1:15 p.m. ET.
You've met the President, right? Anyway you could get a hold of him, maybe have him outlaw the new Maryland unis? Yeesh...
Mike Wilbon (1:30 PM)
Hi everybody! Sorry for starting late today...just getting back to D.C. from a Labor Day Weekend in Chicago and the cold stormy weather from Sunday night/Monday morn in Chicago followed me here...Wish it had swept away those new Maryland uniforms, too! My God...those things are aggressively, boldly, spectacularly hidieous...Wow. I will say this, as somebody who covered Maryland football as a beat writer for 5 years and has a pretty good sense of the history of the program: Maryland football has NEVER been noticed nationally like last night (and today) and it's entirely because of the uniforms. If the school wanted attention, boom, then it was genius. Then the uniforms wouild be brilliantly ugly. Thing is, you wear something like that you'd better be pretty good or it all turns to ridiculule. The QB is good, that we know. But 7 trips into the red zone produced, I think, 19 points, which ain't much...Here's the real news about the uniforms: there are dozens of combinations. Why do I think other schools are going to go this way? Why do I FEAR other schools are going to go this way?
Mike Wilbon (1:32 PM)
more on jerseys...How about the University of Georgia's jerseys and helmets? How ugly was that? And we're talking about a program with real tradition, with ideentifiable colors and jerseys. Maryland...nobody knows what the hell their uniforms should be because the school changes them every couple of years...But Georgia! If I was an alumn I'd be witholding future contributions until somebody got rid of that junk!
The Sane Madman (Nation of Greats) [via mobile]
What did you do for the holiday weekend? And how long have you known Kornheiser? I can imagine how cool and wild you two cats were back in the 2nd primes of your lives. Peace and thanks for answering the question.
Mike Wilbon (1:34 PM)
Tony, cool? Are you kidding? I'm teasing. We've known each other 31 years, since he and I arrived at The Washington Post about the same time, me out of college and Tony fromm (surprise!) New York where he'd worked at Newsday and previously The New York Times. For Labor Day i spent 4 days in Chicago with my son, Matthew, hanging out with family, playing golf, and enjoying my hometown before ti turns cold in, oh, five minutes...Actually, it turned cold Monday but I loved it, actually...I watched a lot of U.S. Open tennis, a lot of golf, a LOT of college football, including my Northwestern Wildcats squeeze out a W at Boston College...
Regarding college uniforms....Seems like it's more about money and the company making them than the actual schools now. Nike, Under Armour, ect... all trying to sell more gear on the backs of kids who can't sell their own jersey.
Mike Wilbon (1:38 PM)
BOOOOOM! I think you nailed it. The Under Armor execs know EXACTLY what they're doing. Those guys, many of them Maryland alums fromm the top down, are marketing geniuses and I think instead of following the trend they just set the trend. Kevin Plank, the Under Armor founder and CEO, is a Maryland alum and quite possibly the most important alum/booster in the athletic community at Maryland. He's brilliant, period. There's no way, given the discussion today, that Plank and his staff feel anything other than "We nailed it." Jerseys have always been a statement relating to fashion or culture or the times...The fallout is going to tell is a lot.
SCOTTY T (NAPTOWN)
I THINK PEYTONS NECK ISSUE IS WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT, SAY HE MISSES 6 GAMES. I THINK THE SEASON WILL BE A BUST DO YOU THINK WE SHOULD FOR A QB IN THE FIRST ROUND IF WE GET A HIGH PICK I SURE HOPE SO
Mike Wilbon (1:41 PM)
Stop dealing in the tiny little nothing details about picks and gusts...Peyton Manning is hurt, his rehab ain't what anybody in Indy expected, and that alone is the story for now. Okay, in Indy you guys can have the crummy little details. Peyton Manning is one of 10 great QBs who ever lived, one of the five most durable probably, and one of the three most important (behind Brady and Favre) of his time. To me, a season with Manning's status unclear is a downer. And a neck injury is such a dicey thing...more serious, it would seem to me, than an ACL or something that used to put you on the scrap heap 30 years ago but not so much anymore...I just hope something turns in this story and Peyton makes it back after a week or two...or even the opener. A season without Peyton Manning is a season diminished.
Which school do you dislike more--Mich or ND??
Mike Wilbon (1:44 PM)
Very perceptive question...Actually (okay, here's a look behind the curtain) I don't dislike either. Seems half my family and friends went to Michigan (okay, an exaggeration, but many of them)...I'd have gone to Notre Dame in a heart beat...There's no place better to be on a fall football Saturday afternoon. NO PLACE! If my kid winds up going to one or the other, I'd be proud as can be because both are great schools...But, for fake, pro wrestling-like debate reasons, I do hate both of them. Which one would I rather see lose...Notre Dame. Michigan, at least is a Big Ten Conference member...Notre Dame might be soon, but not yet. But it only matters when they're strong...A weak Notre Dame is no fun to root against.
You thoughts on Brian Kelly's outburst on the sidelines this weekend?
Mike Wilbon (1:47 PM)
Good, let's stay on this topic. Brian Kelly, to me, appears to be awfully close to a blowhard. Look, I believe if good, clever usage of 4-letter words. I don't trust that many "gee, gosh" guys in sports...But Kelly? All he did was drop F-bombs or MF-bombs everytime somebody missed a tackle or dropped a pass. The guy seems to have no poise on the sideline whatsoever. Look, it doesn't matter what he did at Cincinnati, because, sorry Bearcat fans, Cincinnati football doesn't matter nationally. Notre Dame does. And he was, to me, awfully close to being an embarassment Saturday afternoon, both because of the way his team played early and because of the way he conducted himself.
Wilbon, while I understand the history of the program, why is there a constant push to make Notre Dame relevant again? This is a subpar team and has been for several years. There's not a national push for UCLA to become a basketball powerhouse again. Why should this matter to the younger generation? None of the current college football players were alive when ND was relevant.
Mike Wilbon (1:50 PM)
Great question! I don't know if you're old enough to remember when THERE WAS a national push for UCLA to be a powerful program again. Remember, UCLAs glory days were from the mid-1960s until the mid-1970s. That's a long, long time ago and the obsession with UCLA basketball's rise-fall-rise whatever came in the 1980s and 1990s...Notre Dame football, for one, has had a MUCH longer run that UCLA basketball. And Lou Holtz and Notre Dame won a national championship in 1988, I think it was...Plus that, Notre Dame football is a much more national program than UCLA Basketball was, if for no other reason than college football in this country is a much bigger deal than college basketball...
Mike Wilbon (1:52 PM)
I'll agree with you on this: Notre Dame is completely overrated every single year the last 20, mostly because there are sportswriters (like Tony Kornheiser) who romanticize what Notre Dame football is currently, many of whom reside in the east and have NO idea about the culture of college football, as it exists in the Southeast and Midwest...They didn't grow up with it the way others of us did, and when you whisper "Notre Dame" they go crazy in some Pavlovian way that isn't in touch with what the team currently is. The other group that constantly overrates Notre Dame is ex-coaches...hell, even some current coaches, who fawn on and on over Notre Dame on national TV even though the fact is they ain't that good...
Whats one thing about Tony that nobody knows?
Mike Wilbon (1:55 PM)
That he was a really good high school basketball player...Okay, I'm not talking about LeBron or even All-Metropolitan in NYC in the 60s...But Julius Erving, yes, Julius Erving told me to stop teasing Tony because he was a pretty good player on Long Island growing up...That and Tony's 6-foot-1...It amazes me how many people say, "Oh, you're taller than on TV," HEY, WE'RE SITTING DOWN ON TV, KNUCKLEHEADS! I'm 6-2 1/2 and I got an inch or a fraction more on TK. Ha!
What are the odds we have a(n) NBA Season?
Mike Wilbon (1:56 PM)
I'd say from where we sit now...oh...40 percent. It's fluid. When both sides get scared it'll rise...When they start talking seriously it'll fall again...but I'm going less than 50-50 now...I've had a lot of conversations with players and owners this summer, informal chats at social events or playing golf, and I would have said in June there was a 90 percent chance there will be a season. After talking with all those folks...I'm not nearly as optimistic...
Those Maryland Uni's were so LEGIT!
Mike Wilbon (1:57 PM)
Let me guess, you're between 16 and 24 years old, and this is EXACTLY what Kevin Plank was banking on.
Alan (Coconut Creek, FL) [via mobile]
Mike, how can ESPN pretend Lou Holtz is objective when the day after his former school lost at home to an unranked team he said,"I was impressed by their performance"?
Mike Wilbon (2:00 PM)
Who told you Lou Holtz was objective? Where'd you get that from? Why did you presume that. Nobody giving commentary is "objective." it's amazing how little people understand media. Reporters--think Adam Schefter--are paid to be objective and usually fall short because we ALL have our biases--but analysts are paid to bring their opinions to the game...And once you're giving your OPINION you're not even attempting to be objective. Reporters are trying to be objective. Analysts, commentators are paid to bring their bias to work every day, but convince you to believe what they believe through common sense or persuasion or deft handling of the language or whatever...Don't ever say I'm objective, because I'm not. I tried to be, was paid to try to be for 10, 12 years as a reporter for The Washington Post. Now? Ha!
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
MW, what do you make of all the problems with the NCAA today? Do you think the NCAA is in danger being "blown up"? On a related note, do you think the NCAA needs to implement some measures that hold former athletes accountable for their actions (Bush, Pryor, etc) versus penalizing athletes who had nothing to do with the problems of past years?
Mike Wilbon (2:03 PM)
Listen to me: The NCAA might not even be governing college football in 10 years, hell five years. The NCAA's power is limited; it doesn't have power of subpeona. The NCAA can only do so much, is understaffed, is operating with a foolishly large rule book. The NCAA goes out with a Barney Fife pop gun everyday to police a world of recruiters and boosters that have the social equivalent of nuclear weapons. Now, we've reached a point where the college football powers, who might has well blow their noses on the NCAA, want superconferences that do NOT share the revenues with the Boise States and TCUs of the world, who want all the money and all the say and the NCAA out of their hair...And that's the way it's going to be sooner or later...Four regional superconferences, North (Big Ten), South (SEC), East (ACC) and West (Pac 12) with 16 teams each that will do whatever they want to do...
We saw the White Sox roll over and play dead for the Tigers this past weekend, but then they go and sweep a not so good Twins team. What is this Sox team going to do to fix their poor moves? Will they trade some young talent for a solid starting pitcher in the offseason?
Mike Wilbon (2:07 PM)
The White Sox rollover against the Tigers in Games 1 and 2 ought to be embarassing. Thing is, the White Sox have quite a posse of starting pitchers...Look at the near perfect game that kid Zach Stewart nearly threw last night...They've got Flowers and Quentin and Viciedo (sorry if sp is off)...Lot of young players and vets who stil produce (Paulie, Burhle)...I think Kenny Williams has assembled a whole lof impressive pieces...Maybe it really is time for them to hear a different voice, which is no knock on Ozzie. I think Ozzie can be a championship manager again, just maybe not on the South Side. Everybody has a shelf-life...
Aaron ( Chicago)
Why are your answers always so long?
Mike Wilbon (2:08 PM)
Because I want them to be. You want text messaging, go someplace else. Why is your attention span so short?
Notre Dame isn't relevant for the same reason that we're talking about Maryland's uniforms today, tradition doesn't reign supreme anymore. We are a "show me" nation. Nike invests millions in branding at Oregon and their recruiting skyrockets to get them into a NC game. Boise, TCU, etc., these are the teams that get the ratings now. You want ND to be relevant? Put them in an actual conference, do away with the monochrome uniforms, recruit an athlete who can put butts in seats, and win some ballgames.
Mike Wilbon (2:09 PM)
I don't give a damn, personally, if Notre Dame is relevant...The discussion is about why people WANT Notre Dame to be relevant or act as if they are. And you got one thing right in your rant: win. You win and you could wear a loin cloth and pads and you're relevant. You think Penn State's going to those uniforms? Alabama? Think again.
ted (cape cod)
Wilbon, I agree with you on Boise. Let them get waxed in the BCS title game to prove if they are legit or not. Just because your cable provider can't show a high powered offense like Houston or Boise doesn't mean they should be left out.
Mike Wilbon (2:09 PM)
thanks for that!
Brent (Bakersfield, CA)
So... who's going to schedule Boise State now?
Mike Wilbon (2:10 PM)
The Big Superpower conference schools are scared to schedule Boise...and most don't and won't.
Sorry Wilbon, didn't see much of that Brian Kelly tantrum because of all the stupid weather delays. Football is played in all elements. Crazy that they delay and then call the game. This isn't baseball. NASCAR even postponed their race...can't drive in the rain? Puh-lease!!!
Mike Wilbon (2:12 PM)
Hey, wake up! Lightening was all around the stadium. You want somebody to die to prove they're a tough guy. Within 125 or so miles you had the Michigan game stopped, the White Sox-Tigers stopped for a long time, and Notre Dame. What, all of them are soft? Lightening dictates you stop the game, period. And trust me, I think everybody and everything is soft as Charmin these days, but those decisions were sound.
Do you see soccer becoming America's 5th sport with the decline of Boxing+PGA Golf,Mike? I know the MLS isn't like Spanish,English or Italian league soccer but is there glimmer of hope?
Mike Wilbon (2:15 PM)
For you it's "hope" but for me it's making an observation. You're clearly emotionally invested in this and looking for a certain response. Isn't soccer already 5th? And sometimes 4th? I'll just say this: American viewers might love watching the best soccer in the world, but not American soccer, which doesn't qualify as that. And THAT's an issue for many in this country who aren't as sophisticated about the sport as you and realize the beauty and spectacle of the international game. I think soccer, as a game, is more relevant than hockey in America right now...Is MLS bigger than the NHL? No, not close and unlikely to be in the next 10-20 years...
Mike Wilbon (2:16 PM)
Okay, Kornheiser is grumbling that I'm not preparing for PTI...He doesn't love you guys as much as I do...but I gotta go and prepare for the show...Thanks for chatting everybody...Back to Monday next week at 1...thanks and have a great week...