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. 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 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:06 PM)
Hello everyone! Mike Wilbon will be here at 1:20 ET! And don't give him a hard time, he's technically on vacation! But still wanted to chat!
Herron (Chicago )
Classic Wilbon... Late on top of being late he is ohh wait late
Michael Wilbon (1:34 PM)
Hi everybody..You, Herron, seem like a classic person who doesn't pay attention and is consumed with himself and his opinion of himself...How do you like that for a way to start the chat? I took a 6 a.m. flight from JFK to Phoenix, then a taxi to my home in Scottsdale...And I'm told that was posted for you to see...SOOOO, if that's not good enough for you, hit the road jack...You want to pay for a private flight to get me into Arizona overnight, drop me a note next week and I'll accept...And that goes for any other whining, too...Look somewhere else for somebody who's not going to come back at you guys...If you watch PTI you know I'm no shrinking violet and have no problem swinging back...Now, that we've finished that silliness (and Chris NB and Ben NJ that includes you and anybody else) let's get to some sports...
Josh (Chicago (in my heart))
Wilbon, I am so happy you are writing for ESPN now. Love your stuff. Here's my theory: Chicago fans should hope Rose does NOT win the MVP. He's proven to have an MJ like tenacity when it comes to disrespect and takes things unbelievably personally. Can you imagine how hard he'll work this summer if he ends up losing the award?
Michael Wilbon (1:37 PM)
Yeah, I hear your logic. But as we learned from MJ, guys as tough as he was (and Rose appears to have tons of that) can play the "disrespect card" even if it's not in the deck...I've been around Rose a lot this year and the thing that strikes me about him, more than his talent, is his tenacity and his obsession with not changing, with staying humble...Now, I think that will evolve into something that presents itself a little differently; you can be supremely confident and remain grounded...But I think Rose will find motivation wherever he needs it...I think that MVP honor will serve as a launching pad for him to justify it to the folks like Dan LeBatard and Skip Bayless who say he doesn't deserve it...
Mike, what do you think Lefty's win yesterday will do for him going into the Masters?
Michael Wilbon (1:40 PM)
Everything. Phil seems to be one of those guys who when things are going well really gets on a roll. I don't know that I'd pick him over the entire field, but I certainly think Phil is the favorite going to Augusta...He had said before the weekend he thought he was close to putting it all together, and did he...That was the first "Wow" weekend of golf anybody has put together in awhile...certainly the first this year. Yes, people have played well but 63-65 on the weekend? And since Phil has already won the week before The Masters and then won The Masters he doesn't have to hear that line of reasoning. I don't know how he could be more confident going into a Major Championship...
Your thoughts about the Knuggets--if they can succeed in the playoffs, make it to the conference championship can they change the perception of needing a superstar to succeed. I think for the good of the NBA fans/GM's should root for them to win.
Michael Wilbon (1:44 PM)
What the Nuggets are doing after the Carmelo trade is perhaps the best story in the NBA right now. And you're right, it flies in the face of conventional NBA logic about how you have to build a team. They've got the third-best record since the All-Star break, after the Lakers and Bulls. The ball moves better than it did when Carmelo was on the team, the defense is tons better, morale is much better, they're listening to George Karl, who might be a very smart pick for coach-of-the-year...It's such a great story...Denver plays Oklahoma City twice in the next few days, which is likely the team they'll also get in the playoffs...It's a tough first-round matchup and Denver may not get to the conference championship, BUT how can that team not feel great about its prospects going forward? I think it's GREAT for the league...But keep in mind, this appears to be so the exception to the rule that superstars win in the NBA, not ensemble casts...These Nuggets, my friend Jon Barry says, remind him of the Pistons of 2004 which won the championship...Great story very much worth following, especially these last two weeks of the regular season as the Nuggets go into some very tough wrap-up games...
3 games in... how you feeling about the Cubs?!?
Michael Wilbon (1:46 PM)
not good. Seriously. Marmol blowing that save yesterday was depressing. Even worse was the bases-loaded, no-outs situation in which Pena hits what should be a bases-clearing triple off the wall that turns into a two-run double and the Cubs don't get any more runs. Again, depressing. I know, it's early, but it just seemed like "Here we go again." You shouldn't open the season at home dropping two to the Pirates...who by the way did play with the kind of aggression I'd love to see from the Cubbies...Okay, I gotta calm down; I sound like I'm from Red Sox nation...
KMart pushing Odom under the basket for the tip in: fair or foul?
Michael Wilbon (1:48 PM)
Did you see that? Yeah, he pushed him under the basket but I think it's fair...The chances of getting that call in Los Angeles against the Lakers is so tiny...Good for K-Mart...Good for the official for not blowing his whistle. Look, I'm no Lakers hater. I love the time I get to spend in Los Angeles covering the Lakers when they're winning...but I watched that game and the Lakers got their share of calls before that missed-free throw, tip-in...
Alan (Laker Land)
What up Wilbon. Call me crazy but I think the Lakers would be better served not getting the #1 seed in the West, and the more laker fans I talk to agree. If we stay at the #2 seed we would probably play the Mavs in the 2nd round thus avioding I believe the Lakers 2 toughest tests in the Thunder and yes the Nuggets. The lakers biggest struggles are against athletic teams like Heat Thunder Nuggets. And why is nobody talking about Kobe 4 MVP? Thanks!
Michael Wilbon (1:51 PM)
I love you Alan!!! This is my theory as well (you have to share credit)! You get Dallas without Caron Butler in the second round if the Lakers finish #2, then Oklahoma City in the conference championship round if they survive Denver and San Antonio...Yeah, I think
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
Interesting time for vacation. Masters this weekend. NHL and NBA Playoff races. MLB's first week. NCAA Men's basketball championship. Why now?
Michael Wilbon (1:55 PM)
I don't know about "vacation." PTI is dark Wednesday, Thursday and Friday BECAUSE of The Masters on ESPN...Those will be my final three days off until June 16, which would be the end of the NBA Playoffs. If you're presuming my being in Arizona means "vacation" don't. I live here in Scottsdale as well as suburban D.C. Plenty of work can be conducted from here...though don't expect a lot from me this week Cosmo...and NONE from PTI...Tony and I will be on today and tomorrow, then not until the Monday following The Masters. How's that for a program note? There are other platforms...like .com. I don't know whether Tony's doing his radio show on those days or not (I suspect not)...
whats your prediction for the 2011 NBA Finals ? i got Lakers vs Celtics 3.
Michael Wilbon (1:58 PM)
In the interest of full disclosure, I said Lakers vs. Heat the day before the season began...That's still in play, though I really have a hard time seeing Miami beat Boston, even without Kendrick Perkins...I'm thinking Lakers-Boston again...The Bulls are playing so well, and should run through the Pacers and Magic...I just don't know that you can go from zero playoff series victories to three...Deng has won one series in his career, against Miami four years ago...Boozer was a key player, probably the best player, four years ago when the Jazz went to the conference finals...But Rose and Noah have never won a series...Beating Boston is a tall order, so for now I'm going with Lakers-Celtics, too...But I'm wondering if the Celtics are playing possum like they did last year (27-27 after a great start) or if they're suddenly old and feeling betrayed over the Perkins trade...And that Shaq injury last night (calf, status unknown) didn't look good, did it? I'm just saying...the playoffs ought to be great.
who gets your vote for mvp right now?
Michael Wilbon (2:00 PM)
Rose, Kobe, Howard, Dirk...Okay, I might flip Dirk and Howard, but that's my order today...And when I submit it, I promise I'll make it public...I hate secret voting in sports...Full accountability should be demanded.
Brad (Spokane, WA)
Are the Mavs now a dream match-up for the three teams fighting for sixth in the west (NO MEM Port)? Who do you think gets it?
Michael Wilbon (2:03 PM)
Memphis and Portland look great. Seriously, I think either of those teams could cause problems for San Antonio, which is lucky not to have to face either in the first round. Portland has two very winnable road games remaining, at Utah and Golden State...but they've got Memphis, Dallas and the Lakes at home...The Hornets have a favorable home sked of Indy, Houston (which has been hot), Phoenix and Utah at home but Memphis and Dallas on the road...and Memphis has at Portland, but the Clippers and Sacramento and the Hornets all at home...I think Memphis gets the nod...and suppose they had a healthy Rudy Gay?
Michael Wilbon (2:05 PM)
Did nobody, by the way, watch the women's Final Four last night? Those were fabulous games...and great for women's hoops because the game needs more than just UCONN and Tenn. to be good if the game is going to evolve...
Ok,these Bulls are good,but will T Bone run out the 2nd unit in the playoffs?Btw,Omer Asik will be huge if the Bulls meet the Lakres in the finals.
Michael Wilbon (2:08 PM)
Good question...I hope he runs out the second unit in the same way he has all season. A BIG advantage the Bulls have over almost every team in the league is their bench. There are coaches who simply won't use their bench in the playoffs; I'm thinking about Mike D'Antoni specifically. But I don't think Tibbs is one of those guys, though this will be his first time running a team in the playoffs. Yes, I expect him to be a little more conservative with the bench in the post-season, but not simply NOT USE Asik and Brewer and Watson...Kurt Thomas, Kyle Korver and Taj Gibson are absolutely essentially to what the Bulls do.
hey wilbon i watch ur show everyday! i want to know if u belive the heat will win the championship this year! and if not then why!
Michael Wilbon (2:11 PM)
No, I don't believe Miami has enough role and bench players (see answer above about Bulls) to beat the Celtics or Lakers this season...not even sure they can beat the Bulls, though that would be a great series...In a postseason defined by half-court play you're not going to see LeBron/Wade/Bosh getting 90 points. Not gonna happen outside of a series against the Knicks who don't know the meaning of defense...We'll have to see how Pat Riley builds the rest of the team after this season; I have zero doubt he'll do it to his satisfaction, but I don't know that it'll result in championships, though the decline of the Celtics (if they simply get older and go away) and Dwight Howard's free agency decision will greatly affect the future of Miami...
Jon (Fairfield, CT)
Hey Mike, take off the names on the jerseys and who is the real underdog in the national championship tonight, the team that was ranked 18th pre-season and a finalist last year or the team that received no votes pre-season after falling out in the second round of the NIT last year? Also, who do you like in the matchup, Butler or Uconn?
Michael Wilbon (2:14 PM)
I love both these teams and I don't think there is an underdog. Butler is 10-1 the last two years in the NCAA Tournament. Can anybody else claim that? No. UCONN has the best player, in Kemba Walker...I saw what I thought was fatigue Saturday night out of the UCONN guys, Walker included. I say this reluctantly because I talked at length with Walker and Jim Calhoun about this after their second-round game. Walker said he simply wasn't going to get tired until the season was over and Calhoun talked openly about "fooling" his players and doing things like shortening their practice times and shoot-arounds without telling them. I think if I had to bet (and I ain't a betting man) I'd take UCONN, but I'm going to be looking early for signs of fatigue from playing so many games with so much energy this month...They've won 10 games in 22 days or something crazy like that...
Is Brad Stevens better off moving on up or staying at Butler, esp if he wins tonight.
Michael Wilbon (2:17 PM)
Moving "up"? Who else is 10-1 in the NCAA Tournament the last two years? Moving "up" to where? Thirty years ago had John Thompson left Georgetown, which he built himself, would have have moved "up" by going someplace? He's a helluva coach, he's signed through, what, 2023 and he likes where he is...Go to where? USC just to pick a place? Why. How often they been to the Final Four in recent years? You can't say, "Well, he can't win a national championship there..." Of course he can...He just might tonight and got closer than most last year...
Is an incredibly deep team like this nuggets team sustainable? They have about 9 guys who could start for many NBA teams. At some point wont guys start worrying about their own bottom line? Less minutes = Less stat = Less money.
Michael Wilbon (2:19 PM)
Good question...I think it depends on their success this post-season. Yeah, I think that inevitably happens with NBA teams with quite a few players of relatively even talent; guys start moaning about playing time and shots...If they win a round or two, guys might buy in completely, especially since it's George Karl, a coach with a resume who's calling the shots. If they go out quickly to Ok City, maybe they have some tough decisions to make about who to let go...But we haven't heard any gripping yet.
Michael, why are the Kings looking to move a THIRD team to Los Angeles? Does it not make more sense to bring the NBA back to Seattle where the fans here are always passionate about their sports teams win or lose? How come David Stern isn't doing everything he can to bring in another team after he inexplicably let our team leave (though I have my thoughts about David i'll refrain from posting them on ESPN). It's already hard enough watching the "Thunder" turn into a dominant team stacked with young talent. If not the Kings, do you honestly think the NBA will ever come back to SeaTown?
Michael Wilbon (2:23 PM)
I'm totally with you on this. Seattle should NEVER have lost a team. I think the Hornets should have stayed in Ok City simply because it's incredibly difficult for New Orleans, given the necessary changes there after Hurricane Katrina (including losing roughly half the population) to support the team with an entire new set of financial priorities. Of course, the league will tell you there has to be a new stadium in Seattle before a team returns there...But I wonder about a third team in the Southern California market, too...And I'd much rather see a team in Seattle than in Anaheim, but this appears to be a done deal...Can you, by the way, think of anybody specific who might want to coach Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins in Southern California? I'm just asking.
Jessica (Atlanta, Ga)
Do the Hawks have a legitimate shot at upsettting the Orlando Magic in the playoffs?
Michael Wilbon (2:24 PM)
Last year I'd have said no chance. This year the Hawks are 3-1 against orlando in the regular season. The Hawks have a better, deeper, more athletic roster...The Hawks ought to feel they can beat Orlando...but I can't trust the Hawks to do anything. Not mentally or physically tough enough for real post-season play...
What are the chances that the Bulls manage to get the top overall spot in the NBA? Do you think they can do it?And I know this is an basketball chat...but how about the White Sox? Ohman has been hit hard twice (I know its only 3 games in).
Michael Wilbon (2:28 PM)
Ah, this is NOT a basketball chat. I probably need to remind people of that. We can (and should) chat about everything in sports, which is what I did for The Washington Post every Monday for more than 10 years...I mean EVERYTHING...college sports, golf (which I'm obsessed with), tennis, college sports, music, TV, movies, trash talk, WHATEVER. What I'm not going to answer, so don't even bother, is "Who do you think the Bills should take with the #53 pick overall?" I don't know, more importantly don't care. Nor do I care about who the Kings or Wizards or whomever will take in the second round...or right now who they'll take in the first-round. I like to be in the here and now, with some forward-looking speculation but not a ton...Believe me, I care about The Masters a whole lot more this week than anything in the NBA (well, maybe except Celtics-Bulls in Chicago Thursday night)...
you think the lack of time that boozer and noah have played together will hurt them in the playoffs?
Michael Wilbon (2:29 PM)
Yeah, I wonder about that little bit...Kurt Thomas seems so effective in there, doesn't he? And Taj Gibson...Hey, they don't even have to play that much together. There are enough minutes to go around for Noah and Booze to get plenty of PT whether they're on the court together or not...
Michael, if the Bulls get home court advantage throughtout the playoffs could they beat teams like Boston, LA, Spurs or Miami in a 7 game series..with the first 2 and game 7 in Chicago?
Michael Wilbon (2:32 PM)
I'm 99 percent sure the stat I'm about to give you is true...and I'll be corrected if I'm wrong BUT the Chicago Bulls, in the club's 45-year-history, have lost only one series when they've held home-court advantage...and that was in 2004 or 2005 when the Bulls led the Wizards 2-0 and lost 4-2. And in that series the Bulls had to play without both Eddie Curry and Luol Deng--two starters--against a pretty good Wizards team with Gilbert Arenas pre-issues...Every other time the Bulls have had home court advantage they've won the series, whether in the Jordan years or the Sloan/Van Lier/Love/Walker/Boerwinkle/Dick Motta days. So, yes, the Bulls could beat anybody if they have home-court advantage...I said "could" not "will."
who is the deepest team in the NBA right now???
Michael Wilbon (2:33 PM)
Bulls, Lakers, Nuggets...Memphis is pretty deep too actually...obviously the Celtics but only if they have Shaq healthy and in the lineup.
I have always wanted to get a question of mine answered, although I probably wont. Do you think there will be any upsets in the playoffs or any Cinderellas in the playoffs like in the NCAA this year?
Michael Wilbon (2:37 PM)
Nice ploy! It worked. Do you consider Denver a "Cinderella?" I find the notion of "Cinderella" in the ranks of pro sports a complete impossibility...We're talking about teams that have access to roughly the same resources, certainly the same access to acquisition of talent...unlike college sports. So to me, if Denver beats Ok City it's not an upset. Okay, if the Hornets were to beat the Lakers or Pacers were to beat the bulls those would be a huge upsets, but "Cinderella?" Not to me.
While Miami struggles against good teams with 2 of the top 5 players in the league, Tex Winter finally gets in the Hall after numerous snubs as Phil is reduced by many to leaning on great players. What percent of a teams wins or final results come from the coaches?
Michael Wilbon (2:39 PM)
Great question! We could spend hours on this, but I'l just ask you a question as an answer. The basic roster Phil Jackson took and won a championship two years ago and got to the Finals with three years ago lost a 3-1 lead to the Suns in the first round and missed the playoffs altogether under other coaches. So if Phil gets a bunch of guys who MISSED THE PLAYOFFS to the Finals, how much does coaching matter?
Michael Wilbon (2:40 PM)
Okay, gotta run and prepare for PTI...Hope you guys enjoy the championship game tonight, then women tomorrow night, The Masters this weekend and the NBA all week...We'll chat next Monday...Thanks...MW