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 2:30 p.m. ET!
How harshly do you think Goodell will punish Bounty-gate? 1 year for Williams, 4 games for Payton & Vilma, and 1st
mike wilbon (2:43 PM)
HI Everybody...thanks for going at this different time...I'm in Los Angeles juggling NBA and PTI today, plus flying back to the East Coast in a bit...glad we could still squeeze in our chat...Rare for me to begin with a football question the first week of March, but this issue makes it almost mandatory. Personally, I think the outrage over "Bountygate" is so overstated. Defensive players have tried for the entire history of professional football to put a hurt on offensive players. Deacon Jones Chuck Bednarik, Dick Butkus and Mean Joe Greene, Ronnie Lott and Jack Lambert, Reggie White and Mike Singletary...oh, let me not forget LT...none of them needed incentive payments to want to break a QB in half. This is the M.O. of professional football...So I'm a little offended by the sanctimony, certainly of some of my friends in the media (starting with my dear friend Gary Myers of the NY Daily News who wants Greg Williams banned for life; please)...
mike wilbon (2:47 PM)
But, while this is not a big deal for me, particularly, I know it's a big deal for the image of the NFL, and it flies in the face of Roger Goddell's mission of improving player safety, so I KNOW it's a huge deal to the Commissioner's office and there will be suspensions. I'm fine with Williams being suspended for whatever length of time they send him away (likely a full season, right?) But you can't suspend the assistant and not hold the head coach accountable, so Sean Payton has to go for awhile, too. This is what the NCAA would call "a lack of institutional control" and the head coach has to be held accountable, especially since he was made aware of the whole thing to some extent and seemingly turned his head. But seriously, this notion that a Saints player wrenched Peyton Manning's neck...okay, like defensive players haven't been wrenching necks at the bottom of piles for the better part of 100 years of pro football?
is rory mcilroygoing to be a greater golfer than tiger?
mike wilbon (2:49 PM)
We go from the violent to the gentle! How the hell would anybody know or legitimately make the case that Rory McIlroy, who has won ONE major championship at this point, is going to be better than a guy with, what, 14 of them? I'm not going to make the case for that...Just enjoy what the kid is doing? He's a great player and seems worthy to be Tiger's successor, if Tiger's ready to give it up AND HE AIN'T. We saw yesterday Tiger's got plenty left. I don't know that Tiger will ever win another major or return to No. 1 (unlikely)...But it's still great for the game when Tiger and Phil are roaring and in contention. And until these young bucks can stay at the top and win year after year for a dozen years, I'll make the case Tiger is still the No. 1 attraction in the game...
Hey Mike! Let's get Cleveland some love finally! What do you think the Cavs will do with sessions and Jamison? Will they be able to get another 1st rounder through trades?
mike wilbon (2:51 PM)
Maybe the Lakers would give up a No. 1 for Sessions? I'd love to see Jamison, who I got to know pretty well during his time with the Wizards, go to a team that can use a primary scorer off the bench. I think Jamison, because of his skills and his professionalism, would be a great fit any number of places. BUT, he makes about $16 million so there would be cap issues...Will somebody give up a No. 1 for either? Maybe...But some juggling would be necessary...
Mike, I have been a Lebron hater since day 1 basically because I have always been a Kobe fan. However, watch Lebron play D this year has given me a new found respect for him. He may not be a Killer like Chitowns finest Drose and MJ, but being a combination of Pippen and Magic is not so bad either.
mike wilbon (2:54 PM)
That's exactly what I've thought LeBron to be, a combination of those two. I agree with NBA TV analyst and former coach Sam Mitchell, that the Heat coaches should just make LeBron the point guard, the primary playmaker, because that's what he wants to do, that's what he is as good at as anybody in the NBA today (except Steve Nash or Chris Paul maybe)...LeBron is NOT going to be the guy to take the last shot every time. He isn't. I'm not sure, given what he's best at, that the Heat ought to be looking for that. I know from talking to former players for four days now that THEY expect him to do that. But I'm not sure that's going to be something at which he excels. Anyway, LeBron is having one of the great regular seasons ever...I'm enjoying watching him. It would be dumb for anybody who claims to love basketball to dismiss this kind of greatness because of pettiness or rooting affiliation. My answer to that is: root for your team, and get over it after that and appreciate what LeBron is doing.
Corey B (Brookfield, IL)
Loved the intensity the Bulls played with in the 2nd half last night against the Sixers. Did they show you anything about their toughness? Must see TV tonight against those wacky, celebrating Pacers?
mike wilbon (2:59 PM)
The Bulls aren't proving their toughness for the first time. We knew that defined them by this time last year. Toughenss isn't the Bulls issue; offense is. Just like it's fair to say Miami can answer no questions until the playoffs, same for the Bulls. Their are no questions the Bulls can answer until they conquer Miami or get to the Finals via whatever route. The Bulls have the two most impressive victories, for my money, since the All-Star break: at San Antonio and at Philly. If they beat Indy tonight that's three really good playoff teams the Bulls will have beaten. And with Rip Hamilton getting back in gradually, we should soon (knock on wood for no additional injuries) see what the full team looks like for the first time this season. Still, we're not going to be looking to see how tough-minded or how physically tough the Bulls are. They're the toughest-minded team in the league, if you ask most ex-players who watch closely. But can the Bulls score when teams clamp down on D-Rose? That's the question. They couldn't last year when Miami did it. Now, will Hamilton make the difference? Is Deng assertive enough to take over that role if called on? Boozer going to be better in the playoffs? Korver gonna shoot 40 percent or better from 3 against Miami? Noah gonna be bashful about taking that 13-foot jumper facing the basket or not? Those are the questions.
Other than being a homer of biblical proportions, how can you honestly think that Dwight's best chance at winning - and most logical decision - would be to sign with the Nets in July? When he does that, they become instant contenders.
mike wilbon (3:02 PM)
I think he should sign wherever he wants. Suppose he signs with the Warriors and plays with Monta and Steph Curry? Huh? You think they wouldn't become instant contenders? I think he'd do fine with Deron Williams and the pieces they have in New Jersey, especially if the Nets could add a piece like Jason Richardson...Whoever gets Dwight, among the lottery teams, will jump instantly and dramatically. I can see why he'd want to play in Brooklyn.
The hate for Lebron is just plain silly. The guy is the most talented player we might ever see in the NBA. It's just unfortunate that what he lacks - that killer instinct that Jordan & Kobe had/have - is what's gonna keep him from being one of the 5 best ever.
mike wilbon (3:03 PM)
Well said...and perhaps. There's a lot of time for this to play out, lots of twists and turns probably. But well said. I'm tired of the LeBron bashing. It's stupid, a waste of time, and doesn't advance the conversation of anything about him or the season he's having. I think is criticism or tough observation to make, of course...But this screaming and overstating is just...well....tiring.
Kevin Gill (Loud City)
The Thunder are 15-1 at home this year, and a lot of those wins have been blowouts. If they have home court throughout, I don't know if anyone can beat them in a seven game series, especially no one in the west. What do you think?
mike wilbon (3:04 PM)
I think OKC is the best team in the West. But I will also say that it's tough for young teams that haven't been there (the same goes for the Bulls) to break through and get to the Finals the first time. If they can get there once they might just live there for the next six out of eight years or something like that. But that first time is so incredibly difficult.
Last week you said Anthony Davis of UK was your top pick for NPOY. I think it's Thomas Robinson, but of course I have a biased opinion. My question is, how many games did you watch Davis play and how many did you watch Robinson play? I've watched them both quite a bit and I don't see Davis carrying his team the way Robinson (double/triple coverage) does.
mike wilbon (3:07 PM)
I watch both of them all the time...ALL THE TIME. And Robinson is a wonderful player as well. A GREAT college basketball player, who actually has more to do because he has a little bit less around him. But...it's not close as to who the better player is. Anthony Davis is a franchise-changing player at the next level and I think he's going to lead his team to the national title at this level. Robinson, of course, can prove that opinion wrong...If I had the second pick in the draft and Robinson was on the board I would drop to my knees in joy to be able to pick the kid. But Anthony Davis, to me and a whole lot of others, is a player who can take a franchise like Charlotte or the Wizards or Toronto and improve the team 20 wins or so by himself...I think he's that good.
Nathan Bevilacqua (Akron)
Is it pretty much a lock Kyrie Irving is going to be ROY? I mean Rubio is now shooting 35% from the field.
mike wilbon (3:07 PM)
Irving is the leader, we know that. But with more than 20 games to play, I see no reason to declare a leader now.
Wilbon, who do you think the best point guard in the NBA is? After the clinic yesterday against the knicks I would lean toward Rondo
mike wilbon (3:11 PM)
It changes from week to week. That Rondo performance was absurd. Trade that. But did you see Derrick Rose a few hours later? That running floater he made with his right hand from the left baseline, turning to square his shoulders? Rose can't get 20 assists and Rondo ain't making that shot. They're both just pheonomenal players. So is CP3. I'm partial to Rose because I'm from where he's from, South Side of Chicago. But Chris Paul some nights is the best. Deron Williams, please...57 points on anybody is impressive. I thought the best was Steve Nash for about five years running. Russell Westbrook is an even better athlete than Rose, and Westbrook is having a first-team all-NBA kind of season. I want to see Westbrook's decision making in the playoffs; that's my one hesitation about him. There's a posse of damn good point guards. Tony Parker's still up there...
Jerome (East Bay)
The Warriors have come out of the break looking disoriented. With Biedrins playing a whopping 7 minutes last night, they NEED to make a trade for a big or blow up the team, yes?
mike wilbon (3:12 PM)
Find a big. Don't blow it up. I root for the Warriors now because of their coach, my friend Mark Jackson...They were rarely blown out of games before the All-Star break, but yeah, lately it's been tough...
Biju (New York)
Mike hows everything! The Knicks have the potential to be a really good team with the talent and depth they have. My question is how long will it take for it to come together for them?
mike wilbon (3:16 PM)
Don't you wonder, if you're really a Knicks fan, if the Knicks possibly have too many scorers? I mean, seriously, Landry Fields, a damn good two-way player, plays 15 minutes, I think, yesterday? The Knicks are too good for Landry Fields? They didn't need J.R. Smith, I'll tell you that. Shumpert and Fields are 2 terrific young two-way players who need time on the floor. They form a very nice three-guard group with Jeremy Lin. But you've got all that and Novak...plus Carmelo sat out eight minutes at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth yesterday. I think it's too much. Deal somebody away. Never should have signed J.R. Smith. And Mike D'Antoni doesn't like playing that many people...yeah, the Knicks have a LOT of talent, but it's so hard to manage all that, make it come together by the playoffs...I think the Knicks will finish 6th...probably beat out the Celtics for that spot...and get Indy in the first round. My God, that would be a fun series to watch. I admit, the Knicks have so many pieces I would rather my Bulls avoid them in the first round...Still, the Knicks should have won that game in Boston yesterday, should have stolen it and let it slip...
Jordan Swan (Marshall, MN)
Mike I am a Timberwolves fan here even though they have been difficult the past years this year they are showing hope and I am wondering what your take is on there chances of the playoffs? And if you think they will make any deals at the deadline? Thanks
mike wilbon (3:19 PM)
I'd love to see the T-Wolves make the playoffs this year...Who doesn't want to see Love and Rubio in the playoffs, maybe in a first-round series against OKC or San Antonio? I certainly would. The deal I'd love to see them make is getting rid of Beasley...How many scorers at one position can one team have? Okay, it comes in handy when Kevin Love has the flu or something. But you've got Derrick Williams who can playo opposite Love, right? I like the Pekovic kid (hope I got his name right) who bangs and scores in the low-post. There'a a lot to like about the Wolves...
The Knicks need more perimeter defenders. Shumpert has the making of being a great perimeter defender, but after that the cupboard is pretty bare. Melo, Smith, Novak, and Lin are all well below average defenders. Fields at least tries on defense and is a great defensive rebounder for a guard. But the Knicks should've been thinking about adding defense rather than grabbing another player like J.R. Smith. With that said, they are still ranked pretty high defensively, but there aren't enough basketballs to go around for everyone.
mike wilbon (3:20 PM)
Well, see, I'm not the only one out there thinking along those lines! Thanks...
Josh Smith has to be attainable and very attractive to a lot of teams right? Who should be trying to trade for him?
mike wilbon (3:20 PM)
What, Atlanta doesn't think its in contention? Give him up and get what in return?
Damon (Santa Cruz)
Quick history question, Mike. Will Wilt's 100 be broken? Who is the most likely to accomplish such a Herculean feat?
mike wilbon (3:25 PM)
Great question. It ain't gonna happen. Not. No. No chance. Wilt was so much better than the guys he was playing against, save Russell, in 1962. He was just light years better. Players aren't THAT much better than their peers anymore, not with the whole damn world playing basketball. Jordan, to some extent was, but now you've got so many physical marvels. Wilt was one of a kind. Look, Kobe scored 81, which is preposterous, but it's 19 short. That's a lot. In 1991, I think it was, I thought Jordan could have done it against a Paul Westhead team that was allowing 120 a game in Denver. Of course, if the Bulls could score 150 Jordan could get 100 of them, right? I asked him if I should go to Denver for the game because i thought he could get 100 and he gave me that SpaceJam, "Are you stupid?" look. I think he actually said, "Are you stupid?" He told me not to waste my time going to the game because there was no chance...so I didn't, and of course, he didn't waste any time trying to do that...The scoring averages have gone down over time, largely because so many guys on the court now can score...But nobody is in that 35 point area like Jordan and Rick Barry used to be...Remember, Wilt AVERAGED 50. There's no more Wilt, like there's no more Ruth...ever.
Mike, Memphis is quietly 5th in the west without Zach Randolph. After what they did last post season without Rudy Gay, are we sleeping on them as a West contender?
mike wilbon (3:26 PM)
YOU might be sleeping on them but I think I picked Memphis to reach the conference finals in the West...Hell, if I didn't do that (I gotta check my final four pick in the NBA) I KNOW I picked them as my sleeper team in the west. Now, THAT's a team that could challenge OKC because Memphis is so good inside, once Zack comes back anyway...
Lebron James (Miami)
What did you think of my man purse?
mike wilbon (3:26 PM)
Loved it...I have some recommendations where you can pick up the new Tumi manpurse soon...
What do you think about Lakers getting their hands on Beasley. Good fit?
mike wilbon (3:27 PM)
Yeah, but they're not biting...
I think the hate for Lebron is universal in that he represents what sports fan hate- regardless of which sport. We know sports is a business for the player and the team. But for those of us sports fans who don't live in NY, LA etc- we hate our players leave for a bigger market. His hate represents every fan from the Royals to the Pirates to the Cavs to the whatever hockey team that has lost players. We represent the Tea Party and Lebron is our target as he was the hometown hero for left. At least Carmelo could say he went home.
mike wilbon (3:27 PM)
Carmelo is from Baltimore. You think Baltimore is a suburb of NYC?
Wait, if you have the knicks 6th, do you seriously believe they will pass the hawks?
mike wilbon (3:30 PM)
Okay, here's my Easttern Conference playoff roster as of now: Bulls, Heat, Pacers (yes, they can finish ahead of a division winner), Sixers, Magic, Knicks, Hawks, Celtics...Yeah, that's for TODAY...but it can change. If the Knicks can win two of those road games (at Dallas, at S.A., at Chicago) which is unlikely, they could really catch the Sixers who are struggling a little bit for fourth...How cool would that be for the Knicks, to finish fourth. I know, not likely...but possible, right? That 6-7-8 dance will be interesting.
Jonathan Tinsley (Lexington)
Do you think the Kentucky Wildcats will win the championship?
mike wilbon (3:30 PM)
Yes. Best player, best roster, great coach...Kentucky-Syracuse all-chalk final.
Rodney (Washington, DC)
Good afternoon Mr. Wilbon, Do you every think that Javale McGee will every understand why he did not start in a game last week?
mike wilbon (3:32 PM)
I know this: he doesn't understand now. He entirely clueless. He'll probably have to be traded and humbled a bit. He doesn't ever get anything. Doesn't understand why he shouldn't toss the ball to himself off the glass down six, doesn't understand why he should spike a ball out of the net, doesn't get anything. At present he's completely uncoachable...He needs to play for a Pat Riley-type, and I don't know how many of those there are left in the league.
Hey Mike I was wondering about my Clippers, they haven't looked great since Chauncey went down. They certainly have potential, could you see them making a move for a real 2 (no offense to Randy Foye)?
mike wilbon (3:33 PM)
They're looking, and trying, we hear. They might have to give up Bledsoe...The Chauncey injury was a killer. The Clippers were really set up pretty well to make a run this year. Now, they're struggling. Too bad J.R. Smith didn't realize where he was really needed, which is to say, the Clippers.
Kris (Washington, DC)
Hello Mr. Wilbon. What are the chances Steve Nash gets traded before the deadline?
mike wilbon (3:34 PM)
Little to none. The Suns have to get something of value back in return, right? And as a guy who spends a lot of time in Arizona I can tell you people LOVE Steve there...They want to see Steve Nash play. Hell, it's the only reason to come to the arena right now.
What about North Carolina? Looked awfully good pasting Duke in Cameron this weekend.
mike wilbon (3:34 PM)
Sure, No. 1 seed I think. Final Four team, yes. Not as good as Kentucky.
John T (Eagan, MN)
Just an FYI, someone on the radio here (Flip Saunders?) pointed out that, in Wilt's time, the defensive rules were vastly different. Basically you couldn't easily double-team him in the post. Just imagine if Shaq was playing 1-on-1 all the time.... Also, as for the Saints, it reminds me of the Timberwolves/Joe Smith thing: sure, you can say "everybody does it" implicitly, but just don't get caught doing it explicitly.
mike wilbon (3:35 PM)
Yes and yes. But remember, people could MAUL players back then. No, defenses weren't as sophisticated as they are now, which is another reason nobody is going to get 100...especially not a guy operating out of the low-post where it is so easy to double-team.
How big a win was it for the lakers over miami yesterday? Bosh was missing...
Sham (West Springfield MA)
Carmelo is actually from brooklyn NY. He lived there till he was 8 years old before he moved to baltimore. Just Saying!
mike wilbon (3:37 PM)
Miami plays, often, better with two of the three on the court than with all three. It was big. The Lakers felt differently about themselves after the game, felt more confident. Ooops, that was a previous question. I thought Carmelo moved to Baltimore at, like 4 years old. Okay, my bad...
Who's a better bowler, you or kornheiser? I get the feeling that he's pretty crafty.
mike wilbon (3:37 PM)
Me. 199 in competition on national television against a top professional. Wes Malotte. Come on, Bro. I'm no Chris Paul, but I can fling it.
What were your thoughts about the Miami radio-host saying Derrick Rose is "the most fraudulent MVP we've ever seen"? ...blasphemy, right?
mike wilbon (3:39 PM)
It's too stupid to comment on, so I won't.Okay, gotta run and prepare for PTI gang...Hope you all have a great week...march madness rollin' in'. We'll do this next week after Selection Sunday. I'm telling you now, only 30 percent NBA questions next week. Come with your Bracket questions. We're doing MOSTLY NCAA-related stuff...Be well, thanks for chatting. MW