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 p.m. ET!
mike wilbon (1:02 PM)
Hi Everybody! Thanks for joining...I see, overwhelmingly, a bunch of NBA Finals questions int he que and we're happt to dive into those...but keep in mind that there's some drama in the Stanley Cup finals and I'm nearly as excited about the U.S. Open this week as I am OKC-Miami...
Jubin (Miami, FL)
Why is everyone so focused on how devastating the Thunder's offense is? OKC lead the league in TO's if I'm not mistaken and Miami's defense ranked #3. Wouldn't that pose as a huge problem considering Miami feasts with its transition fast break offense?
mike wilbon (1:07 PM)
Well, keep in mind that while those stats are on the money (and thank you for that) OKC has dramatically reduced its turnovers in the post-season. It's as if Russell Westbrook, specifically, said, "That's it, no more turnovers." And just like that he did it. He had an 8-assist, 0-turnover game in the Spurs series. All the praise in the world to Westbrook for learning from last year's mistakes...He had a game last year, I think it was against Dallas in the conference finals, with something like 21 possessions where he didn't pass the ball to anybody. Took it the whole 24-second clock and shot it...H simply doesn't do that anymore. Kudos to Westbrook. Can you ask any more of a professional athletes than to fix exactly what was hurting his team.? Now, if OKC diverts...or should I say "reverts" to type, the Miami defense will devour them. Turnovers for Miami = layups. But I don't think OKC is going to revert.
Wylie (Dallas, TX)
Hey Michael, how do you think Lebron's stamina will hold up in the finals after the Heat practically rode him throughout all of last series?
mike wilbon (1:11 PM)
I think LeBron is at the height of his powers...What, 28 years old or soon to be? He's a beast. This is the prime of his career, where his knowledge of the game and what he's learned from past performances begins to match his physical prowess. I don't know that Miami will win but I don't see anybody stopping LeBron. I presume he'll see a lot of Ibaka, maybe a little Durant and a little Sefalosha...but a lot of IbakaShould be some great matchup, those two.
Would Chicago have been able to beat the Heat with both teams at full strength? I tend to think no because the Heat know how to slow down Rose and the Bulls don't have other consistent threats.
mike wilbon (1:14 PM)
This, of course, is what so many Bulls fans have been running through their heads. If Miami played the way they did against Indy and half the Boston series the Bulls would have beaten them. BUT, if Miami played the way they did in games 5 and 6 vs. Indiana and Games 6 and 7 vs Boston, Miami wins that series. When LeBron plays that way I don't know who, if anybody, can beat Miami. And I'm not sure who, if anybody, can stop him from playing that way.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Miam-OKC has to be a dream Finals matchup for David Stern and NBA fans. Which do you think falters first, Lebron under pressure, or the OKC.jumpshot, which was on fire against SA? Who ya got? Does Lebron finally get a ring this year?
mike wilbon (1:18 PM)
I agree with your premise, that this is a series basketball fans are salivating over...but don't oversimply. Durant is a great jump shooter, but not exclusively a jump shooter. Durant can grab a dozen rebounds, can get in the low-post and break a defense when his passing. And can't we agree that LeBron James was pretty damn great under pressure vs. Indiana (down 2-1) and the Celtics (down 3-2). Now, I think OKC is every-so-slightly better, but we're splitting hairs. I'll take OKC in 7 but they appear to be dead even teams to me.
WORST JUDGE FIGHT SINCE DE LA HOYA VS TRINDAD
mike wilbon (1:19 PM)
Yeah, this seems to be the concensus. I was flying the red-eye from Los Angeles to Washington and couldn't see the bout, but everything I've read says the decision was somewhere between comopletely incompetent and the worst thing that's happened to boxing in years...
Hey Mike, How high is kevin durant ceiling? the kids only 23, can he be a all time great???
mike wilbon (1:22 PM)
Hell yeah! Suppose OKC wins now and Durant wins three or five (or eight) more scoring championships? And several NBA Championships. Does he have a chance? Sure. It'll be fun watching to see...
If Lebron continues his stellar play in the Finals, but the Heat come up short, will he still face the withering criticism of the last few years?
mike wilbon (1:26 PM)
Apparently so. interesting becuase I asked Magic Johnson that question on-air the other night. Magic, though he won an NBA title as a rookie, faced just that criticism after the 1984 season when he played poorly, particularly in the playoffs. Magic said it absolutely IS fair, that the great players in professional basketball make all the money, have all the fame because they're special players and are expected, rightfully, to produce on that level. When the Chicago Bulls came up short vs. Detroit 3 straight times in the late 1980s it was Michael Jordan who got the criticism. People said a scoring champ would never win an NBA Championship, that MJ was too selfish, that he didn't make anybody better, the way Magic and Bird did...On and on it went until Jordan won the playoffs...
Will Lebron, Durant and Rondo create a "big 3" in Seattle soon? :)
mike wilbon (1:29 PM)
I'd love to see a team in Seattle. Really. Look, OKC and the charm of its people and that place are a big part of this story. But Seattle is one of the great cities in the world and I'd love to be spending a week there. The NBA should never have left that city...I'm not sure New Orleans can support two teams post-Katrina. New Orleans is about the size of Green Bay right now. One team, the Saints, have a hold on that city. The Hornets could be in OKC right now, and the Thunder should be the Sonics in Seattle. That's my opinion and I'm sticking with it.
Tony Kornheiser (Washington)
Hey Mike! Have you been watching any of the Euro Cup? Whose is your pick to win?
mike wilbon (1:30 PM)
Not yet...Had an NBA game Saturday night, a flight all night, Sunday withcross country to come home and be with my 4 year-old son...and here we are at Monday...Missed the French Open this morning, missed the Pac-man fight Sat night. God, I feel like Kornheiser!!!
which big three would u rather have
mike wilbon (1:31 PM)
Can I answer Magic at point guard, Jordan on the wing and Bird from 15 fet and in? If not I like Durant/Westbrook/Ibaka/ Harden...
David (Memphis, TN)
Is there really anything Lebron can do for Skip to leave him alone? Or does Skip have a continuous checklist for Lebron?
mike wilbon (2:48 PM)
Is there any reason LeBron should really care? Not being flip, but really?
do the heat have any chance in this series if bosh isn't at his best
mike wilbon (2:50 PM)
From what we saw of Bosh in Game 7, he looks pretty damned good, right? I don't think there's any reason to conclude Bosh is anything less than his usual self at this point.
what are the odds that the thunder sweep the heat?
mike wilbon (2:51 PM)
My goodness...none right? I can't see that at all. I can't see either of these teams not winning a game against the other.
who is better lebron or durant?
mike wilbon (2:53 PM)
I knew somebody was going to ask this!!! I think LeBron is better all-around. Certainly a better passer and better defender. Still, we're talking about such tiny margins, aren't we. Durant seems to be a more efficient scorer, has been better at the end of games...I'd say LeBron, narrowly. his 0playmaking ability gives him a little bit of an edge over Durant, to me. I think we're talking, now, about the two best players in the league.
Edwin (Nassau, Bahamas)
Hi Michael, is this NBA Finals match-up a result of the shortened lock out season? If this had been ordinary season who would have been there?
mike wilbon (2:55 PM)
Why wouldn't these two teams have been there anyway? In a season with a real training camp and the normal rhythm and rest of the season I think there would have been fewer crippling injuries. Would the Bulls have had a shot at beating Miami? Yeah, a shot. But Miami, at the very least, would have been a conference finalist. Who would OKC have lost to in a "normal" season? The Spurs? Lakers? I think OKC is the best team, no question, in the western conference and the same is probably true of Miami in the east.
what do you think about Miami being an underdog in the beginning of this series??
mike wilbon (2:56 PM)
I think its reasonable that OKC is the favorite.
Walter Goggins (Chicago,IL )
Boxing has been a sham for years. At least the last 2 decades and yet, for some reason, people will still watch/buy PPVs/etc. In six months there will be some other over-hyped joke of a match-up and 95% of boxing fans will forget how they got hosed tonight and get into it.As long as there are people with short memories boxing will still be a joke. Your thoughts?
mike wilbon (2:58 PM)
There have been boxing scandals for a lot longer than two decades...and YES, I still buy the PPV...That's part of the sport's appeal. Boxing will be boxing. It's a joke, yet I still LOVE it. The greatest guilty pleasure, TK always says. It's hard to reconcile, yes...But there's NOTHING like sitting at ringside watching two guys of great skill, strength, stamina, etc knocking the snot out of one another. Scandalous judgements, like the one that took a victory from Pac-man the other night, might help seal boxing's fate...It's going, going...but I still love it.
How surprised were you to see Marty Brodeur not roll over in game 4 and game 5?
mike wilbon (3:00 PM)
Hey, on PTI Friday I gave NJ a 70 percent chance of winning Game 5...so I wasn't surprised. I can see New Jersey evening this series 3-3, too...What drama that would be. Thing is, Brodeur has done this a few times in his career...three times to be exact he's won the Cup...This guy ain't slinking out the back door. He's a HOF...
mike wilbon (3:01 PM)
okay, gotta go get ready for PTI...This is the first time in four years I've felt Tiger Woods can win a major...I think it's possible...Sounds like this golf course will be as difficult to tame as any in reccent memory...If that's true, a lot of guys have no chance, and it'll help Tiger Woods...we'll know by Monday when we chat again...thanks much...see you then...MW