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 1:30 p.m. ET!
Mark (Middle of Nowhere) [via mobile]
So, do you think the winner of the Spurs-Thunder is going to decide the West #1 seed? Or do you think one of the two is just going to coast into the playoffs and not care what seed they get?
mike wilbon (1:39 PM)
Hi Everybody! Thanks for chatting with me on Tuesday...I spent yesterday flying across the country, well most of it, from Arizona to D.C. so here I am, ready to talk about whatever...I don't know where to start actually, so we'll go with the NBA regular season, which now is down to about 10 games for most teams...And yes, I think Spurs-Thunder will decide the west, though I'm cautious about ruling out Memphis and or Denver...Ginobili being out perhaps for a few games of the first round of the playoffs is indeed cause for concern...I just think that Memphis is built for the playoffs, Randolph and Gasol particularly...Upsets are a rare, rare thing (presuming relative health) in pro basketball but maybe this is the year...
I never really though Jeff Samrdzija was going to turn into anything worth writing home about, but between last season and yesterday, I'm ready to shut my stupid mouth. The guy works his butt off and gets better and better. Is he turning into a true ace?
mike wilbon (1:45 PM)
Wasn't that a gem Jeff threw yesterday? He was in TOTAL command...now granted, it was the Pirates he shut out...and I never saw him as the ace of a staff either...but Opening Day, which is always completely overrated as an indicator of what's going to happen the rest of the year, he was so impressive...Of course Carlos Marmol was his usual self, meaning a high school pithcer has better control...I literally can't stand to see Marmol walk in from the bullpen...Okay, I won't go off on that rant, but I'm glad Sveum had Marmol on a short leash and got him out of there...Would have been a total shame to waste such a well-pitched game.
Dan (South Beach)
Can the Jazz outlast the Lakers for last place? (in the playoffs)
mike wilbon (1:47 PM)
I don't think so...The Lakers schedule is favorable, in part because the teams ahead of in the Western Conference that remain on the regular season schedule (like Spurs and Warriors) will probably shut it down the last couple of games while the Lakers are going as hard as they can go...Of course, the Lakers really, really, really need to win tonight against the Mavericks...But I think the Lakers will get the 8 spot, which means nothing because I just can't see them winning more than a game against the Spurs or OKC in a 7-game series.
Mike, how do you think the Bulls approach free agency this summer? Mayo, Korver, and Redick are on the market but I don't know if the Bulls can afford them.
mike wilbon (1:53 PM)
I don't know that free agency, in particular, is what the Bulls will be looking at...How about a trade? How about going after Kevin Love this summer. That, to me, seems to be a disaster...You look at teams that re-tool and go (Denver, for example) and it's often with smart trades...They've got that future Charlotte pick, which could be No. 1 overall, and the kid Mirotic (hope I spelled that correctly) playing in Europe who really could be better than anybody in this draft...They've got assets, the Bulls do, but the question is how Pax and Gar plan to use them to build around D. Rose.
Your favorite player left in the NCAA tourney? Favorite pro prospect in this year's NBA draft?
mike wilbon (1:59 PM)
Michael Carter-Williams of Syracuse...he's 6-6, he's athletic enough to play in the NBA and in 2 years at Syracuse I promise you he's been coached. Jim Boeheim isn't afraid to actually COACH kids, which most of them equate to "criticism." The kid's had some crazy off-court things, like his family's house burning down recently...There's a toughness about him that could serve him or work against him...Maybe I'm stretching...I like Russ Smith...I know a lot of people are in love with Trey Burke...I'm trying to figure out if he can be a Ty Lawson or Raymond Felton in the NBA...Does he pass it well enough? I like Tim Hardaway the best of the Michigan kids, I think...It's not a big star Final Four, for sure...
Would DRose be playing right now if the Bulls had kept Asik?
mike wilbon (2:01 PM)
What? You have Asik being Wilt? I don't get it. D. Rose isn't playing now because he doesn't feel he's healthy enough to play...the Bulls and Rockets have about the same record, right? And the Rockets are playing in a tougher conference, granted...But what, you think Rose doesn't want to play with Noah and Gibson and Booze?
James (Seattle )
Do you think the Kings will be playing in Seattle next season or is there still a chance they stay in Sacramento?
mike wilbon (2:04 PM)
great question that nobody has the answer to right this moment. I'll tell you this: David Stern and the NBA power brokers had no idea Mayor Kevin Johnson and Sacramento could be this resourceful...Wow. Standing O for KJ...This would be his greatest NBA accomplishment...I thought this was a slam-dunk for Seattle, a city the NBA should NEVER have left, but the Board of Governors have a real task on their hands tomorrow when this will all presumably shake out.
Dan (South Beach)
I have been reading of your enthusiasm for different sports at different times of year. Does the quality of play ever effect that enthusiasm? I haven't watched an NCAA basketball game in a decade, because it seems to be more about mismatches than team play
mike wilbon (2:09 PM)
Damn good question. Look, I LOVE March Madness, eat it up, have loved it since I was 13 or 14 years old...Probably the Bill Walton performances got me obsessed...I've seen so many of the greatest performances over the last 32 years of the tournament...Having said that...the play this March has been below par. Only a handful of teams play the kind of offense I got to watch covering college hoops for The Washington Post for three decades...This could be the least impressive tournament of the last 30 years...I found myself turning to watch other sports, golf tournaments, NBA games...it hasn't been compelling...and I worry, as a fan of college basketball, that this is a trend and not an isolated incident. Look, the NBA has had uninteresing seasons, God knows, and so--despite the slurping of adoring network partners--has the NFL...This isn't a showcase for college basketball...
I saw Magic Johnson at the los angles dogers game on tv yesterday.Do you think he will still be an anylyst in the nba studio this week?
mike wilbon (2:10 PM)
Friday night baby...I expect to be sitting right beside him...
Charles (San Jose)
Mike, doesn't basketball officiating in the Pac-12 lose all credibility next season if Ed Rush still has a job?
mike wilbon (2:13 PM)
Listening to Larry Scott, the Pac-12 commish, on the phone right now with Scott Van Pelt...and he hasn't yet said anything that tips his hand that he will be firing Eddie Rush...But if there's more stuff that comes out down the road, then Scott would have to act...I want to hear what more there is here...An incentive for teeing up a coach is like a bounty, unless you feel Rush was joking, as Scott says he was, and there was no intent...I do know this: Eddie Rush is a funny guy and it's in his wheel-house to do this, and by that I mean put it out there and be joking. BUT, you can't joke about it because not everybody finds everything humorous...
Over the past month John Wall is averaging 22 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals per game while shooting 48% from the field and 45% from 3point range. One month doesn't make the player, but do you think all the guys that rushed to declare Wall (still just 22 years old!) a bust, feel like dummies?
mike wilbon (2:18 PM)
I don't know that manny guys who declared Wall a bust...but I do know plenty (and I've been in that camp) who would have traded him in order to get James Harden. I STILL make the case the Wizards should have moved Heaven and Earth to get Harden...Imagine him with Bradley Beal and Nene and Emeka Okafor...The Wizards would be fighting for fourth or fifth in the East...Anyway, Wall has really come on stronger than I thought he would because he didn't improve the one thing he HAD to work on last summer, his shot. But he's been effective, he's understood how to use his teammates, he's played defense...I think the Wizards have to re-sign him and hope to get lucky in the lottery and find a 6-7, 6-8 two-way player in the draft or trade for one...But Wall has come on like gangbusters. I'd so rather see the Wizards in the playoffs against Miami than Milwaukee.
Mike, did you get a chance to catch Alvarado/Rios II on Saturday? Fights like THAT are why boxing is STILL the greatest sport in the world!
mike wilbon (2:19 PM)
I TiVo'd it and plan to watch tonight...I couldn't see it because of family stuff...but I love boxing so much and miss it, as I knew the sport from 5 years old until about 8-10 years ago...So I'll watch...Glad to hear you thought it was a keeper...
Have you been following the spat between the Cubs and the city? I don't understand why the interests of the rooftop owners is given so much consideration? I understand the tradition of the rooftops, but the rooftop owners are certainly not entitled to an unobstructed view of Wrigley.
mike wilbon (2:22 PM)
I used to think the same thing, I really did...After spending a couple of afternoons/evenings up there on one of them I understand that the culture of Wrigley and the Cubs and Wrigleyville...and really Chicago...includes that experience...the inclusive experience...it really is a big slice of Chicago, the whole neighborhood inclusion. I know it seems petty and silly, but I guess I've been won over. They just have to reach a comprimise...If it's still The City That Works, then get it done...
Adi (Salt Lake)
Mike Wallace put Lebron, Durant, Dwight, Chris and Wade as 5 best in NBA today. How can you put Wade and Dwight ahead of Kobe. Wade with less mileage has a bug on injuries while Kobe in his 17 season is playing out of this world?
mike wilbon (2:28 PM)
I have a vote and I can pretty much tell you right now where I'm going. My All-NBA first team will very likely be LeBron and Durant, Kobe and Russell Westbrook, and Marc Gasol...My second team will be Carmelo and Paul George, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and James Harden...I think that's the way I'm going...We have to have a 3rd team, too, and I'm not set on that...LeBron is the MVP and it ought to be unanimous. I'm taking Gasol over Howard because even though Howard has statistical measures Gasol doesn't reach, I think Gasol's IMPACT has been so much greater. Let's face it, Howard was an absolute disappointment the first third of the season...I suppose there is a 10 percent chance I could talk to enough players and coaches over the next 10 days who could present enough evidence to the contrary that I could change that, but I doubt it...
Keith H (Seattle)
Will you be going to Augusta for The Masters? Do you follow the tournament much? Thanks for all you do.
mike wilbon (2:29 PM)
I follow EVERY SINGLE STROKE...I will not be there. My basketball duties will have me in Los Angeles in studio, but trust me, I don't miss a minute of the telecast. I build my life around watching The Masters for four days...
Adi (Salt Lake)
Lebron is out of this plant and is one of the greatest of all time. But 1 championship and 8 season analysts are saying him to be 10 greatest all time. If that is the case Kobe with 5 championship and 17 great seasons should be 5 greatest all time??
mike wilbon (2:31 PM)
I think they're projecting where it is they believe LeBron will rank by the end of his career...I'm with you; at the moment LeBron doesn't move into my Top 10...Will he after six, seven more seasons? I think so, yeah. I find it difficult to believe LeBron won't finish his career as a top 10 player.
Adi (Salt Lake)
Is Kobe's play in 17th season making a good case for him being 5 greatest all time???
mike wilbon (2:36 PM)
I have him in the Top 10, as we continue this discussion, but not the Top 5...I don't have him ever passing Jordan, Russell, Magic and Kareem...Could he be fifth and pass Larry Bird? I don't know...And what about Wilt? Bob Ryan just said that LeBron is in his top 5 of all time, already...It's a great discussion to have, really...thanks for bringing it up...
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Will the Cowboys be the Raiders in 5 years if Jerry Jones doesn't wake up?
mike wilbon (2:42 PM)
Great forecasting. Yeah, I think so....When I was in the Cowboys new stadium one Monday night in October for a Bears-Cowboys game, and 40 percent of the fans, at least, were rooting for the Bears. Seriously, you think that happens in Green Bay or San Francisco or Pittsburgh? No chance. They're becoming irrelevant...Nobody wants to hear that...but that can happen EVEN to the Cowboys if they just keep bowing out at the end of regular seasons...
I recently read a report stating that a current NFL player was considering coming out as openly gay and attempting to continue his career. This would obviously be an extremely relevant in the interplay between sports and society. How do you think fans/teammates/opponents might react?
mike wilbon (2:48 PM)
Better than they would have 15 or 25 or 40 years ago, but I fear not without incident or ugliness. I think those people would be, by and large, shouted down by people who have better sense. For those who think it would be no issue in the locker room I'd offer up that moron Chris Culliver on the 49ers who said during Super Bowl week that he doesn't have any gay teammates and if he did he tell 'em to "get up out of here...can't be in the locker room man, nah..." He also said gay players should wait 10 years after retirement before "coming out" and if you think Culliver is the only player to feel that way...But I feel reasonably certain a great many people will shrug and say, "So what?" Or at least I hope that...
Claudia (Western NY)
At this point, don't you think D. Rose's issues are more mental than physical?
mike wilbon (2:49 PM)
I'm sure he has both. Hell, he's SAID he has both...That's what serious injuries do.
mike wilbon (2:57 PM)
Okay...man, I could do this for another hour because you guys have raised such great issues...But I gotta run to prepare for PTI...TK is growling right now for me to get in the huddle...Okay, see you guys next week...back to Monday as usual. Thanks so much. Have a great week!