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!
Buzzmaster (1:00 PM)
Hey folks, Mike's flight was cancelled so he has to drive from Pittsburgh back to DC and won't be able to chat today. But we've rescheduled for Tuesday!
bashe (Richmond, Va)
Noticed you've been wearing a tie a lot more on PTI lately---actually, all the time, seems like. How come?
Mike Wilbon (1:42 PM)
'Afternooon Everybody...thanks for joining me on Tuesday instead of the usual Monday...had to drive from Pittsburgh back to D.C. yesterday following Bears-Steelers and while I've done that drive in 4 hours flat more than once it took 5 yesterday...so here we are on Tuesday...And YES, I have been wearing ties a ton lately...I get bored...just changing it up...I'll do this for awhile and probably get tired of ties, like in a month or so, and go to something else...especially in the fall with all the merinos and vests and various sweaters out there that I fall in love with...thanks for noticing!
Ed (Queens Village)
You were at Sunday game. Which did you learn more Bears doing enough to win or Steelers demise?
Mike Wilbon (1:44 PM)
They went hand-in-hand, didn't they? The Bears went with their old familiar formula of defense and doing just enough on offense because, as Cutler and Marshall said afterward, the guys are still learning the offense and while they're changing the culture there to install a big-time modern day offense (imagine that from the Bears!) they can do this thing that works...especially when the other team, in this case the Steelers, have obvious personnel challenges. The Steelers have lost a ton of people through free agent defections and injuries and too much is on Big Ben to throw for 400 yards, and even when he does its not quite enough...Steelers look, at best, like a 7-9 team and probably worse, which must be frustrating for Steelers fans given their ability to consistently contend.
How was Breezewood on the turnpike - if your northwestern wildcats played Md Terps this season - who wins? and will you get a chance to lead the NW football team out like Greeney did earlier this year
Mike Wilbon (1:48 PM)
I did it two years ago, vs. michigan...I didn't deliver; we lost. But I was beyond honored to be asked and loved every minute of it, as I know Greenie did...I got through Breezewood without getting a ticket, by the way, which hasn't always been the case! Back to NU (not NW), we've got this mountainous task ahead of us a week from Saturday vs. Ohio State...at home, for Homecoming, but there will still be 25,000 Buckeyes flooding Evanston and Ohio State will be heavily favored, as the Buckeyes should be...But it'll be, I think, about the biggest regular season game we've ever had. Yes ever...at least in terms of buildup...
any chance you'd debate keith law (or an "advanced metrics specialist") on one of your shows? I love your stuff (even though i side more with KLaw on the benefits of advanced stats as a measure of sports success) and I think it'd be very interesting to hear both sides of the debate.
Mike Wilbon (1:50 PM)
PTI has been on the air for 12 years now, and I can promise you that you've NEVER seen anybody "debate" anything here other than the hosts. We have guests about 60 percent of the time, yes, but we don't "debate" them. You'd have to turn somewhere else to find that...So, no. Sorry.
Dylan P (Vacaville CA)
I also wanted to ask about Johnny Football...is that kid not the most talented college football player you've ever seen? Forgot all that off the field non-sense, it looks effortless for him! An NFL team needs to take a chance on him, he'll mature and can only get better on the field!
Mike Wilbon (1:59 PM)
Most talented kid I've ever seen? No. How old are you? Let me guess, 26, 28? Go to YouTube and look up Herschel Walker, son. You want small Quarterbacks for $1,000? How about Jim McMahon or Doug Flutie. Oh, how about Bo Jackson. You're not old enough to have seen O.J. Simpson, but I am. Barry Sanders. All those guys are ahead of Johnny Football for me...BUT he's moving up the ladder with every performance. He's thrilling to watch, but not MORE than those other guys. Plus, there are guys like Rocket Ismail and Johnny Rodgers. You never saw these guys play, like Deion Sanders, but I did...saw them in person (not Rodgers and not OJ but most of the others)...But we live in a culture now in which every time a guy has 10 great games people ask, "Isn't he the greatest thing you've every seen?"No.I love Johnny Football. He's the most exciting player in the BCS schools that I've seen the last two years. But he's got a ways to go before I put him on the all-time list.
Dylan P (Vacaville CA)
Michael!! Huge fan! What do you think of the NBA and these "nickname" jerseys? Pretty ridiculous if you ask me, the only one that even makes sense..."King James" but he should wear that every game haha
Mike Wilbon (2:01 PM)
Thank you! And I hate the idea. As if the "look at me" AAU culture isn't pervasive enough, we have the NBA wanting to contribute now? I know, some of my closest friends are going to say, "East up, Bro...it ain't that serious" and that's a point a person could legitimately defend. But selfishness in basketball is something I don't think the NBA should be endorsing. And this seems about as self-absorbed as it gets. Individualism can be celebrated in summer league play, which I LOVE...but not in NBA games...
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What NFL Team has the best Defense in 2013?
Mike Wilbon (2:03 PM)
Seattle. I'm not saying statistically this is the case. I'm saying from what I've seen that I'd take Seattle's at the moment.
Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'neal are considered by many to be the most dominant players to ever play the game. If they were to go 1 on 1 in a game to 21 who would win? and what would the score be?
Mike Wilbon (2:07 PM)
nobody over 40 years old has Shaq being the most dominant player to even play his position. Again, YouTube time...Look at some Wilt Chamberlain video. Please. Now, your MJ-Wilt question depends on the rules. Shaq could dunk every time, obviously...But Jordan could shoot 3s on every possession...So, hell, I don't know. But if we're talking the all-dominance team, the members, it seems to me, would be Wilt, Russell, MJ, Kareem and Shaq...perhaps in that order.
Keith H (Seattle)
Michael, we're about the same age. The two things lacking in today's generation are: 1) Patience and 2) A sense of history. I'm starting to think the phones are smarter than the operators.
Mike Wilbon (2:08 PM)
Thanks for that...wish I'd written that line! :-)
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
When is the last time you've seen the NFC East look this bad? I know it has not lived up to it's reputation the last few years, but 3 wins in 3 weeks is pathetic! My Cowboys could make the playoffs at 8-8!
Mike Wilbon (2:12 PM)
Division winner goes 9-7 perhaps? 10-6 at best. It's bad...But there's time to recover, too. Will the Giants remain as bad as they are now? The Giants and Redskins really do have time to get on some kind of roll. I, as many of you will recall, am skeptical of the Eagles and the declaration that Chip Kelly's offense would set the NFL on fire...
Do you prefer the new format of PTI with extra headlines, as opposed to the format you had been doing previously?
Mike Wilbon (2:14 PM)
Great question...I'm still figuring it out. I certainly liked the way we did it for 11 1/2 years...But, I think going with more headlines for a longer time keeps viewers engaged a little longer; that must have been our producers' goal...You have to remember, Tony and I can and will talk about damn nearly anything in the sports universe but its the producers who arrange the show, who format the show, who select video, etc., etc. and these are things Tony and I not only know nothing about but volunteer zero input over...
Steve (salt lake city, ut)
Anyone stopping Manning and my Broncos this year? Guy is playing like a man possessed.
Mike Wilbon (2:17 PM)
The Broncos look great right now, and Peyton Manning looks nearly as good as he ever as (but without the deep ball). We're also three games into the season. I would just remind you that Peyton Manning teams won 12 or more games nine times...and one Super Bowl. So when you suggest they're "unstoppable" I would say, "Let's see." Every year somebody sets the pace but rarely does that team go wire-to-wire...Some of the recent Patriots teams look unstoppable, too, until they get stopped. But yes, the Broncos look right now like they're gonna roll just about everybody...
Nick (PA )
Any chance of a boxing guest on PTI anytime soon?
Mike Wilbon (2:19 PM)
I think our producers reached out to Floyd Mayweather, both just before and after the fight. We've had Floyd a couple of times before, though not very recently. I don't know. Who would you like to see. But it can't be somebody who's up-and-coming but obscure. I'm thinking, I'm thinking...I suggested Ray Mancini, who I LOVE listening to...He's a guy with the depth you need to have a real conversation and is engaging as hell, with his own history in the ring...
You guys saying that boxing is dead only hurts the sport. Go look at Campbell's chat, Rafael's chat. There are a lot of loyal boxing fans. Quite a bit actually, and a lot of great fights. Boxing may not be as popular as it was, but it is in no way dying. It is nowhere close to dead. Nothing in the world can kill boxing, and nothing can save it. So pretty please, with sugar on top, don't talk about it dying any more because you give the casual fan the wrong impression.
Mike Wilbon (2:24 PM)
Quinn...I hear you Sir. But I'm not a boxing publicist. My opinions aren't shaped to help (or hurt) boxing. I KNOW there are boxing fans; hell, I'm one of them. But go back and look at what I said a couple of weeks ago (if you're bored and have some time on your hands) because I stand by the fuller statement that boxing has almost none of the cultural impact or relevance that it had from 1900 to the early 1990s. I'm not backing off that, and neither would anybody who's studied the history of the sport. I hope it doesn't die. I'd like to see a half-dozen charismatic, talented boxers across various weight divisions (plus smart promoters) elevate the sport to daily importance again. DAILY IMPORTANCE...I'd L-O-V-E to see that. I'm talking guys with the talent and personality of, say, Ray Leonard and Larry Holmes and Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler and, yes, Floyd Mayweaather...Don't forget George Foreman...Get my drift?
Keith H (Seattle)
Did you catch the Mayweather vs Canelo fight? What was CJ Ford looking at? I thought Canelo won two rounds, tops.
Mike Wilbon (2:25 PM)
I had Alvarez winning no rounds, zero. Floyd pitched a virtual shutout...And that's why that judge had to go bye-bye...
To respond to Dylan. The immaturity concern is actually the most important thing when it comes to evaluating Manzeil's NFL potential. The NFL graveyard is littered with ultra talented players who didn't put in the grinder effort necessary to make it work. Manning, Brady, Brees and now Luck and Wilson owe their success to their work ethic far more than their talent.
Mike Wilbon (2:25 PM)
Very, very important points you make...Very important. Thank you for that...
Thanks for the well thought out paragraph responses as opposed to some of the chatters who go for volume. What do you think of the Pats? Clearly still A TON of learning but I feel as they are on the right direction. Do you think come the colder months they might a shot at competing against the Broncos who look like the 07 Patriots? Eventually by the second half of that season our games started getting a lot closer.
Mike Wilbon (2:27 PM)
I think the Patriots will be just fine. Receivers will develop, Gronk will come back, the defense might get even better and its already really, really good...If you ask me right now: pick a team to beat the Broncos in the AFC playoffs, I'd go Patriots and (drum roll) Ravens...probably in that order.
Hey Mr. Wilbon. What are the criteria for Jay Cutler to be brought back by the Bears next year? Do the Bears have the assets to get a GOOD rookie QB next year?
Mike Wilbon (2:30 PM)
The Bears don't need to think about drafting a QB; they need to coach this one up and get that offense to the point where the Bears can score 30-plus points a game without waiting on defensive scores. I think that can happen, given the weapons Cutler has (Forte, Marshall, Jeffery, Bennett & Bennett)...But to get at the first part of your question, I think Cutler has to win a playoff game THIS SEASON to really make it so that we can dispense with this question and simply have him for four more seasons...I think Cutler's going to be fine this season, I really do.
Do the A's have to win a World Series for Selig to take leadership in finding them a new appropriate stadium?
Mike Wilbon (2:32 PM)
Dude, the state of California ain't building stadiums with public funds, plain and simple. The 49ers are a lot more important to northern California than the As and look how long its taken for the Niners to have a new stadium and its down in Santa Clara and I don't know the exact nature of the funding, but it must be overwhelmingly private...A World Series win for the As would be a great story but it doesn't mean Bud is going to order up a new stadium for them like magic.
Do you think Hockey Coverage has suffered since the NHL left ESPN?
Mike Wilbon (2:37 PM)
Probably. ESPN, whether you love or hate us, is on 24/7. It's inescapable, given all the platforms. Now, I watch a lot of the NHL on NBC and the NHL Network and the coverage there is really, really terrific. Everything can't be on one network, and shouldn't be (as I answer this while wearing my journalism hat, not as an employee)...But the more visible something is the more talk is generated and the more news outlets react to that buzz and assign their reporters/editors to "get on that story." Now, having said that, was there huge coverage of the Blackhawks from the start last season? Yes. Would there have been more if ESPN televised the NHL? Probably...
Have you ever wanted to have your own radio show like so many of your ESPN Colleague's?
Mike Wilbon (2:39 PM)
No...That's not something I dream of...I'm not saying it'll never happen, but I'm not out there pounding the drum for it. It's hard to do. I've sat in for Tony Kornheiser when he was on vacation and I KNOW it's difficult...time consuming and a grind AND, I imagine, very gratifying. I'll settle for being a guest on the shows hosted by my many friends...at least for now.
JJ (Liberty Twp, OH)
Boxing is completely dead. MMA has blown past its corpse. Boxing is pro wrestling without the charm.
Mike Wilbon (2:40 PM)
I so hope you're wrong...but I fear you are right. It makes me cringe that you might be right. I hope you're simply a blowhard engaging in overstatement...cause I love boxing and don't give a damn about MMA...
Jim Lampley would be a good PTI guest.
Mike Wilbon (2:40 PM)
Yes, I like that! thank you. Maybe Lampley wouldn't give us the time of day though!!! :-)
Rose ready to get back to top 5 in NBA? Do you think Bulls can de-throne Miami or is it just a matter of Miami's health?
Mike Wilbon (2:42 PM)
Let's get this straight: Miami's the favorite in the Eastern Conference. And D. Rose just needs to get back to being comfortable playing professional basketball again after 18 months away. Any projections at this point to me are way, way premature.
vic ( no cal)
I can appreciate the fact that diehard boxing fans want to continue to prop up their sport much in the same way I don't begrudge Blockbuster Video stockholders for holding out on a big return on their investment. It ain't happening, but I appreciate the loyalty.
Mike Wilbon (2:43 PM)
I'm publishing these responses (and this one is very smart) because boxing loyalists need to be aware of opinions other than their own (as much as it hurts me!)...
Hint, hint. You guys literally have one of the most reputable boxing writers in the world working for ESPN - hint, hint. Why not give Dan Rafael "5 Good Minutes" on PTI?
Mike Wilbon (2:44 PM)
I'll ask our producers, who I thought approached him before the Mayweather fight when he might have been, understandably, swamped with work...I'll ask!
I'd like to see ESPN's own Dan Rafael or Teddy Atlas as a guest on PTI, especially since there is a major Heavyweight Title fight coming up in 2 weeks when Klitschko fights Povetkin.
Mike Wilbon (2:44 PM)
Again, good suggestion...and we've had Teddy on before and I hope will again...
michael (virginia beach)
mike tyson lol
Mike Wilbon (2:44 PM)
Look, I AM for that...I don't know how others feel, in the main. Tony and I are really comfortable with having Tyson on but I don't know about viewers...
Mike Wilbon (2:46 PM)
Okay, I gotta run and prepare for PTI before TK and I get into fisticuffs here in the newsroom!!! LOL Thanks for chatting; this was great. Lot of fun today...Back to Monday next week. MW