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 1:30 p.m. ET!
Bizzmaster (1:35 PM)
Hey folks, Mike will be here in about 15 minutes to take your questions!
Eastern NC (Eastern NC)
How did you make out with the weather, or were you home in DC?
mike wilbon (2:00 PM)
Hi Everybody! Thanks for hanging out today...I'll start with the weather in Chicago, specifically at Soldier Field yesterday, because I was indeed in attendance...Every year my son Matthew and I have a father-son football weekend, which he has dubbed our "Big Adventure" weekend. Well, we got more adventure this weekend than we probably bargained for. The rain at Northwestern-Michigan in Evanston Saturday was essentially nothing compared to what happened Sunday at Soldier Field, when multiple tornadoes and a derecho were all apparently in the area, whipping up winds to more than 60 MPH, creating a wall of water you might see in the tropics but damn sure not Chicago...Soldier Field had to be evacuated for nearly two hours. I've been covering NFL games since 1980, probably an average of 10-12 a season, so we're talking a lot of games, probably more than 400...And I'd never attended a game in the regular season or playoffs that was suspended like that. A first for me. I told my son, who is 5, he's likely to remember this "Big Adventure" weekend mroe than any other in his life. It was 2/3 successful for a civic standpoint, what with the Bulls crushing the Pacers and the Bears winning dramatically in OT...Unforgettable...We were sitting in a covered section of Soldier Field and didn't see a single drop of water until we made a mad dash home and would up essentially swimming...
Hi mike W hat do you and tony plan to discuss on pti today?
mike wilbon (2:12 PM)
Oh, you want a little behind-the-scenes info? Broncos-Chiefs will probably lead our show. NFL stuff, surely. Maybe Saints-49ers after that. Lots of football...kinda obvious, right? I think some Mondays you can't overthink this stuff...give people what they want AND its what Tony and I obsess over, quite frankly. I don't obsess over the NBA until after Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I watch it every night...Certain teams like the Bulls, Warriors, Spurs, Pacers, Heat to an extend, Suns...I watch them all the time...But this is pro football time, and the races are becoming more focused in each division. Every team is under the microscope...Panthers-Patriots tonight is a big-time game, to me anyway...So, it'll be a football heavy show.
Do you think the Giants have what it takes to win the NFC East?
mike wilbon (2:13 PM)
Hell yeah. What does it take? Being 8-8? Only the Redskins are out of the mix in that division...I don't see any chance of the Redskins getting hot the rest of the way; this ain't last year when they ripped off 7 straight. Maybe the Giants are the team that's going to do that. Philly has really put things together nicely, too...I don't trust Dallas...I think its a Philly-Giants situation, personally...
Mike- you were at the UC on Tuesday to check out some of the best college programs go head to head. What's your initial take on Parker, Randle, Wiggins, etc. That was a lot of future NBA talent on one floor.
mike wilbon (2:25 PM)
I was there...Also wrote a column you can still read on ESPN.com, mostly about the freshmen. Not often you justify the hype of these games, but jabari Parker, Julius Randle and Andrew Wiggins all did. They actually raised the bar with their performances. They exceeded the hype. I won't get too deep into this because its a few days old, but I wrote that I think Parker is the best player in the country. Randle is a beast within about 12 feet of the basket, kind of a Zach Randolph with more athleticism...And Wiggins is like a young Dominique Wilkins, just like he's jumping off a trampoline every time he goes up. Parker's the best of 'em to me...Just knows HOW to play, fundamentally sound and skilled with a demeanor coaches love...The Final Four would be so damn lucky to have those four teams in April...But I think the most important thing about the evening is that it got people talking about college basketball in November instead of the sport remaining on the back burner until March.
Dan Snyder says you should NEVER reconsider your position on the N word.
mike wilbon (2:25 PM)
Are you serious or joking?
Prediction for MNF? By the way your Halloween with Tony K was priceless.
mike wilbon (2:29 PM)
Thank you...I wouldn't have done it, except the producers made me! LOL Apparently Lindsey Vonn thought so and tweeted as much...glad she thought so. Anyway, I am in a confidence pool every week, with 16 points being awarded to the game you simply KNOW will result in a win for the team you pick (Seattle was my 16-point pick this week) and I have Carolina for 1 point (or 3 or whatever the low-point value is this week, based on the number of games being played)...I'm having a bad season despite a 13-0 week two weeks ago, and I'm trying to catch up, and the way to do that is pick winners nobody else is picking...So, I'm betting hardly anybody is picking Carolina this week. How much do I believe my pick...I kinda do. I think the Patriots are going to the AFC Championship game; they'll beat Denver or K.C. when its necessary...But I've been waiting for Carolina to burst out like this for awhile...I was expecting it last season and it never happened. Looking forward to it...
Eastern NC (Eastern NC)
Did we all overrate Jimmy Butler's scoring? How much of this was a product last year of Deng and Rose being out? Is this what we can look forward to all year?
mike wilbon (2:33 PM)
He's doing what he needs to do for now. Rose, Deng, Boozer should be the first three options...then Butler and Noah...Butler's fine because he can play two ways, because he CAN shoot the 3. The Bulls don't need an egomaniac young player out there demanding shots. They're not the Warriors either, where its bombs away for the top four scorers. That's not what the Bulls do. I think Butler will average, by season's end, 10-12 points per game...He'll get 15-18 when he needs to, or when the Bulls need him to. I like his judgement. And yes, he's going to defer to Deng and Rose AS HE SHOULD...But I like him, at 6-7 and 230 pounds, at that position. He guards people, he's tough, sticks his nose in there, rebounds...You see that blocked shot the other night against the Pacers. I like Butler. Love him, actually...I was at the Pacers-Bulls game Saturday night and spent a lot of time pointing out to my 13-year-old basketball obsessed nephew some of the stuff Butler was doing that kids should look at...
How do you manage to watch multiple games + different sports, even when they stagger them in the same time frame , Do you watch them @ espn , at home...?
mike wilbon (2:36 PM)
I have a modest man-cave at my home in suburban D.C., two flat-screens...nothing crazy. And I have them both on constantly during certain times of year...like October when the World Series AND the NFL are on...or like tonight when I'll watch the Bulls on the smaller screen and Patriots-Panthers on the big screen...And a clicker to check on other NBA games. Who doesn't have a clicker. I don't understand the notion, in this day and age, of grown men complaining that their wives are watching HGTV and they can't see the game. In this day and age? And I'm talking people with means. Hell, you can get a TV for probably $200...or use your laptop or desk top...But for me, two TVs with two clickers...No problem.
Hi Mike, First off I'm a huge fan of the show, best program on espn by far. My question is when do you think the St. Louis Rams will be a playoff contender again? Will they still be in STL when that time does come or will they be in another city by then?
mike wilbon (2:40 PM)
Thanks...and I understand your fretting. I thought the Rams would win 9 games this year and have an outside shot...(I'm worried about the Bears going to St. Louis this week)...That front-7 on defense is ferocious. Long and Quinn and scary good pressuring the QB. I think next year is possible to be a wild-card team. I do think the Rams franchise is one that could re-locate to Los Angeles. In my time out west the last few years I've heard more than a few times, from people with great means and interest in putting up to build a stadium, that the Chargers and Rams are the teams that reasonably could wind up in Los Angeles in a new downtown stadium. But that still seems years off, at least a few, and the Rams should make the playoffs before that, right?
Wilbon, in your heart of hearts and taking any interest out of your heart regarding this football team...do you think Shanahan is or will be on the hot seat after Week 17? Just an observation. Seeing as this team is going backwards, in the NFL = Not For Long (No Fun League), you never know with Chainsaw Dan. I'm not a Redskins fan, but knowing Frazier, Schiano probably won't be back, gotta ask about Shanny. Thanks.
mike wilbon (2:44 PM)
In my heart of hearts, but don't use my heart? Huh? I think Shanahan's record is bad enough into his fourth season that we know what we have here. I don't see him being the coach for the long-term, not at this point, so why keep him? Why would he want to stay anyway? It just doesn't seem to be working to the level people thought when Shanahan signed on. I don't think he and Robert Griffin have the kind of relationship you want to see between franchise QB and head coach, like Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid who DID have a great relationship...I don't see that, and are you going to get rid of of RG3? I don't think so...
With the loss to the Bears in overtime, do you think the Ravens are officially done? Or do you think they can afford one more loss to end 10-6 at best, to squeeze in the playoffs?
mike wilbon (2:47 PM)
Do I think the way Joe Flacco is playing (14 INTs I think) that the Ravens are going to win 6 straight to go 10-6? No. I don't...There was nothing I saw yesterday to suggest that will happen. I guess Flacco could get hot, get a roll and carry the team on his back for a few weeks. But they've got no margin for error...Best I see for the Ravens is 8-8...
As a Nets fan, when should I start worrying? This team was built for the playoffs, but if we keep playing the way we have through the first 9, there's either gonna be no playoffs, or we're gonna play ourselves into a nightmare 1st-round series. Help walk me off the ledge.
mike wilbon (2:53 PM)
Sorry. I know what you're saying and I agree with every piece of your analysis...But they're also old and the team can't expend a ton of energy going pedal-to-the-metal in February and March to get a top five seed, which they probably need. I know these are Hall of Fame players the Nets have, but they can't fall so far behind Miami, the Pacers and Bulls in the East...You don't want to play one of those three in the first round...Good news for you is that the Knicks stink, the Wizards are so much less than I thought they'd be...The 76ers are talented but young...very young...It's a three-team conference so the Nets still need, in my opinion, to finish fourth in the East.
Do you have a favorite Boxing Event that you covered?
mike wilbon (3:00 PM)
I was ringside for Mike Tyson biting off a chunk of Evander Holyfield's ear. I don't how that isn't No. 1. I was also at Holyfield-Riddick Bowe when they had a famous 10th round where each guy nearly knocks the other out. But the ear-bite fight...what's greater than that?
Have you read Jason Whitlock's article on the n-word? Curious about your thoughts.
mike wilbon (3:10 PM)
I have...and we disagree. Jason is just a friend, he's a damn good friend of many years and we talk about EVERYTHING under the sun, including how we feel about the N-word...I disagree with Jason but I have zero problem with our going back-and-forth about it. You think Jason is the only person who disagrees with my view on the N-word. My mother disagrees with me. I think it was Bill Rhoden, another dear and close friend in this business, who called up a group of us a few years ago and said, "Fellas, we should stop this. We shouldn't use this anymore." I think I agreed for a day or maybe a week, and went right back to it. I don't pretend. I use it. I don't give a damn really--sorry mom--who objects. I'm okay with people engaging in the discussion about why you should or shouldn't. But that discussion ain't for everybody, and I don't care who disagrees with that. Just to make this more specific, Whitlock and I can talk passionately about the N-word all day and all night for 20 years and that's what we do. Mike Wise and I can't have that conversation, and YES Wise and I are damn good friends too. We can have it academically, in fact Wise and I HAD a similar conversation Saturday...An academic conversation. It ain't the same one Whitlock and I had and YES that's about difference in race. Everybody doesn't need to say everything.
mike wilbon (3:13 PM)
Damn, this is a good week...You guys are on fire...but I gotta run and prepare for PTI...TK is hollering at me to get my head into the meeting...LOL thanks for chatting...next Monday it is, Peeps. thanks. have a great week! MW