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!
Khaleelah (1:43 PM)
Mike is coming in from LA and is running a few minutes behind. He should be joining the chat shortly. -Khaleelah
mike wilbon (2:05 PM)
Hi Everybody...just coming in from Los Angeles where I spent the week, as many of you already know, covering the Donald Sterling/Clippers story and the actual 7-game series, too...So we'll jump right into that, other NBA playoff issues, maybe some NHL playoff stuff...whatever people have an appetite for...
Okay Wilbon, Heat - Nets. I got the Heat in 7, after losing Game 1 in Miami. I figure Joe Johnson has one game where he scores 35, Pierce backwards ages 5 years, Battier hits some big shots, and LBJ carries them home in the finale. Oh, and Kidd plays some minutes wearing his 2011 Mavs jersey and somehow nobody notices.
mike wilbon (2:19 PM)
What are you, a script writer??? Nice story lines you got there. I think Miami in 6 is where my head is, but let's not quibble...I do know that Paul Pierce wants this about as much as anything short of winning a title...that Kevin Garnett wants to beat Miami as much as anybody in the league. They hate Miami...They literally hate Miami, as an entity. I don't think the Nets can do that in a 4-game series with Miami as champ...but I think the Nets can push them...push 'em hard.
Is a series winning buzzer beater enough to push Lillard from young all star to full fledged superstar?
mike wilbon (2:21 PM)
Great question...maybe not the shot by itself, but in concert with all the other things around Lillard...the team success, the personal performances, the TV commercial. Depends, in part, on how Portland does in this next series, with San Antonio. But that shot goes on the reel of all-time NBA game-winners in the playoffs. Tremendous catch-and-shoot. We're going to talk about that on PTI today, the notion that Lillard could be a legit star. It's not like there's never been one in Portland. Bill Walton was a god there, so was Clyde Drexler. Hell, Portland is a bigger place than OKC and Kevin Durant's a star...So I think Lillard, depending on how things continue along for him and the Trailblazers, can indeed.
Hi Michael,What first round NBA series did you enjoy the most? The least?
mike wilbon (2:25 PM)
Well, Portland-Houston was a stunner...4 OT games and that Game 6 shot by Lillard...Clippers-Warriors going to Game 7, and an epic Game 7 at that, not to mention all the unwanted unsavory drama. Those have to be the faves...For me the least favorite is easily the Bulls going out in 5 the way they did. only the Bobcats and Bulls went out quickly, and the Bobcats had ZERO expectations. Rare that the Bulls under perform, but they did last week...
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Are you riding the Washington bandwagon into the ECF? Or do you think the Pacers righted the ship enough the past two games to take out the lower seeded Wizards?
mike wilbon (2:31 PM)
I'm picking the Wizards in 6. I don't know that getting into a 7-game death struggle with an under .500 Atlanta team shows that the Pacers have turned things around. Quite the contrary. Now, I think the Wizards need to get Game 2. I think they'll be rusty with all the days off for Game 1 and I think Indy can ride a little momentum tonight...BUT, the Pacers still look shaky to me, and we know the Wizards are a helluva lot better than Atlanta. John Wall and Bradley Beal should be over their stage fright...Roy Hibbert HAS to be out there against Nene and Gortat and give his team real performances. Not a lot of small ball for this series.I'm not saying I expect the Pacers to still be in meltdown mode, but I just think the Wizards, at this point, are the better team...
Michael, help me out here. If Donald Sterling's racist tendencies were a fairly well known fact, why was the NAACP set to honor him?
mike wilbon (2:33 PM)
Because, if you believe the reporting out in Los Angeles and I do, the NAACP took money from Sterling. Okay, I understand the notion of selling out is not new and new unique to any single organization...But I was expecting Sterling must have given the NAACP something like $100,000 once or twice and helped them out of a pickle or to fund some scholarships or something. But what's said out there is that it was more like $10,000...Damn, couldn't the NAACP at least sell out for something more than that to make the embarrassment worth it? And to think the NAACP was about to do it again, give Sterling ANOTHER Lifetime Achievement Award!
Why does society flip out on Donald Sterling, yet let the Redskins name not bother them at all?
mike wilbon (2:40 PM)
Well, remember...as our last participant pointed out people did NOT flip over similar comments over the years from Sterling, comments that were reported in mainstream media...it wasn't until now, that there's an audiotape where you hear his voice, that people flipped out. AND, while African-Americans make up 10-12 percent of the U.S. population the percentage of Native Americans is so much smaller, and the lobbying effort on their behalf is so much smaller. AND people are prone to swallow anything the NFL hands them because pro football is the biggest, most adored sports/entertainment entity in America and people just don't care as long as you give them their football and don't distract from their fun. But Sterling has had a long, unchallenged run saying bigoted stuff and slip-sliding away from it. The day of reckoning could come for the Redskins, as well.
Matt DC [via mobile]
Heard you on TKs show describe upsets as a construct of the NFL. Could you elaborate on that, because I found that statement very interesting????? Thanks.
mike wilbon (2:42 PM)
The word "upset" really addresses one-game situations, whether we're talking about NCAA games (which I also mentioned) but college and pro football games. It's difficult and very rare to have an upset when you have a SERIES of games...The best team more often prevails when you have to beat them 4 times in 7 games...In one-game events (okay, I should have added the World Cup, perhaps, and boxing matches) its much more likely that the underdog can win...not so much in the NBA...
How laughable is it that Marc Jackson is on the hot seat?
mike wilbon (2:45 PM)
It's absolutely absurd for a team to have as little success as the Warriors have had the previous 25 years, to now have a coach who leads that team to back-to-back playoff appearances be fired after seeing how much his team loves playing for him. The Warriors won 51 games in the much stronger conference and took a better team, the Clippers, to 7 games despite having to play without their injured big man, Andrew Bogut...Whatever the reasons would be for firing Mark Jackson, they can't be basketball related. It's commonly known the owner doesn't feel close to him, wants him to move his home from LA to SF, blah, blah, blah. Mark Jackson will be pretty quickly employed elsewhere and another NBA team will be pretty fortunate.
lakers need a coach and a point guard- how about me and Doc in a package?
mike wilbon (2:46 PM)
You counting on Doc leaving because of Donald Sterling? Okay, I can see that scenario. BUT, why would the Celtics trade Rondo to their hated rival? I don't see that part.
Call me crazy but outside of KD don't the Clippers have the next best 5 players on the floor?
mike wilbon (2:52 PM)
No...If I was doing that I'd go KD, Griffin, Paul, Westbrook, D.Jordan and then Jamal Crawford and or JJ Reddick...I do think the Clippers are deeper and built in a way to play with great versatility in the post-season. They've certain got the shooters...And Griffin is so improved now, so capable of playing an entire series of half-court basketball if need be...not that I'm expecting slowdown basketball in this series...
Shane (Robins AFB, GA)
Mr. Wilbon, we need your voice! Get on the PTI horn to the NFL and get them to move this draft to start on Saturday so we NFL fans can go back to having draft parties! Saturday - Monday would likely get about as many viewers as Thursday - Saturday.
mike wilbon (2:52 PM)
What, you can't have Thursday/Friday night Draft Parties? What's wrong with those nights? I thought Thursday was the new Saturday...or whatever nonsense that it?
Well...big fight this last weekend. Huge fans, huge PPV numbers, huge money for all parties involved. I come here for a dose of that classic Wilbon ignorance regarding the sport of boxing. Don't let me down, now!
mike wilbon (2:57 PM)
You sound like a total idiot who has no idea what I've covered or favored for 34 years of covering sports...a total and thorough idiot, which is your right. That fight, which you trumpet like it was Ali-Fraizer, drew a fraction of what the Kentucky Derby drew Saturday...They're both sports that are so much less relevant than they were for decades. There was a time when boxing and horse racing were, behind only baseball (but not really far behind) the three most important sports in America. Hell, it was Baseball/Boxing/Horse racing from 1900 through the early 1960s when pro football made its move. If you want to try to make the argument that boxing matters as much now as it did the first 80 years of the 20th century your ignorance poureth over, Jackson...
Speaking of Westbrook - love his game, and energy BUT do you think he will ever fully buy into being Robin to KD's Batman? Sometimes he seems to clearly forget who the top dog is, which unfortunately results in fewer touches for the NBA MVP.
mike wilbon (3:09 PM)
This is THE question about OKC, whether Westbrook's judgement is championship-level judgement. He's GOT THE BALL...and he needs to have more games where he should be shooting fewer times than Kevin Durant and expending more energy getting OKC to play like a fully-stocked team and not just have two mega-stars taking turns, which is what I think OKC has done too much of at certain times, like the games against Memphis. To me this is THE burning issue about OKC: Westbrook's ability or inability to understand that KD, not Westbrook, is the best player on his team. Now, I'm not saying the relationship has to be Scottie Pippen to Michael Jordan...but it needs to be tweaked, it seems to me...
Why are boxing fans so soft when it comes to people thinking their sport isn't relevant?
mike wilbon (3:11 PM)
Because everybody wants THEIR thing to be the most important thing on earth, and boxing took an enormous fall in popularity from even 1980 through now...It's sad because I loved boxing, as a kid and as a sportswriter, as much if not more than anything sporting pleasure in my life. And that, sadly, is over because there's not enough inventory of great boxing and its simply not as important to as many people as it used to be...
Keith H (Seattle)
My complaint on the timing of the NFL Draft is now the rookies get less time to work with their new teams. Plus the hype is never ending. Do you think it will go back to April or is the commish wanting to "own the sports calendar" in May?
mike wilbon (3:14 PM)
We're going to talk about this on PTI today, too...I think if the ratings are as high as the NFL and my bosses at ESPN hope, then it won't move at all, that people will get used to the new date and stop whining. I think the NFL almost NEVER gets these things wrong. I keep hearing about "Draft fatigue" but all I hear is one stupid mock draft after another, and people repeating what they've said about Johnny Football and Clowney for the 100th time instead of the 80th time as my network hypes "JUST 3 1/2 DAYS BEFORE THE DRAFT" like it was the Second Coming. I hate the hype surrounding the Draft...hate it...BUT, the interest justifies it. The Draft ratings are extraordinary and no, I don't think its moving at all...
Tavaris (Columbia, SC)
Do you think if Miami wins the title, which means Wade will have his 4th ring is there any chance he'll retire???
mike wilbon (3:15 PM)
None. I talk to D. Wade pretty routinely, and while he hates the pain and missing games he still loves to play, and there's too much money at stake here, not to mention legacy if he wins this spring and gets to No. 4 as you mention. Then how high can he go, historically? No, I think he'll sign a new deal either this summer or next...I can't see him retiring now.
mike wilbon (3:17 PM)
Okay, gotta run and prepare for PTI...TK is screaming for me to get ready...He just wants to run into makeup, which has become his fave thing! Okay, thanks for chatting, and we'll see you next Monday! Thanks much. MW