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!
mike wilbon (1:43 PM)
Hi Everybody...Pit Stop at PTI for the day on the way from San Antonio to Miami...we'll jump into a bunch of stuff in an abbreviated chat today...and there's a ton to talk about...
Another travel day chat... you should negotiate these out in your next contract :-) BTW, you in Miami yet?
mike wilbon (1:46 PM)
No...I can see YOU don't travel...There are no non-stop flights from San Antonio to Miami so in order to do PTI today I had to either stay in San Antonio (which doesn't address tomorrow's travel) or go someplace on a non-stop flight where I can arrive in time to do this chat AND PTI...So, there are non-stop flights to D.C. and Chicago...This way I could unpack, re-pack, do PTI in the studio, sleep in my own bed for a night and head out to Miami in the morning on one of the 20 flights from DC (Dulles, DCA or BWI) to Miami...TMI, I know, but you asked...LOL
Wilbon... Lundqvist has given back two goal leads FOUR times in the first two games. Maybe time to downgrade him to Queen Lundqvist?
mike wilbon (1:47 PM)
Maybe the Los Angeles Kings are the best team in the NHL...Did you think about that? Look, the Kings haven't led in regulation yet in the series, so The King must be doing pretty well. There was some shaky defensive play in front of him in BOTH the first two games, especially Game 2...so maybe we don't want to put it all on Lundqvist...I'm just saying. Look, I have the Kings winning this in 5 games, so the Rangers need to win tonight to even stop the sweep talk...I think the Rangers WILL win tonight...
Are you happy that the sports world does not have to talk about horse racing for another year?
mike wilbon (1:51 PM)
I don't want to go that far...The irony for me is that two of my late father's favorite sports were auto racing and horse racing and I'm not much into either. He came of age at a time (he would have been 88 years old) where boxing, baseball, horse racing and auto racing were at the top of the American sports pyramid. Football meant college football, not the NFL...Anyway, I grew up watching a lot of horse racing with my dad, but turned away from it over time. But I'm old enough to remember when it was just enormous and a sporting priority. I feel kind of guilty paying zero attention to it now. I DID watch the Belmont Saturday and must admit I did NOT root for California Chrome. But now, as you say, the horse game won't matter much until late April when we start hearing about the Kentucky Derby the first Saturday in May......I don't know if having a Triple Crown winner or two will change that...if we ever see that rare bird again...
Daniel Xandar (St. Louis, MO) [via mobile]
I'm now banking on a seven game series. What are you thinking?
mike wilbon (1:54 PM)
Well, I was ALWAYS looking for a 7 game series and still am. Certainly nothing that's happened so far should have changed that expectation, right? Look how close the first two games were...Okay, the 15-point margin of Game 1 isn't an accurate barometer because LeBron didn't play the important minutes of the 4th quarter...And last night came down to a make and a miss...These two teams are too close in all the important categories--talent, intellect, discipline, experience, pedigree, coaching, desire--for one or the other to win three straight games or have dominant stretches. So I expect a split of games in Miami and a 2-2 series when it returns to San Antonio for Game 5 Sunday...
Hi Mike, Normally love your takes, but why did you take such issue with what klinsmann said (re: kobe)? He didn't say anything that isn't true, and he certainly wasn't taking a shot at kobe.
mike wilbon (1:59 PM)
I felt (and feel) offended because here was Klinsman, a day after the New York Times revealed he said his team CANNOT win the World Cup, taking a shot at American sports and (sorry) Kobe Bryant specifically...Klinsman is paid top dollar--and he's earned it--to figure out a way to get this team to threaten to win THIS World Cup. We're not in Year 2 or 5 or even 10 of playing meaningful international tournaments. Klinsman is an accomplished coach. I don't want to hear that his team cannot win...while at the same time (and I know the NYT comments were made months ago) taking a shot at one of the 10 greatest players in this history of basketball, and really the history of paying people here in American sports for having lined the coffers of professional sports franchises for more than a decade, which is what Kobe has done for the Lakers. American sports don't owe Klinsman or anybody else an apology, and I ripped him for it...and I'm not doing a 180 today...I might have been too loud with "Get out of here!" and I apologize for going too far there, but not with my pointed comments that I think Klinsman, particularly as he's quoted as saying his team can't win the most important tournament in the world, using a guy who has won as much as Kobe Bryant is...well...wrong...dead wrong.
MW, curious what you think of Steve Coburn's interview after the Belmont?
mike wilbon (2:00 PM)
Well, I didn't much like it...But I landed this afternoon to the news that Coburn had done a 180 and apologized to everybody he ticked off...So, never mind! LOL
I thought your criticism of Jurgen Klinsmann last week was a bit harsh and over reactive and came off as slightly elitist. I think he has a point about American sports over paying stars for past performance. He mentioned the Kobe contract, but it happens elsewhere. How many times have you seen a baseball team overpay for an aging player on the downside of his career? Most of these are free agent signings as well and not names "associated" with a particular franchise.Shouldn't the goal be to put players on the field to win games and not necessarily to sell jerseys and market players?
mike wilbon (2:01 PM)
Harsh, okay...Overreactive? Maybe. Elitist? Stop...really, stop...You disagree. Don't over analyze.
Irv Brick (Hawaii)
Is this loss to Miami discouraging to the Spurs even with their calm demeanor?
mike wilbon (2:03 PM)
Any and every loss in the playoffs, certainly in the Finals, has to be discouraging. So, yes. But again, don't over analyze. Look at last year's Finals between the same two teams. San Antonio came back after a Game 2 loss and won Game 3...Now, Game 3 was in San Antonio but Game 2, which the Spurs won, was in Miami. Neither team won 2 straight games until 6 and 7...
Mike - I used to watch you PTI all time time. I noticed on these chats, you generally respond to anyone who disagrees with you with anything other than a tone of ambiguity as an attack. You call them punk, dope, etc. Its an old act. I don't get how it can help you. Why react that way?
mike wilbon (2:07 PM)
You really want me to go back through years of these chats and prove that you're a dope (yeah, I went there). The overstatement these days on the part of people who "participate" in sports conversations is amazing and there are many times, yes many, in which I take exception and do it pointedly. But 90 percent of the disagreements are philosophical. I discuss, debate and even disagree for a living (PTI) and 90 percent of its civil. If people come at me with a certain tone, I return it in kind. Sorry if that offends you, but not sorry enough that I'm going to change it, I LOVE smart questions that provoke me to think about something in a completely different way than I already do...I love to have my current thinking challenged. THAT'S the fun of this...But when people come at it in an aggressive way or a dismissive way it's coming back that way...
With Lebron and Duncan back in the Finals, there is a lot of discussion on legacy and historical rankings. I have heard the MJ / Lebron GOAT argument and the Duncan / Shaq / Kobe best between MJ and Lebron argument. My question to you is, for 1 season only, at the absolute peak a career, who are you top three players. Mine, in ordera?¦ MJ, Shaq and Lebron, I think it gets interesting thinking about players like Walton and Shaq who at their peak were so dominate, even though it didna??t last very long. Who would be in your top three?
mike wilbon (2:10 PM)
Great question, though I disagree with your choices. Josh I'm guessing you're under 40 with no real sense of Bill Russell, which I understand given the dearth of NBA footage out there from the 1960s...But I'm going with Jordan, Magic and Bill Russell...I could go with Jordan, Magic, Wilt but Russell bested Wilt too many times when both teams had truly great personnel, so I'm going with Russell over Wilt. But Jordan/Magic are automatic for me, with apologies to Oscar Robertson who my dad might have taken if he was answering this question. LeBron may push his way into that club...He has the time, the talent, the will, and the interest in professional basketball history...But right now he's still playing his way in. I value longevity...Great question...
Addison (Springfield, MO)
do you hate my Cardinals for always being great while your cubs struggle?
mike wilbon (2:10 PM)
Of course. Yes. I refer to this all the time. I admire and loathe the Cardinals and Packers, rivals of my teams, that seem to ALWAYS (or close to it) get it right...Talk about worthy adversaries. Yes, I hate your Cardinals...
Why do you think some people (I'm talkin to you soccer, boxing, MMA fans) are so compelled to justify their fanhood by telling other fans that they just don't get it. C'mon bro, you don't need to justify yourself...you go on liking soccer, and I'll go on thinking it's as boring as watching grass grow.
mike wilbon (2:15 PM)
I think you make a very important point about people having to bash people who don't like what they like. I don't like MMA but I don't see the need to crusade against it. I prefer boxing and MMA people want to crusade as if to rid the world of boxing...I mean, seriously. The soccer heads are OFTEN obnoxious as hell, as if demeaning people who don't like soccer is going to make soccer more popular. Probably, it just soothes some of their insecurity about the status of soccer in America...Having said that, I hope that people will continue to at least expose themselves to soccer. I don't watch all the time, but I watch increasingly, now that its soooo easy to watch the greatest futbol in the world all over U.S. TV...Soccer isn't one of my five favorite sports (basketball/football, golf, baseball, hockey)...but I intend to get deep into it over the next month, and we'll see how far that carries me into the future when World Cup is over...But this need for fans of ANY sport to tell people, "you should watch what I watch or you're inferior" is damn tiresome...and thanks for raising the issue.
When will the casual fans and sports media catch onto Justin Verlander isn't the best pitcher in baseball right now? I'd rather have Adam Wainwright, or Chris Sale taking the mound for to win one game.
mike wilbon (2:16 PM)
yeah, the struggle continues for Verlander...I'll take a Mr. Kershaw if we're picking pitchers with which to anchor a staff...
Alan (South Florida)
Mike, reporters and media figures who criticized Lebron for sitting in Game 1 deserve to be fired. I understand they get paid to give their opinion, but when their opinion is not grounded by any facts they are just blowhards. Why are these people paid for their opinion?
mike wilbon (2:18 PM)
Fired? Really. There are enough opinions out there and enough support for LeBron than you don't need to scrub opposing opinions from existence. Again, let's not overreact to that degree! There's 360 degrees of opinion about LeBron James out there to consume. Just be discerning. Nobody needs to be fired...not over THIS...even though I think, like you, that there are some real dopes out there...
Wade clearly will be fined for that flop against Manu last night. But he probably thinks $5K is a small price to pay to get 2 FTs and to get Manu to the bench with another foul. Clearly there needs to be greater punishment right? Maybe have the offender start the next game with 1 foul?
mike wilbon (2:19 PM)
Problem is Wade was fouled by Manu. Got him across the arm NOT the head, which is what Wade sold. But there was contact and a foul...Look at the replay. It's clear.
Was Mark Jackson defending Kobe as a teammate last night a not so subtle way for him to reach out to the Lakers for their head coaching job?
mike wilbon (2:20 PM)
Really? Are well all majoring in over analysis today? Complimenting Kobe is going to get Jim Buss, who probably has no idea the NBA Finals are being played, to hire Mark Jackson? What? LOL
Isn't it time to start calling Tony Parker the best PG in the NBA? I mean for the last few years it's always been Chris Paul number 1 ... then Curry or Wall, for a while it was Paul vs. Deron and so on. Thoughts?
mike wilbon (2:22 PM)
Deron Williams isn't on that list and hasn't been for years. I put Tony Parker right there with Chris Paul...Seven years ago it was Steve Nash and Tony Parker who were always talked about. Parker has to share the stage with Ginobili and, of course, Tim Duncan...But I think he's always mentioned in the top three, right? I'm a BIG Parker fan...I think as important as Duncan and Ginobili are to the Spurs in this series its Parker who is the most important Spur and San Antonio's chances of dethroning Miami depend more on Parker than even Duncan...
One of the storylines coming into this Finals has been LeBron and how this series affects his status in the GOAT conversation. However, the most interesting conversation is about Wade. What is history going to say about him, and can this series affect his legacy?
mike wilbon (2:25 PM)
Great question. If he gets his 4th? He'll move up the ladder quite a bit. He's already an all-time great and Hall of Famer to me, even if Miami loses this series. He'd have been in 5 Finals. He won BEFORE LeBron arrived and that season was, in my opinion, the best player in the NBA, just as Paul Pierce was for a season (2008)...And Wade's unselfishness, giving way to LeBron for the good of the team, is a true act of putting the team before self.
Hey Wilbon-Being from Cleveland, I understand why people here don't like LeBron (although, personally, I have no hatred or ill-will towards him), but why do people spew such venom at LeBron all the time? I mean, have people honestly never had a leg cramp before? If I get a cramp I am laying down down for the rest of the game and there's no way I am playing a basketball game. Is LeBron just too easy of a target for people?
mike wilbon (2:28 PM)
Yes...And I'm glad you mentioned this. It's time for people to let go of the anger of his deciding to go to Miami (unless you're from Ohio or a Cavs fan and you can hold onto it forever; I get it)...LeBron's been nothing but great for basketball before and SINCE leaving Cleveland. He's represented himself, the team and the league almost flawlessly over the years. He almost NEVER makes a misstep. The NBA--and I'm sure of this--couldn't be happier than to have LeBron out there as the face and voice of the league. He even took the lead in the Donald Sterling mess...totally unafraid to jump into the fray. I've got nothing but praise for LeBron and the people who go to absurd lengths to criticize him just come off as being stupid and mean, not that they care a bit.
mike wilbon (2:30 PM)
okay, I gotta run...I'll be lead foot on the way to the PTI studios, which is where I'm headed now for a day with the gang before flying to Miami for Games 3 and 4 and what I expect to be a 1-1 series...Thanks for chatting. Kisses to those who think I was too much a meanie! LOL Next week we'll be coming off Game 5 of the series, be a few days into World Cup, and coming out of the U.S. Open, which I am picking PHIL to win. Yes, Lefty overcomes the "distraction" to win his first U.S. Open, at Pinehurst, no less! Have a great week everybody...Lots to get to next Monday!!! MW