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 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:13 PM)
Michael is running a few minutes behind but will be here shortly to take your questions!
mike wilbon (1:22 PM)
Good afternoon everybody...Happy MLK Day...it's quite the Holiday where I am, in Washington, D.C., where President Obama has just been sworn in and the inauguration ceremonies are in full swing...But there is PTI on ESPN2 and I'm happy to be chatting with those of you who are plugged in...so we'll get right to the NFL Playoffs and the NBA and whatever folks want to talk about...
The Ravens shut down one "gimmick" offense yesterday, do you see them shutting down another one in two weeks?
mike wilbon (1:24 PM)
Wow, the Ravens were great weren't they? They've been great for three weeks now...vs. Indy, at Denver and at New England...I don't want to call what the Patriots run a "gimmick" offense, but the Ravens defense did shut it down, by whatever name...And it's really, really, really difficult to do, shut down any high-powered offense in today's NFL, much less one run by Tom Brady, because the rules so favor offense...But to hold Brady to one TD at home, despite four additional trips inside the Baltimore 25 just seems hard to believe...But they did it...Can they hold the 49ers down the same way? I don't know...But that'll be one of the themes people explore over and over throughout the next two weeks...
Do you find Ray Lewis as annoying as I do?
mike wilbon (1:31 PM)
No. I realize he rubs a lot of folks the wrong way. Ray certainly is dramatic...and others are put off by his religious fervor...But personally--and this is a totally legit question--I just get tired of the usual NFL bland say-nothing answers to everything, the Belichikian "take it one game at a time" where coaches and players are so vested in saying absolutely nothing as to, presumably, not provide bulletin board material...I hate that garbage, so Ray's eccentricities are, well, okay with me. I find his ability to rally teammates and motivate grown men astounding on some level. Jaws spoke to this very eloquently the other day on ESPN radio when he talked about how there are a handful of players in any league at any time who can inspire other players, or simply get them to play to a higher level than they do without that player on board...it's fascinating to me...so no, I'm not really annoyed by all of Ray's antics, but I understand those who are...
ANUJ KALRA (Chicago)
Do you agree or disagree with some of the criticism Bill Belichick receives regarding post game behavior?
mike wilbon (1:36 PM)
It's impossible to NOT agree with Shannon Sharpe said yesterday at the end of the CBS Broadcast when he ripped Belichick for failing to do interviews with network reporters in the wake of losses...The networks that Belichick thumbs his nose at PAY HIS SALARY. Not tickets sold, boys and girls; that's peanuts. The networks pay the NFL BILLIONS of dollars...Bill did his post-game press conference with the mass media, so there's no criticism there...but we're talking about biting the hand that feeds him, and he behaves so without class in those moments after losses...not to the opposing coach, mind you; he was very gracious with Harbaugh...But the contract calls for him to cooperate with the people who bankroll the NFL, in this particular case it was CBS, and he just blows it off. He should be hit with a huge fine. Huge...Have the decency when you lose to be gracious PUBLICLY...It's not that hard. joe Gibbs and Bill Walsh did it and they won just as many as Mr. Bill...
Mack (Spade Racing) (Wilmington, DE)
Are you in DC today? And if so, how early did you have to leave to get through the inauguration traffic?
mike wilbon (1:38 PM)
I am in D.C. and I made it from my house in Bethesda all the way downtown to Connecticut and DeSales in 22 minutes...Can't do it faster than that. There was nobody on the road...Any hysteria over traffic in the west end of downtown D.C. is just that...hysteria...Now, I imagine every block east of Connecticut Ave you try to drive it gets worse...but not where I am...
How much longer do we have to hear how great Belichick and Brady are? I think Bill's arrogance is getting the best of him. He thinks he can win with anybody.
mike wilbon (1:41 PM)
Well, they do have a team with lots of young studs surrounding Brady...Gronk, Hernandez, Vereen, Ridley...They've got a terrific offensive line with young vets...Why would anybody think the Patriots are going away? Welker is old and is probably out (and he's dropped critical passes in conesecutive post-seasons) but he's easily replaceable by Edelman, who's another young stud...They're fine...They'll be 12-4 against next year and right in the mix...You want a Patriots obit because you're tired of Brady and Belichick? You'll have to search elsewhere for that. I don't believe we're looking at a windown closed, not by a long shot.
Keith H (Seattle)
Michael, apparently the i's have been dotted and t's crossed to relocate the Sacramento Kings to Seattle. This stinks for Sacramento and I know how they feel. Yet there's too much firepower in Seattle's ownership group. The Sonics never should have moved, anyway (Clay). What are your thoughts on this?
mike wilbon (1:44 PM)
Same as yours, sounds like...I think the Hornets, after Katrina, should have remained in OKC and the Sonics should have remained in Seattle. I absolutely think Seattle should have a team, but probably not Sacramento's. Those are two markets in love with basketball...It's difficult, to say the least, for New Orland, which post-Katrina isn't much bigger than Green Bay, to support an NFL and NBA team...and Toronto? Please. Toronto shouldn't have a team before Sacramento, even if Toronto is a bigger, richer and more cosmopolitan city...Too many issues...So, I love that a team is going to be in Seattle, hate that Sacramento is being left in the dust...
Gay or Randolph? If you need to move one of them which one you'll choose and why? Love to see Randoph in Chi-town but.. thanks
mike wilbon (1:44 PM)
I'd take either Randolph or Gay, but can't see the Bulls getting either because if Memphis is looking to dump salary, what would they take in return if not more salary?
Changing of the guard in the NBA? Maybe the Lakers and Celtics both miss the playoffs? It's a possibility.
mike wilbon (1:47 PM)
Yes, that would be uncreal...But I can't see the Celtics not making it, despite this three-game losing streak...although losing to the Pistons was pretty stinky...anyway, I think the 8 teams in the Eastern Conference are already set, although Philly could jump up and catch the No. 8 team...I the Celtics are going to be okay, probably finish 6th or 7th...how about Celtics-Knicks in the first round again????
Danny C (NY)
At this point in the NBA season, who is your MVP?
mike wilbon (1:50 PM)
Okay, it's a 3-horse race: LeBron, Chris Paul or Kevin Durant...That's it, that's the list, right? Okay, you want to include Carmelo, I will. So, that's a total of four. As well as Kobe is playing I can't include anybody on a team that's 5 games under .500...So, of the four I'd probably vote Durant, CP3 and LeBron, in that order, right now. OKC and the Clippers are tied, I think, for the best record in the NBA at the moment...Okay, I could go CP3 first and then Durant...It's fluid, it'll change on a daily basis until mid-April when the votes are due...LeBron's having a great, great season as well and could win it again...Looks like a fun race!
mike wilbon (1:51 PM)
By the way, 1994 was the last time the Celtics and Lakers both missed the playoffs...That was two years before Shaq and Kobe arrived in Los Angeles...
Deven (New York)
When the starters for the NBA all-star game were announced on Thursday, I was pleased with all the selections except one: And that would be KG getting the starting nod over Tyson Chandler. That's not right. KG isn't having an all-star year anyway. To me, I think Tyson has been playing great basketball and is more important to the Knicks than KG is to the Celtics. Do you agree? Also, many fans were kind of surprised that Tim Duncan didn't get the starting nod, considering the fact he's been playing like an all-star all season long. What's take on the all-star selections?, Michael?
mike wilbon (2:05 PM)
I see your argument...I don't have a major beef because I've long ago made my peace with fans voting for the starters...I don't think I'd have voted for KG either, but I might go with Jokim Noah over Tyson Chandler...Might...Anyway, there's no "center" designation anymore, sooooo I might go LeBron-Carmelo and either Brook Lopez or Paul George...Bosh isn't having a great season by any stretch...In the west, I want to replace Dwight Howard...maybe David Lee or Zach Randolph...Oh wait, Tim Duncan as you said...I'm okay with the other four starters. Maybe L. Aldridge?
Paul (Portland, OR)
Hi Mike. One thing that bothers me about the Ravens is that even in this day and age their defenders still fly in, helmet first to make a hit, as opposed to a legitimate tackle. Ed Reed did it at least twice this season and only got fined, not suspended after the second infraction. One of them did it last night as well. Obviously they aren't the only defenders doing so, but with all the concussion information can't defenders tackle, rather than lead with their helmet anymore?
mike wilbon (2:08 PM)
Fair comment...hard to refute the examples you cite...I think the Ravens, to some degree, have simply decided they're going to play the way they want to play defense, the way they always have, and damn the consequences. Weren't the Ravens the most penalized team in the NFL this season? I think they were...and if so, I'd bet you most of those penalties were on defense. I think it serves the Ravens well, even if not the league safety crusade...And I think the Ravens know that...
Do you think we'll see Brett Favre return to pro football in some capacity?
mike wilbon (2:08 PM)
The booth, maybe?
Deven (New York)
Michael, is the Manti Te'o hoax story one of the most shocking and weirdest things you've ever covered as a journalist? He may have already hurt his draft stock and many NFL teams will be questioning him about the whole thing. Do you think anybody will trust him ever again? Is this worse than the Joe Paterno Scandal?
mike wilbon (2:17 PM)
Really? Are you asking this seriously? Or tongue-in-cheek? You're asking with a straight face if a college kid making up the existence of a girlfriend is akin to a iconic football coach covering up a scandal involving molestation? Just think about what you're asking...and then think again...I am publishing this question because people are so over-the-top on this story...The Te'o story is sad, very sad...disturbing, even...and it makes me wonder about Te'o in a lot of ways...BUT, he didn't do anything criminal. Hell, he looks largely like a victim of a hoax...to me what Lyin Lance Armstrong has done for a decade is infinitely worse...a 40-plus year old man bullying people and suing folks who dared call him a cheater. I find Armstrong loathsome...
Geoff (Los Angeles )
To rephrase this in a question. Why isn't anyone talking about Randy Moss getting a shot at his first superbowl ring and how it's come to pass ?
mike wilbon (2:19 PM)
Thanks for inclusion...Now we've been reminded!
Rah-steam (Hackensack, N.J.)
College B-Balll starting to heat up. Which 4 teams are your early final four choices? I no it's early just interested in your opinion!
mike wilbon (2:23 PM)
Yeah, I'm just transitioning into college hoops...How about Indiana, Syracuse, Michigan State and and Michigan? Yes, I'm putting THREE of my Big Ten teams into the Final Four...I might be inclined to include UCLA as we move on, if the Bruins stay hot...maybe Butler because they seem to always be a threat now...Maybe Louisville...Duke if Ryan Kelly comes back strong. Florida's on a roll right now, too...I hate that college basketball, my first love as a sportswriter, is getting squeezed tremendously by the NFL and NBA...It seems like college hoops lasts a total of six weeks...
Bunny (Colorado Springs)
Is it just me or do the Falcons have the opposite of the "It" factor that winners usually have. It was obvious in last weeks 2nd half, and we all saw this coming after San Fran's 1st score. Your thoughts?????
mike wilbon (2:25 PM)
About the same as yours...that the Falcons are flawed or just lacking something...I don't want to fire the coach or change the QB or anything dramatic, BUT something is missing. The Falcons lost a 20-0 lead at home, then a 17-0 lead at home in the playoffs, which is pretty weak...I feel for them, too, because I think Roddy White was held on that fourth-down play and it should have been first-and-goal for ATL w 1:13 to play...
Thoughts on Kobe this year. The first 6 weeks of the season he was great, 18 shots a game w/ 50/40 shooting splits. Now it seems like we're getting the bad Kobe who shoots 25 times a game at a poor percentage.
mike wilbon (2:31 PM)
Kobe's playing great AND he's willing to take on more responsibility by guarding 20-something point guards, which is INSANE but he told me thursday night he's fine with Mike D'Antoni asking him to do that...The offense seems ill-suited to this group of players...I just hope the lakers make it to the playoffs; the NBA post-season without Kobe Bryant is just, well, unthinkable for me...
Where do you think Alex Smith ends up next year?
mike wilbon (2:32 PM)
I hope Arizona. The Cardinals would be so much better w Alex Smith than anybody they've got...he knows the division well, would step into a lineup with a great receiver in larry Fitzgerald...I hope he winds up there...