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January 9, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Michael Wilbon

Buzzmaster
  (1:19 PM)

Hang on folks, Mike is running 15-20 minutes late.

Daniel (Ohio)

Mike: as a long time Steeler fan I am perplexed that the No. 1 pass defense in the league got torched by the No. 31 pass offense. How can the Steelers consistently have all 11 players in the box and no one in the safety position in case of a breakdown? And it wasn't only on the overtime pass but all game. It seemed like they feared the read option running of the Broncos when such fear was unwarramnted. Romeo Crennel's KC defense held Teebow to 27% passing and 60 yards. With all due respect to Denver, this was the worst performance in Steeler playoff history.

Mike Wilbon
  (1:27 PM)

Hi Everybody...sorry to start late but I'm here now and we'll jump right into some NFL playoffs, the NBA, maybe a look at tonight's BCS title game...BUT WE START WITH TEBOW! Really, don't you have to start with Tebow torching the Steelers yesterday? I admit, I thought Pittsburgh even with their injuries and illnesses (Ryan Clark) would win a close game, and they could have...but didn't, and it seemed like plain ol' stubbornness got to the Steelers, refusing to put a safety in the middle of the field. I don't get it either. They dared Tebow to beat them and he did. It's happened a half-dozen times that way in the last 10...The Steelers were clearly outcoached and should be embarassed at losing in that fashion.

Harvard Psychologist (M. Gladwell's basement)

Isn't the real story about Tebow the fact that writers can't help themselves but write stories about him? Rather than worrying about Tebow's psychology shouldn't we worry more about a media salivating to introduce narratives of schaudenfreude?

Mike Wilbon
  (1:31 PM)

Valid point. Maybe, is my answer. it's not just the media that's fascinated with Tebow. Any mention of him on Twitter causes overload. Any casual conversation of football now includes folks who don't otherwise pay attention jumping in with Tebow questions/comments. Look, this is why pro football is the No. 1 sport in America, because people who don't know a safety from a TE know the QB, and they know Tebow...They know everything he does seems to carry some sybolic meaning to somebody. it's amazing how polarizing he is, and he's the nicest kid you could ever met. Seriously, THAT much I know about him. Hell, I don't pretend to know where else this story is going to turn. It's just instant-drama, instant-pride or annoyance or joy or anger, depending on one's point of view. And yes, the media is SUPPOSED to react to that kind of passion. If we didn't we're not doing our jobs. Do we create some of that? Yes. Am I apologizing for any role I have in it...Heavens no.

TJ Wilmington NC [via mobile]

Can Can Newton be a leader/role model?

Mike Wilbon
  (1:32 PM)

Cam Newton can be a damn good QB, maybe lead his team to the playoffs next season. Can't we just start there and not put the pressure of the world on the kid. Can we just let him do his job. (Note to the media bashers: you see where these questions come? not the media, not in this case anyway.)

Ray (Arlington VA)

What is the best way to go about fixing the Wizards? Blatche has ZERO trade value, guys aren't listening to Flip, Wall's growth being stunted daily..... What's your take?

Mike Wilbon
  (1:35 PM)

Normally, the Wizards wouldn't be a good enough topic to even discuss nationally. But they're so awful, so disgustingly hideous and I live in D.C. and have written about the franchise for 30 years...so I'm going into this for a brief second or two. The Wizards stink. And a big reason is the franchise has taken on too many irresponsible unprofessional players who have ZERO idea of what it means to be a responsible professional. Start with Blatche, who should be benched, or sent home, and if possible dealt. He's poison. And the atmosphere around him is so toxic it seems McGee, who has a ton of talent, has already been poisoned. Nick Young can shoot a basketball, plain and simple, but doesn't have a clue as to how to play...So, that's three of the five starters...(continued)

Mike Wilbon
  (1:38 PM)

The franchise has made horrible decisions, handing Gilbert Arenas' a $111 million deal, extending Blatche, trading the No. 5 overall pick for Randy Foye and Mike Miller, two guys who aren't even on the team anymore...They're below ground zero. They don't play the No. 6 overall pick in the June Draft, Jan Vesely (forgive me if I've misspelled)...John Wall is surrounded by junk, mostly, knuckleheads and guys who'll never amount to anything. I like Singleton, the other rookie, and Booker and I'd play them with Wall and sit the vets, including Rashard Lewis, who's a shadown of himself and simply done as a player after 13, 14 years...To lose by 20 at home to the T-Wolves, improved as they are, merits BIG changes immediately and I don't mean firing the coach. Fire some of the sorry, no-account players.

Justin (Philadelphia)

Mike, what are your thoughts on the 76ers this season? yes it is early but come on you have to give credit to a team thas has brought the "Team" aspect back to the game.

Mike Wilbon
  (1:41 PM)

I picked the Sixers to finish fifth or sixth in the Eastern Conference and I think I under bid. I didn't have the guts to pick them to win the Atlantic Division, even though that's what I thought when I looked at the teams on paper. Doug Collins has them really playing well and in this, his second season, is when Doug really reaches young players. They've got a star-less roster by today's NBA standards, yet they play as a team, with emphasis on defense and sharing the ball...Hooray for Philly. I love Doug Collins, I think he has one of the best minds in the history of basketball. I'm very lucky in that I've had access to Doug (and his mind) for my entire career and he's been patient to a fault with my phone calls and in-person brain-picking over the years...So I root for Doug Collins...I think he's onto something this season. That team WILL win the Atlantic Division.

Gary (Chicago)

Is the promotion of Tice a indicator that Cutler will become the Offensive Coordinator such as how Indy handles Manning?

Mike Wilbon
  (1:43 PM)

You know, I hadn't thought of it that way, but you make a great point. And if that's the way it's leaning, good. There is NOTHING wrong with Cutler's mind. He made the most sound decisions in-game last season and this season. He needs a QB coach or a passing coach, whatever you want to call it, to help with those details. But if Tice is willing to have that kind of input while "coordinating" the offense, right on Jay Cutler.He's the one who called for Mike Martz to lay off the 7-step drops to help the OL, to use Matt Forte more in the passing game...Cutler seems to simply do stuff that makes sense. What's wrong with that?

Dan (Chicago)

Thoughts on the Lakers? With Kobe out of his mini shooting slump, where would you put them in the West? They seem to be rounding into shape.

Mike Wilbon
  (1:46 PM)

I had the Lakers winning the Pacific Division and I'm not about to change that now. I still think they'll win it, putting them no worse than 3rd seed, behind Oklahoma City and maybe Portland in the overall West standings. Thing is, I just hope Kobe Bryant can play with this wrist injury. People say NBA players don't care, don't have passion, blah, blah, blah. Kobe Bryant is taking a cortizone shot every night just to play. Guy has 5 rings and he's shooting up to play. how the hell can people not admire that effort? People in Lakerland ought to shower Kobe with standing ovations every time they see him, just for that if not the million other contributions to that franchise over the last 15 years.

Tony (DC)

I understand how a first ballot HOF like Kobe Bryant could get a coach fired if he wanted to, but DeMarcus Cousins? Please. It's stuff like this that makes me hate the NBA sometimes.

Mike Wilbon
  (1:48 PM)

Hey, that's the nature of pro basketball...stars run the team. My problem is, DeMarcus Cousins...is he really a star? Is he an important enough player to fire the coach over? Seriously? I'd have dumped Cousins in a heartbeat, even though he is a 20-10 guy, potentially, next season...thing is, guys like that can NEVER be the ones calling the shots or you will have handed over your team to a guy who cannot lead you to a championship.

Eric (Chicago)

Wilbon, thoughts on Theo & Co's plan for the Cubs thus far? Do you like the Rizzo trade? I see 100 losses for the Cubs this year.

Mike Wilbon
  (1:50 PM)

I must say, I read the transactions involving the Cubs, discuss all of this stuff with my sicko (like me) Cubs buddies...and I'm completely unemotional over any and all of it. Why? I thought the entire hysteria of Theo was that we'd trust he'd do it his way. Well, I actually do. I think, at least for now and the near future, is Theo does it,it's the right way to go. Why else would we be so excited to have him? You want him to play Fantasy Baseball and overpay a bunch of big-name guys? I guess. But I don't want to see that. I'm fine with a bunch of kids who have been well-scouted with big futures. I'm okay watching that, whether they win 80 (max) or lose 100...What, this was going to be "next year" when the Cubs broke through and got to the World Series?

Hussini [via mobile]

Do you think the Knicks need a new coach, or to be dismantled?

Mike Wilbon
  (1:51 PM)

Dismantled? See, this is how fickle Knicks fans are! They need to practice defense and get better. That's what they need, that and for Baron Davis to get healthy enough to give them 45 percent shooting and 7 assists per game minimum...Dismantle. Hell, they've barely assembled!

Clay (Charlotte)

Who gets your MVP vote, Brees or Rodgers? Does the fact the Flynn came in and had a huge day effect the decision at all? (Remember everyone had this conversation a few year with Brady/Cassel)

Mike Wilbon
  (1:53 PM)

Yeah, the Flynn thing would have affected the way I voted if I had one (no longer)...I'd vote for Rodgers. 14-1, better TD to INT ratio than Brees. It's not a landslide; Brees has too good a year to make that case. But I'd vote comfortably for Rodgers.

Patrick (Chicago)

Most surprising team in the NBA so far?

Mike Wilbon
  (1:54 PM)

That's easy: Portland. Look, the T-Wolves are better and sure as hell entertaining, but they're, what, 3-5? Portland has a chance, right now, even though they claim to be rebuilding, to battle...

Aaron (college station)

We should call the broncos overtime play, " 3:16 to Denver" becuase it was a Tebow who engineered the pass, and D.T. who left the station firing on all cylinders! plus the obvious 3:16 significance

Mike Wilbon
  (1:54 PM)

Yeah, I thought of it the moment Jim nantz mentioned the exact time...And we're sure as heck aren't the only ones who noticed.

Isaac (Cleveland)

Kyrie Irving = ROY?

Mike Wilbon
  (1:57 PM)

He's played well, hasn't he? Well, who else is in the early running besides Kyrie and Rubio? Derrick Williams of Minny if they dump Michael Beasley, which they should do ASAP...The kid on the Nets, Marshon Brooks I think his name is, got injured but he can score...Tristan Thompson has been okay...It's the two point guards out in front of everybody...

Caleb (Denver)

Mike Wilbon, just think how good the Bears would be if they had Tebow? Playoffs!!!!

Mike Wilbon
  (1:58 PM)

If Cutler had been healthy the Broncos wouldn't have made the playoffs because the Bears would have beaten Denver in Denver in that game they lost to the Broncos because the Bears management decided the team could play without a professional QB.

Mark (Philly)

Any chance Eagles dump Vick and make a run for Peyton?

Mike Wilbon
  (1:58 PM)

No. Are you crazy?

Mike P (DC)

What about Markieff Morris for a dark horse ROY? He's been outstanding.

Mike Wilbon
  (1:59 PM)

Sorry for omitting him. He's been good, not outstanding. Raise your bar Jon...

Jared (Chicago)

Why doesn't Dwight just not renew with Adidas and find a new shoe company? That would lead him right to our Bulls who just so happens to be the best fit. I don't think Dwight is about wining though which is sad.

Mike Wilbon
  (2:00 PM)

Jared, you need to stop. Howard isn't going to Chicago, he wouldn't necessarily be a good fit. Why would the Bulls re-do their own team in mid-stream, a team built to do battle with Miami RIGHT NOW to try and re-work an attack with Howard and Rose, who doesn't really need a center to feed to be effective. Stop.

BillyT (NYC)

Who says no first? Beasley and Wesley Johnson for Iggy?

Mike Wilbon
  (2:00 PM)

I'd go after Wes Johnson a lot quicker than I would Beasley. I wouldn't want Beasley on my team, seriously. not reliable and everybody in the league, starting with the people in Miami, knows it...

Marco/ mass [via mobile]

What happened to the Celtics defense ?

Mike Wilbon
  (2:01 PM)

Perhaps it, like everything else about the Cs, got a little old. I'd caution you to be careful, though, this isn't the NFL. Teams like the Celtics, full of Hall of Famers, know when it's time to turn it on. Will they be able to? I don't know. But I'm not ready to answewr "no" just yet...

Jon (London)

Will Steve Nash finish his career as a Sun?

Mike Wilbon
  (2:04 PM)

Apparently. Steve must make nearly $20 million this year. So who would take on that salary before the trade deadline? not only that, who would send the Suns something of value for a player who has one year beyond this, max, left? Would Kobe want to team up with Nash? And what would that mean for the lakers defense, which is damn good right now under Mike Brown? The Knicks could really, really use him but again, the Knicks can't spell defense, much less play it. And Steve, as much as I love him, is a liability at that end of the floor...Who? I play this game all the time because Steve Nash is one of my favorite players the last 20 years and I hate to see him have no chance, which is what he has in Phoenix...

Mike (Charlotte)

With the way Andrew Bynum has been playing, do the Lakers go forward with the Dwight trade if they can't get him straight up for Bynum?

Mike Wilbon
  (2:05 PM)

If Bynum can stay healthy? Haven't we been using that phrase for a half-dozen years already? yeah, if I'm the Lakers I'm not giving up Gasol and Bynum...I'd give Orlando Bynum and something else, maybe in a three-way deal, but not Gasol, too. I think if the Lakers can acquire a guard or a swing man they'll be okay, somebody who can help Kobe in the open court, both offensively and defensively...But I wouldn't tear up the whole team...

Naptown [via mobile]

Who do u have in the finals and who do u have winning it? Is okc a candidate?

Mike Wilbon
  (2:06 PM)

I began the season saying Miami and OKC...No need to change that, is there. I'm rooting for Bulls-OKC or Bulls-anybody, and it can happen...it's Miami-Chicago in the East. Anybody seen any reason to run away from that twosome in the conference finals?

Michael(Greensboro) [via mobile]

Ok so the Lakers didn't get Chris Paul why not try and get Deron Williams?

Mike Wilbon
  (2:07 PM)

You're saying give up, what, Gasol for D. Williams? Hmmm...I'm Would New Jersey do that?

bem (cayman)

hey mike do you think there will be a floyd vs pacquiao fight this year? and who's gonna win?

Mike Wilbon
  (2:08 PM)

I don't think there will be. I don't think they'll ever fight while close to their primes. Remember, this has happened in the recent past. Mike Tyson never fought Riddick Bowe when both were at the top of their games...Now, JT (Jail Time) had a lot to do with that. But it's not like the old days where guys HAD to fight the best guys. Now, it's about promoters and money and preceived "legacies." which is to say...boxing is so, so sad.

Dan (Crystal City, VA)

Re Michael Beasley, please, next week, or at some point, would love for you to address this topic. Why do some guys, like Noah and Boozer being obvious examples, take their natural gifts and then over-achieve, while others like Beasley, just seem to go nowhere. Would three more years of college helped him to be a better pro, or would those years have shown the pros that he was not as great as they expected?

Mike Wilbon
  (2:11 PM)

Great question...But the answer, I fear, is pretty simple. Why do some people in your workplace (or mind) underachieve while others wring every last drop of ability? Motivation, personality, ambition, insecurity. All of it...AAU ball has a ton to do with it now, whether players who move around a ton (Beasley) even value winning above their own stardom, particularly in basketball where stardom is rewarded more lavishly than other sports. One high school and a tough-as-nails college coach allowed to really break Beasley (John Thompson, John Chaney 20 years ago) would have perhaps made him a different person...

Jeremy (Des Moines, IA)

That's the thing people seem to forget, to get howard the Bulls would need to gut the team! I'd love to get howard, but not at the cost of our most reliable player outside Rose (I love what Deng brings to the table) and all our energy off the bench! That said, if you ran the Bulls, would you make any changes in terms of personel or how the current personel is being used?

Mike Wilbon
  (2:14 PM)

Nope. Not one change. One thing I've learned from being around the Bulls is that they LOVE hanging out with one another, practicing with one another. They didn't like losing Bogans and Kurt Thomas...hated it, in fact. Not that they don't like Rip, because they all know what he brings, but they've got one of those groups where the guys fit and know their roles, whether on the team plane, in off hours or on the court. Ronnie Brewer might not have much value to, say, the Heat. But to the Bulls he's got great value. Deng, by the way, is an All-Star...or should be. Sometimes you just get lucky with team dynamics and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. I'm not saying that means the Bulls are going to beat Miami. I AM saying this group, flaws and all, is the best chance they have this year of beating Miami...

Jon (Des Moines)

I'm having a tough time deciding if I'm more excited about Tiger returning to Pebble to for the AT&T in Feb or for the return of Mad Men in a few months. Equally exciting, don't you think?

Mike Wilbon
  (2:18 PM)

No. Mad Men. Look, the Tiger Woods phenomenon changed my life. Before Tiger, I was okay with golf...just okay. In 1997 when Tiger went into full effect, I fell in love with golf. Recreationally, it's all I care about. Every off day, every vacation day, every family trip is centered around golf. I'm just one of those late-to-the-party guys, as it concerns golf and it's 90 percent because of Tiger Woods. I'd LOVE to see him return to being Tiger Woods. But one victory in a 17-person invitational doesn't signal to me that it's going to be business as usual with Tiger runing roughshod over Augusta National. I gotta see more. I'd be more convinced if he was lighting up Kapalua right now, but he isn't...So, Mad Men...to me the best scripted drama ever, perhaps...Can't wait...

Jim C. (Boise, Idaho)

Mike, thanks for answering my question. Can you tell me about the longterm ramifications of Kobe's wrist? Is this an injury that will heal on it's own eventually, or does it require surgery? If it requires surgery, what's the recovery time? Would the Lakers be better off shutting Kobe down now and getting him healthy early in the season or letting him continue to carry them?

Mike Wilbon
  (2:21 PM)

Great question...I asked him that Friday night and he seems totally unconcerned...I plan to write a column about kobe for ESPN.com this week dealing with all that. I don't know the answers yet and will try to delve into those areas. Just know this: Kobe Bryant isn't planning on shutting it down anytime. He's not planning to miss a game. I said to him, "Aren't you worried about this" and his answer, incredulous, was "How long have you known me?" The answer (15 years) essentially amounted to, "You'd have to be a moron to know me half my life and think I'd quit." So, he plays on and has not one complaint. not one.

Mike Wilbon
  (2:22 PM)

Okay, gotta run and prepare for PTI where we'lll start with a heavy dose of NFL playoffs, then move to some other stuff...But we'll chat again monday when we will have determined the conference finalists, which I'm saying in advance will be the Patriots and Ravens, Packers and 49ers...Wow, how boring, picking all the home teams...which is exactly what happened this past weekend! have a great week everybody...MW