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The Chat House

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Michael Wilbon
Washington Post Sports Columnist
Monday, March 3, 2008; 1:15 PM

Welcome to another edition of The Chat House where Post columnist Michael Wilbon was online Monday, March 3 at 1:15 p.m. ET to take your questions and comments about the latest sports news and his recent columns.

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The transcript follows.

Discussion Archive

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washingtonpost.com: Michael is running a few minutes late and will begin the discussion around 1:30.

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Arlington, Va.: Hey Mike, my hometown teams (Orioles, Ravens, Terps) have just been pathetic lately. I know it doesn't compare with the sufferings of a Cubs fan, but do you have any advice on how you deal with it? Patience? Take up knitting? Watch "American Idol" with Tony? Or just suck it up? Thanks

Michael Wilbon: Hi everybody...Hope you had a great weekend...Speaking of weekends, how about the stretch we've got coming up, boys and girls...This weekend starts "Championship Week" where the small conference tournaments are contested...Then we've got the big conference tournaments and selection Sunday, then three weekends of NCAA games...The Final Four is the first week of April, followed by The Masters the second weekend, followed by the start of the NBA playoffs the third weekend, followed by the NFL draft the final weekend of April...How GREAT IS THAT???

Okay, as for the Maryland teams, I'm not going to weep for you. Don't EVER compare them to the Cubs. Don't ever...NOT IN YOUR NATURAL LIFE...The Cubs haven't won in 100 years. Maryland has won in men's basketball (2002), women's basketball (2006), and Baltimore won, when, in 1983? Please...So, just enjoy them competing...Just go out and watch and cheer and live and die with your team's ups and downs...It's fun for me to go to Wrigley Field (and I'll never call it anything else) even when they lose and choke it away...Just enjoy wearing the colors and cheering and being there...That's what people did for decades. I know it's passe, but that's what I do.

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Bowie, Md.: Will you be at the Nationals' new park for Opening Day? Save me a parking space.

Michael Wilbon: Nope...When, by the way, is Opening Day here? I will go and sit in the stands and watch baseball the way I did when I was a kid...Well, I still do it at least a couple of times a summer (after a boycott in the mid-1990s after baseball failed us, its fans)...I'll be neck-deep in NBA hoops and Final Four when the baseball season opens.

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Haymarket, Va.: Michael,

You're looking so trim!! Continued good health to you and thanks for spending time with us.

A month or so ago, I had heard, more than once, that a good many of the past Redskin players will not visit Redskins Park anymore since the Snyder/Vinny regime. As far as you know, is there any truth to this??

Thanks.

Michael Wilbon: Wow...I have not heard that...not at all...I do keep in touch with quite a few former Redskins...Just the other day Tony and I got to have a chat with Dexter Manley, who was here in our studio...I'm not saying what you're hearing isn't true...It's just that I talk to quite a few guys from my friends here in the area (Doc Walker, Darrell Green, Brian Mitchell) to Jeff Bostic and Joe Jacoby...Trent Green...Oh, John Riggins and Sonny J...Boy, that wouldn't be a good thing if true, but it's not on my radar that there's been some big fallout...Now, that said, I'm not in and around the Redskins day in and day out like I was at one point...But one thing to consider...Dan Snyder likes having close relationships with players and has over his tenure as owner.

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D.C.: Hello Mike,

Any thoughts on Coach K barely winning his 800th game?

Any good stories you can tell about him?

Thanks

Michael Wilbon: I'm totally in the tank for Mike Krzyzewski. He was just breaking in as the head coach at Duke when I was just breaking in as The Post's junior college basketball writer (behind John Feinstein, of course)...I was covering the ACC and there was talk, I think when Mike was in his fourth season, that he might be fired. You can't imagine that now, can you? But Mike is a Chicago guy and we have that in common...Used to be we were both pretty good tennis players...I'm sure he still is and I haven't picked up a racket since I picked up a golf club 11 years ago on April 18...I think he's one of the greatest college coaches in any sport in modern history. I don't care about those milestone numbers...What impresses me about Coach K and his teams is the way they play, how hard they play, the way the function in college and graduate from one of the great schools in the country...I told you, I'm in the tank for Mike and probably always will be.

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New York, N.Y.: Notwithstanding the diverse experiences, needs and opinions among black voters (as is the case among all voters) and the fact that voting/political stance is essentially a private matter, but would you personally like to see more black athletes openly supporting Barack Obama given what black athletes have had to overcome across all sports? Would you view their public endorsements of his candidacy as acknowledging and paying tribute to the past and ongoing struggles?

washingtonpost.com: Oden Gets a Vote for Standing Up for His Beliefs (Post, Feb. 29)

Michael Wilbon: I'd like to see more black athletes (more athletes of all races) be more aware of issues and matters outside of sports and be participants in the larger cultural discussions. I don't care whether they support, specifically, Obama. And I'm careful about tying people to candidates and causes based exclusively on race, particularly as our community becomes more heterogeneous every single day. We don't always have the exact same issues and concerns as we were more likely to until, say, the 1990s...But I like what Oden did because he believed in what he was saying, didn't make himself the central issue (I did that in a column) and talked about educating himself on the issues...He seemed as excited to introduce the First Lady on Tuesday as he was to talk to Barack Obama on the phone on Monday...

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April 18, 1997: The Friday after Tiger won his first Masters, eh?

Michael Wilbon: How about that...Yep...It was the day before my wedding...just hanging around the house in Fairfax not working...went over to Fairfax Golf Park (which I hear isn't there anymore...is that true?) on Route 50 and took my first lesson that afternoon...Cool, windy, cloudy day...Didn't realize it was five days after Tiger's first. But I will tell admit freely I'm one of the people who came to golf because of Tiger Woods.

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Rockville, Md.: Here's to hoping you stay healthy from here on out. Have any other members of the press told you that after your recent scare they are going to start taking better care of themselves?

Michael Wilbon: There were quite a few other sportswriters and media folk who had their own scares the week I did. I hope ESPN's Len Pasquarelli is doing fine after his own heart scare...Another colleague, I'm told, had a stroke recently and at a game no less...I have less than full and confirmed info on this so I'm purposely being vague...But we live crazy lifestyles, working late hours and eating badly and not (in most cases) getting enough exercise and rest...We're on planes and in hotels. It's impossible to keep a "normal" lifestyle. I went to see a nutrition expert recently and she asked me to describe a normal day and I told her, there's no such thing...When I described the places and hours I was for the previous week she understood how sick my lifestyle was/is. So, it ain't easy, but I have to do it...and I have for five weeks...The only trip to a drive through was for a grilled chicken at Wendy's...No pancakes and syrup, no waffles, no ribs, no junk food...no candy corn...no Dunkin Donuts...Now you know why I was so screwed up!

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Arlington, Va.: Since you work with ESPN and ABC now covering the NBA, I would like to get your opinion on the Sonics and their inevitable move from Seattle. How can David Stern allow this to happen? The Sonics have been in Seattle for 41 years, and they have even won a championship! Sounds like David Stern is throwing a bone to his good friend (the current owner of the Sonics) who is from Oklahoma.

Michael Wilbon: Yeah, I hate the notion of Seattle losing the Sonics. Just from a selfish perspective, Seattle's one of my favorite cities in North America...I love going there and visiting...To trade Vancouver and Seattle for Memphis and New Orleans for the game of basketball seems terrible to me, with no disrespect to New Orleans or Memphis...But they're football places. Football is the culture of those places, not pro basketball...I just don't like losing Seattle...I think the Hornets should be playing in Oklahoma City and there ought to be some way of keeping the Sonics in Seattle, even though that city gave the Mariners and Seahawks, who've never won a championship, new publicly funded stadiums (or largely assisted), while leaving the Sonics, who have won a championship, hanging.

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Arlington, Va.: Mike, have you been to the new stadium yet? Is it going to be as great for the city as everyone says?

Michael Wilbon: I have not been to the new stadium yet...but I plan to take a tour of it next week when I come back from an NBA trip to Denver Tuesday and Wednesday...I can't wait to see it. I drove home from National Airport last night and I could see the lights on from GW Parkway...It was pretty cool.

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MVP: Kobe or Garnett?

Michael Wilbon: In order, and we're talking about NBA MVP I presume: Kobe, LeBron, Chris Paul, Kevin Garnett. I'm sorry, who's on the Hornets? Who's Chris Paul throwing the ball into? Tyson Chandler and David West? Are they equal to Ray Allen and Paul Pierce? That's my list for now...It could change between now and when I vote...The pressure will be on and I'll report back what my vote really is...

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D.C.: The Suns look terrible. The Mavericks are as bad of a defensive team as you'll find in the West playoff race. It seems there is a very real possibility that both could miss the playoffs. If that happens, what happens to the power structures that made these abhorrent trades?

Michael Wilbon: People would be fired, plain and simple. That's the gamble. That's why Steve Kerr hadn't slept in two nights when the trade for Shaq was announced. The Suns do look terrible right now, at 2-4 with Shaq in the lineup. Keep this in mind, though...Twenty-some games is time enough for a lot to develop...That's an entire college hoops season...I'm not giving up on the Suns just yet, thought his is a big week for them with games at Portland and at Denver...

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Washington, D.C.: Wilbon,

Please tell me you are going to BLAST the Falcons for getting rid of Warrick Dunn. They seem to feel the way to fix a scandal ridden, unstable, terrible team is to cut a thoughtful, intelligent, philanthropic (oh yeah and under-rated) veteran.

How do you cut an all-time great guy when your franchise is in need of just that.

Michael Wilbon: I hated hearing the news...I understand this is business and once they've signed Michael Turner away from San Diego they don't need Warrick Dunn anymore. Still, it angers me on a personal level because Dunn is one of the most important people in the NFL...Anybody who cares to read more about Dunn just go back and look at a Christmas column I wrote about him two years ago...He's one of the most impressive people I've met in 28 years of being a sportswriter...I think he's heroic...So, to see him leave there after all he means to that community makes me angry...Again, I get it from a football standpoint...Personally, I'm ticked...not that his life will be any less rich. There's so much he wants to do and become, and I'm betting he'll still play another season or two because I think he's got something left in the tank...

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D.C., 20036: Michael,

On PTI the other night, you said The Rockets would not make the playoffs. I agreed with you at the time but after these last few games, I'm not sure. Do you think they are playing on pure emotion and using Yao's injury as motivation? Do you think this can last another 30 games?

Keep up the good work!!

Michael Wilbon: We'll close with this...I HOPE the Rockets make the playoffs. What an inspirational story that would be, to make it in the Western conference without Yao playing...And maybe it is possible, what with the Suns and Nuggets struggling and the Mavericks 4-3, I think, with Jason Kidd...But it's going to be very, very difficult in these last desperate five weeks for Houston to do this...It would be a great story for so many reasons, including seeing my man Dikembe Mutombo back in the lineup wagging his finger after blocking 3 shots last night!

Okay, gotta run to prepare for PTI...chat next week with you guys...MW

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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