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The Chat House with Michael Wilbon: Wizards, NBA, college basketball and more

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Michael Wilbon
Washington Post Sports Columnist
Monday, March 8, 2010; 1:15 PM

Welcome to another edition of The Chat House, where Post columnist Michael Wilbon was online Monday, March 8 to discuss the NBA, college basketball conference tournaments, the Wizards, the latest sports news, his columns and World Wide Wilbon (which is Not Just Another Sorry, No-Account Sports Blog) the latest sports news, his columns and anything else on your mind.

Mike was also excited to defend his candidates for best sports story, athlete and overlooked story of the decade, which are open for user voting now at World Wide Wilbon.

A transcript follows

Discussion Archive * Column Archive * Talking Points Videos

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Alma, Mich.: What did you think of the Oscars last night?

Michael Wilbon: Hi everybody! Sorry I'm late...March Madness travel plans have me all off course today ... We'll jump right into the Oscars and then whatever sports questions people have ... I LOVED the Oscars. It was the tighest production I can remember in years ... No five-minute songs had to pick up the pace. If you take out the dancing it would have been even better. Steve Martin and Alex Baldwin were great, I thought. My favorite part of the Oscars, the last 15 years, has been the memorial, and to have James Taylor sing live ... wow. I loved that more than ever, LOVE when actors speak to, in effect present, the other actors. Forest Whitaker talking to Sandra Bullock, Sandra Bullock paying tribute to the other women who were nominated for best actor ... Oprah was great talking to Gabourey Sidibe, the young star of "Precious." I'll admit, I didn't like the movies this year nearly as much as in 2008-9, not even close. I just think that last year, from Slumdog to Doubt to The Reader to The Wrestler ... all the movies were so damn good last year, one of my favorite years ever. Yet, this Oscar production leaves me with a good feeling about this year's movies, even though 2009-10, to me, doesn't measure up in terms of the value of the movies themselves. There were great performances. I did love Hurt Locker, and surprisingly liked Inglorious Bastards more than I thought I would. Liked Crazy Heart and Jeff Bridges, and his speech. I can't think of anything I didn't like, actually.

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Gaithersburg, Maryland: Hey Michael, I was wondering your opinion about Stephen A Smith report about Allen Iverson, and his alleged alcohol and gambling problems? It saddens me to hear all this, including his divorce issues. Why is all this happening to him?

Michael Wilbon: It saddens me, too ... saddens me greatly, actually. I don't know Allen Iverson. I know a lot about him, but I don't know him. Stepehen A. KNOWS Iverson. They've had an ongoing and close relationship for 10-12 years. I don't know what makes Iverson tick, so I don't want to speculate much. He's always been a guy who did his own thing, damn the money, damn the fame. He didn't care. I mean, seriously, he didn't care. Didn't want to play the marketing game, didn't care about the endorsements. And there's a certain coolness about that. But Allen came up tough, came up without, came up in circumstances that affected who he is, and not just as a ballplayer, but as a person. I don't pretend to understand the specifics of how they affected him and I don't want to act like I'm a psychologist. But I feel for him. He was such a great player for a long time and such an entertainer ... wow. It is too, too bad.

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Houston, Texas: Lebatard said on the show the other day that Coach of the Year should go to one who most exceeds expectations. Why isn't Scott Drew considered? Baylor was picked by his fellow coaches to be 10th in the Big 12, and has at this moment a top ten RPI and is having the best year for Baylor in decades.

Michael Wilbon: Then he should be. Nice all.

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Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.: I haven't seen you comment anywhere on Bill Simmons Book of Basketball. Pardon me if you have and I missed it, but could you share your thoughts here on this massive attempt to evaluate the talent and teams of the NBA's past?

Michael Wilbon: I love Simmons' book. Love it. It's what I call "long flight" reading. I don't take it to New York or Chicago, but I certainly do to Phoenix, to Los Angeles, to Dallas even ... Nobody has read the whole book, not even Bill's editor! But it's not to be consumed that way, and I'd recommend it to EVERYBODY who loves basketball. I've read, oh, 45-50 percent of it and plan to finish it by the end of this NBA season ... I'm talking playoffs, of course. It's fabulous. I bought 5 copies for people as Christmas presents. It's smart, funny, profane, insightful, irreverent...I disagree with Simmons about 10 percent of the time, usually when he elevates Celtics beyond where they should be (we all have our favorites; I have mine) ... but even that makes for great reading ... Oh, and while we're on the subject of the NBA, the HBO special on Magic and Bird. It might be, other than Hoop Dreams, the most important video treatment of basketball I've ever seen ... I might have to re-think that, but it's really, really over-the-top special.

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Washington, D.C.: Seems like a 96-team NCAA tournament is an inevitability. Why don't they just hand out trophies for participation and call it a day?

Michael Wilbon: It's awful. It will send me running from the tournament. The NCAA men's basketball tournament is the closest thing to perfect there is in sports today and the NCAA, with an assist from television partners I'm sure, is about to ruin it. I'll watch it, but probably never again with the same passion and sense of anticipation.

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Washington, D.C.: Michael, would you vote for Grevis as ACC POY and a First Team All-American? Go Terps!

Michael Wilbon: Yes, I would vote for Vasquez for Player of the Year, yes, largely because of Maryland's victory over Duke and my runner up for POY, Scheyer ... First-team All-America? Probably. I've got to study that one though, and probably answer it in more detail next week...Great question. Will revisit.

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NCAA: Right now I don't know too many people who watch the 16 vs 1 first round games. Now there's a chance there'll be two more weeks of games? They can even sell out the early rounds as it is. Bad idea.

Michael Wilbon: Some early rounds DO NOT sell out. Depends on where they are played.

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Outside Perspective: I'm pretty sick aobut how miserably my Tarheels have performed this year. Nobody expected another championship but they can't seem to get their act together. What do you think is the problem?

Michael Wilbon: They're young and need time to grow together as a team, which nobody wants to accept in college basketball. The Tar Heels will be fine next year. You're right, they were never going to win this year and there should never have been expectations as such. They'll be right back in the top 20 next year ... Book it.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: Are you covering the ACC tournament? In any case, who's your favorite to win it? And who would be your Dark Horse?

Michael Wilbon: John Feinstein will be writing columns from the ACC Tournament...I might or might not write from the Big East, depending on what happens Tuesday and Wednesday. I have no feel for a winner in either. These tournaments last so long now, have so many rounds, and so many teams in big conferences get in, there's not the same incentive to win the tournament for the best teams in these leagues as there used to be when I was working the college hoops beat for The Post. I'll watch closely, but predicting who'll win? No feel here.

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Washington, D.C.: Has David Stern been bad for the NBA?

Michael Wilbon: What? Are you nuts? Look at where the NBA was when David Stern took over and where it is now. There are those who think Stern is the best commish ever ... He's got big competition from Pete Rozelle and Paul Tagliabue.

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Washington, D.C.: Michael,

Is Gary Williams a Hall of Fame coach? If yes, why hasn't he been inducted yet?

Michael Wilbon: Yes, he is. Is there a rush? I don't think so. Gary should get in...Does he have to be rushed in as if he's Dean Smith? No. But I would vote for Gary in a heartbeat given what he did with the Maryland program when he arrived in College Park in, what, 1989. The program was in tatters.

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Washington DC: Do you think most of the upcoming NBA Free Agents will go to whomever gives them the most money or the best chance to win?

Michael Wilbon: I've heard guys suggest that nobody's going to move at all, that they're ALL going to stay put. How about that forecast? I think Chris Bosh, who most people exepct to move, said it. I just don't know. I think Bosh will start the action. If he moves, then I expect movement. I certainly expect LeBron James to go to a team that can win right away. And why would Dwyane Wade, who has already won and who is 28, go anywhere that a team would have to build? These guys have money, they're going to make tons more money. Yeah, I think they'll go to the places they can win. I question how soon the Knicks can win, unless they sign two big-timers. The Clippers (I can't believe I'm saying that) and the Bulls have a lot more pieces in place to win quickly ... That will be the question of the summer as the playofs progress and the season winds to a close.

I've got to run because Jay Wright, our 5-good minutes guest today, is ready to roll. I'll answer another dozen questions or so tonight and post them for tomorrow ... sorry for the abbreviated chat today ... we'll go even longer next week and I'll post answers tonight ... Thanks everybody. 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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