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The Chat House
Tony Kornheiser Mike Wilbon
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With Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon
Washington Post Sports Columnists

Monday, April 14, 2004; 1:30 pm ET

Welcome back to The Chat House!

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon joined you live to talk sports.

The transcript follows.

Editor's Note: Washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Good afternoon my lovely ferrets out there and welcome back to The Chat House. We are back in "PTI" headquarters and so that means Mike won't be totally solo. TK will jump in when he can. At the moment, however, Wilbon is out getting a sandwich. Sit tight. He'll be right with us. --Mary

Fairfax, Va.: Michael and Tony,

What's next for Jordan? If Chicago isn't in the cards, will he return to the office and continue to do his thing, or will he be taking some time off to think about his next move? BTW, have either of you been to his restaurant? I went a little while ago, and thought it was great! I don't know why there is so much hate about his culinary DC venture.

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: He has said repeatedly, first in private conversations and more recently in public, he wants to be the guy who runs the Wizards. Yes, I've been to his restaurant. I gave a book party for Charles Barkley there a few months ago. The Reagan Building is kind of tough to get into. --Mike

Frederick, Md.: Do you feel any kind of sadness for Phil Mickelson? On a day when he made very few mistakes, and saved par from knee-knocker range on both 16 and 17, and overall played his most solid round in a Masters Sunday ever, he gets passed by the likes of Len Mattice, a journeyman having a career day. Mike Weir is more established than Mattice, of course, and I don't begrudge him his win, but if Mattice had won I would have been very upset. I really think that Phil is turning the corner and will win a major very soon, perhaps this season. Any thoughts?

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: I don't know if its sadness, but I understand what you are talking about. I feel for Phil. I was hoping he would win. He had a great round on Sunday. And the toughest thing about golf is that you can't stop what the other guy does. --Mike

Columbia, Md.: Am I the only one who's getting tired of the We Love Michael Jordan Parade? Yes, he's the greatest ever. Yes, the other players learned a lot from him. Yes, he got rid of Juwan Howard. But how great have the last two years really been? No playoffs in a terrible conference and absolutely shattering the confidence of a future star.

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: What did they have before that? Didn't they win 19 games before he got here? They didn't have scouts. They had no buzz about the franchise. What do you miss the old days of hot-plate Williams? And Scott Skiles? And the injured Mark Price for one year? Do you miss all of that stuff? --Mike

Menlo Park, Calif.: Is there any realistic chance that Mike Sweetney returns to Georgetown next year? Hard to tell with the foreign entries, but he seems to be at least in the bottom half of the lottery this year. Thoughts?

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Sure, there is a chance. After doing his research, suppose he finds out that he'll be drafted 15th this year, but will more likely go in the top 5 or 6 next year. What should he do? The good thing about going 15th or somewhere in that area is that you usually go to a better team. But, Sweetney has played in a lot of games in the last three years and he's proven he's ready to play in the pros. I really, really like him. He's got a lot of skills and he's polished. --Mike

Asheville, N.C.: Is Kwame Brown too intimidated by Doug Collins to be an impact player for the Wizards? Who do you think the Wizards should draft this year?

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Kwame Brown doesn't know how to play basketball yet. He must not be entirely intimidated because he cursed out his coach on the bench a couple of games ago. Kwame needs to learn to play basketball and I don't think it's going to happen here. He's not particularly accepting of coaching and he's dealing with two incredibly impatient people, both accomplished players in Doug Collins and Michael Jordan. I just can't see it happening here with Kwame. --Mike

Washington, D.C.: Mary, how's the super-model career going? Any magazine covers coming up we should be watching for?

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Yeah, Maxim and FHM in June. Thanks for asking. --Mary

Northern Virginia: Has a player ever refused to talk to you?

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Sure. Absolutely. Of course. A coach or two, a few players. There are guys who wouldn't speak to me maybe 10 or 15 years ago who in retirement or even late in their careers, I had great professional relationships with. I don't think Bob Knight would speak to me now. He shouldn't. I rip him every chance I get. I don't think Pat Riley will speak to me now. That's part of the business. --Mike

Washington, D.C.: At least one DC superstar is in the playoffs. I have to think a focused and motivated Jaromir Jagr could mean good things for the Caps this spring. At the very least, it should be better than playoff years past. Is there legitimate reason to be excited this time?

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Yeah. But it doesn't have to do just with Jagr or Bondra. It has to do with Kolzig more than anything. Goal tending is everything in the playoffs. He's had two good games so far. The Capitals are the 6th seed, but that means nothing in the NHL where home ice advantage is less important than how the goal tenders play. --Mike

Rochester, N.Y.: Hello. Now that Mike is retiring, a couple of questions:

1. Will Collins be the coach here next year and well he be able to command the respect of the players?

2. If Mike is the new president of the club will he hire real personal or continue to hire friends of his? This club needs a real GM.

3. How has Patrick enjoyed coaching so far? Is he part of the problem regarding the development of the Big Men?

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: I think Collins will be the coach here. As for respect,I think that depends on who the players are. I think there will be at least four or five new players.

Everybody hires friends of theirs. And Michael is not the GM: Rod Higgins is. The first issue for the Wizards is scouting. They just started doing it. The second one is they've gotta make better draft picks. If Michael's the president, he has to be responsible for those picks... which means you can't have anymore Kwame Brown mistakes.

As for Patrick, I don't know if he's enjoyed it. I haven't asked him lately. I think he has. And, Patrick has a level of patience that Doug and Michael do not. It's hard to distinguish this early on whether the problem is with the raw material handed to the coach or the tutoring and mentoring. One think Kwame and Brendan don't seem to have is that gym rat mentality, that say, Juan Dixon has. But, Kwame has never really been coached until last year. And he is not taking to coaching well at all...any coaching. That's gotta to change before that kid can get any better. --Mike

Bracketsville: I'm really bothered by what was done to Kwame Brown. That kid should just have finished his sophomore year of college and just coming off a win/loss in New Orleans. Instead, I see a young man whose confidence has been shattered and, as far as I can tell, is now a worse basketball player (if in better physical condition) than he was before joining the Wizards.

The NCAA and NBA need to get together and allow players to be drafted by the NBA coming out of highschool and then play for four years in college. Any payments would be deferred till they graduate/put in their four years. Should they be injured, their bonus money would still be there waiting for them. The NBA would get a higher caliber of player -- as would the NCAA -- but more importantly, someone like Kwame would get the basketball -and- life lessons that he needs to develop. Is anyone seriously considering this type of reform?

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: You're preaching to the choir. I've been writing that column for years. All I'll offer is amen to what you just said. --Mike

Laurel, Md.: Mr. Wilbon,

Don't interpret this as a "boy that was a stupid thing to write" question, but before the Wizards' season you predicted they'd win something like 46 games and be poised for a successfully playoff run.

In what ways did they fall short? I don't think it's reasonable to blame the old chemistry, consistency and injuries alibis, they just weren't quite that good.

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: I think I wrote 44 games and I thought they'd be able to win a couple of rounds in the playoffs. And yes, it turns out to have been a stupid thing to have written. Funny thing is I've come to find out over the past four weeks that Jordan, Charles Oakley and probably Doug Collins felt pretty much the same way. I'm not going to say they convinced me to write what I wrote because I never asked any of them. I looked at the rooster, looked the rest of the teams in the East, didn't see anything special, presumed Kwame was going to average maybe 12 points and 7 rebounds a night and thought they could be as good as I wrote. Talk about stupid wrong. --Mike

Washington, D.C.: Tony,

As a Syracuse alum, I look forward to your yearly pre-tournament column with guest commentary by Jim Boeheim. I noticed you did not write the column this year, but Jimmy B. won the title. What happened?

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: I did not write that column this year because Wilbon now hogs that column. But we had Jim on "PTI" and although he would not pick from his own regional, you could tell he liked his team. In fact, after the tournament he told me that when Syracuse won at Michigan State in the regular season that was when he actually believed he could win the whole thing. Ironically, when we pressed him on TV as to who would win and we forced him to pick, he picked Texas, the team he beat in the round of 8. --Tony

College Park, Md.: Hey guys. Your thoughts.

No doubt MJ has revitalized pro basketball in the city of Washington, but he has only played here two seasons and we don't really know if the city will still be energized after he leaves.

But the real question: Will the Wizards retire MJ's number? Should they retire his number?

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: No. He's a rental. He should not have his number retired in Washington. His number may be retired in the whole league, that's possible. But for two years in Washington, you don't retire a guy's number. And, I have urged him to play all along here and I think it's great he played here. But he is not a Washington basketball player. --Tony

Washington, D.C.: In your opinion, why don't the Capitals get any respect in this town? They are a proven winner year after year, at least three marquis players, but they get very little media (TV, radio, and print) attention.

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: I don't know where this is coming from. The Capitals get front page treatment on the sports section every time they play. They don't suffer in comparison to the Wizards. They don't suffer in comparison to Maryland basketball. The Post treats them with respect. It happens that their TV and radio ratings stink and even so, the Post treats them with respect. So, what are you talking about? --Tony

Washington, D.C.: What are your thoughts on Tiger's decision to use the driver on number three?

He has received a lot of criticism for this move but I think it made sense. Because of the improved conditions of the course, and the quality of the field, I think he figured he would need to shoot about a 64 to have a chance. Sixty-fours don't come without risks.

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: He didn't lose the tournament on the third hole on Sunday. His worst shot on the hole was the wedge he sculled, his third shot. This tidy little notion that using the driver on 3 cost him the tournament is insane. On holes 3-8, he was 5 over. If using the driver was a risk, it was an appropriate risk to get to the lead. --Tony

McLean, Va.: Gentlemen, I've heard Tony say that Kwame Brown will probably be a great player, just not here, in part because of a buildup of bad feeling between Doug Collins and him. Now think Rasheed Wallace, Chris Webber, Ben Wallace. With Kwame's final contract year coming up, shouldn't the Wiz think ahead a few years and do whatever it takes to keep him? Isn't he a necessary part of the puzzle we'd like to see completed here?

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: If Michael Jordan and Doug Collins are here isn't it obvious Kwame Brown won't be able to function? So, you either get rid of Kwame and keep Michael Jordan or you get rid of Jordan. Which direction do you think the owner is going to go in? He's going to keep Jordan. This is the inherent risk in drafting a high school kid -- by the time he's ready to be a good player, he hates the people he plays for and they hate him. I see no point in keeping Kwame Brown out of spite. --Tony

Silver Spring, Md.: So, is Tiger washed up? (Just kidding.)

Seriously, do you think Phil Mickelson's attitude -- as long as I play well, I don't care if I don't win -- is genuine? If so, can he win a Major with that attitude? On the one hand, it is true that in golf you are playing against a score. But you also have to make tactical decisions based on what other players are scoring, don't you?

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: I think Phil Mickelson is struggling, trying to find a mindset and a rationale that works for him. He is clearly buffaloed by not winning any Majors. Shooting 68 on Sunday at Augusta, you're pretty damn good. But, I think that this was a great opportunity for Phil to win a Major because Tiger was not ahead of him. --Tony

San Francisco, Calif.: Did you see the story that CBS did on the evolution of the Maryland basketball program and what did you think of it? With the number of young players the Terps will have next season do you see them having a team like Syracuse had this season or like North Carolina?

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Didn't see it. --Tony

Washington, D.C.: Why doesn't hockey get good ratings? It seems to be an exciting sport with a large fan base.

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: It has no fan base. The same 16,000 people go to every game. It doesn't have good ratings because it's impossible to see the puck on TV. Do you live on the moon? --Tony

Springfield, Va.: When are you both going to start supporting the Montreal Expos?

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: When they become the Washington Expos. Have a nice day. --Tony

Take care people. See you next Monday. Same bat time. Same bat channel. --Mary


That wraps up today's show. Thanks to everyone who joined the discussion.

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