The Chat House With Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon
Washington Post Sports Columnists
Monday, May 19, 2003; 1:30 pm ET
Welcome back to The Chat House!
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon joined you live to talk sports.
The transcript follows.
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Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Good afternoon everyone. If you're in Washington, I hope you're enjoying the first day of sun in days. Let me get Wilbon on his cell and Tony will jump in later... I think. So, hang tight for a sec. --Mary
Washington, D.C.: Do you guys think the ACC would have extended invitations to the conference to UM, BC and SU without assurances from Miami that they would, in fact, join?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Hi everyone. Good question. One would think that this falls under the principle of don't ask a question you don't already know the answer to. I would hope that the powerful and influential people in the Big East, people who are not afraid of taking an unpopular stand, would speak up and agitate for keeping the Big East together. Perhaps when the top tier executives of the ACC started those discussions they felt they did know the answer. Personally, I hope they are wrong. I hope the Big East stays intact. This is why colleges can never take the moral high ground on any issue because they are so brazenly greedy. And, I guess the executives in the ACC think that kids aren't watching their actions.... like college students aren't sophisticated enough to know that the adults supervising them and sermonizing them are liars and hypocrites. --Mike
Rockville, Md.: Since dismissing Jordan, Abe seems to have taken a vow of silence.Is this an effective way of dealing with the public relations fallout? And when do you think that MJ will go public with his view of the entire Wizards situation?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: To take the latter question first, I don't think we'll hear Michael publicly discussing this situation anytime soon. I could be wrong and he could change his mind, but I've talked to him and he's been completely steadfast in his desire not to get into a public back and forth with Abe or anyone in the Wizards, so I'm going to take him at his word. As to Abe's silence, it is a curious strategy since Abe does have to deal in good faith with ticket holders and patrons and vendors and corporate sponsors. We'll see if it's an effective strategy, a lousy strategy or simply overplaying one hand. --Mike
Washington, D.C.: Hey guys! How exciting do you all see these playoffs without the big NBA names playing?
Any chance of a new star on the horizon?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: There are always new stars on the horizon because it's a sport that values individuality. But I'm not in love with these playoffs. There have been some terrific individual performances and a number of really dramatic games, but I don't think there has been any sustained level of play in any conference. --Mike
Boston, Mass.: What's your take on the new seats at Fenway on top of the Green Monster? And who's going to win tonight, Yanks or Sox?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: I have no feeling about Yanks or Sox about who is going to win one single baseball game out of a million. But I do have feelings about Fenway. I hate this... I hate these new seats. I think Fenway and Wrigley Field and Yankee Stadium ought to be treated with kid gloves when it comes to renovations. I believe they are historical landmarks and should be treated as such. --Mike
New Brunswick, N.J.: Mike,
You are a good sports media guy, but your defense of Michael Jordan makes you appear like more of a suck-up than Ahmad Rashad. What say you to that?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: I could give a damn what you say. You really think I'm going to change the way I do my job because of something you say? If I agree or disagree with somebody, it's going to be because that is the way I feel. --Mike
Fairfax Va.: Virginia Tech getting left out of the ACC absolutely reeks. The thought that they're four years out of the title game and might be conference-less? Ludicrous!
What options do you see coming from the Big East meetings? And do you foresee any further expansion in either the SEC or Big 10?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Apparently later this afternoon we won't have to speculate anymore on the ACC or Big East. This whole thing could be settled by later today. So, there is no need for us to waste our breath speculating when this appears to be coming to a grand conclusion. And to be honest, I have no idea what these parties are thinking beyond money. In fact, there is no agenda beyond money. Even then, I have no idea why the Big East schools would leave. In fact, I find the notion of Syracuse and Boston College leaving the Big East reprehensible. --Mike
Washington, D.C.: Hey guys,
Charley Rosen on ESPN.com wrote that one of the "biggest" problems for the Lakers has been Shaq's weight. In your estimation, has Shaq put on too much weight for his own good?
He does look heavier to me, but frankly, the man takes a beating night after night and maybe he feels he needs the extra cushion.
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Shaq actually has said that... he told Tony and me early in the season that he wanted the extra bulk because he was getting beat on so much. I don't that there isn't any reason to believe he felt that way. But that doesn't mean it works to his advantage or the Lakers advantage. There are people in the Lakers organization who would like to see Shaq smaller by 30 or 50 lbs and that sentiment has been echoed by some former teammates too. But Shaq and Kobe are not the Laker's first or second or tenth problem. The Laker's problem is a lack of talented players who are either in their athletic prime or on the upward swing. San Antonio, Dallas and Sacramento... each of those teams has at least two or maybe three players who are in their early to mid-20's and improving by leaps and bounds. Name a Laker that fits that description. --Mike
Leonard Seat Pleasant, Md.: Tony and Mike, my question is will the Clipps of the East (that's the Wizards for those people who ride the short bus), actually make a pitch to hire Paul Silas? Doesn't that decision make to much sense? The Wizards are notorious for making the improper decision, so why the buzz about Coach Silas? We all know he is a winner, but what does that mean to this organization? They fired the epitome of winning, in MJ, without giving him a chance to correct his management mistakes. So why should I believe, as a life long fan, and resident of this area, that things will change? This is a sad franchise.
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Where is the buzz about Silas? Are you hearing something I don't hear? Yes, fans here want Paul Silas, but I don't know that Abe Pollin has expressed that interest or if he has, acted on it. If you're Paul Silas and you've taken teams to the playoffs four straight years as a head coach, even when your team's best players are injured in the post-season, would you want to come to the Wizards? Or would you figure you could get a better team? I have no idea if there is really any buzz about Paul Silas that includes Wizard execs... whoever they are at this point. --Mike
Silver Spring, Md.: Wilbon, nice article on Dirk today. My question is, with the success of Euros like Dirk, Gasol and Peja, there is talk of as many as 10-12 European players going in the first round this year, though many of them are undeveloped, or have only been seen in a couple (if any) games. How can NBA GM's use a high first round pick based on lore and (possibly) myth? Is the NBA going overboard on european players? Is this a result of depleted college ranks? Or did the GM's just watch the world championships and now pine for players that actually play team ball?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: What you should be asking is how they can use those high picks on high school players? Who do you think was a better pick so far: Paw Gasol or Kwame Brown? I've got a lot less concern about European and Asian players making it here than I do high school players... especially when some of those players (not Kwame) come with so much baggage including the obligatory posse and hangers-ons and entourages. --Mike
Forestville, Md.: I am a woman who happens to that happened to have agreed with Vijay Singh's statement (his actual words, not the ones made up for sensational coverage). So why did he grow feathers and a beak? I'm not buying the story about his wife.
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: How do you know what his actual word were? Were you there? Do you have a tape of the conversation, either video or audio? I don't know what he said and neither do you. And either way, I don't care whether people agree or disagree, it's an interesting position he took. Others may have taken the same position; I would not have. I don't harbor any ill will toward Vijay for speaking his mind. He's entitled and so many people in the PGA don't. --Mike
Washington, D.C.: I heard Tony on the radio today. What will the Bryant Gumbel piece focus on?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: I have no idea. Bryant talked to us together and separately. He played golf with us, he watched us do the show twice, he filmed me walking my dog at 5 a.m.... I just hope he doesn't kill us. I've always thought that Bryant Gumbel and Ted Koppel were the best people on TV. And I felt great that Gumbel started in sports. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine. But I don't get HBO, so I won't see it. --Tony
Tuesday night at 10 p.m. on HBO I think. --Mary
Washington, D.C.: I'm tired of the Wizards losing, year-in and year-out. Is there any hope for the future of this team? Maybe if Honest Abe sells them? And would any star come and play here. Bring back Gheorge Muresan!
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: We are tired of you being tired. The hope for the future is always the same: draft well and stick with one coach for more than an hour and a half. A star would come here to play for money, that's what motivates all of them. --Tony
McLean, Va.: Now that you are a celebrity, as well as a sports journalist, how have you handled this?
Do you hate getting bombarded in public? Is it hard going out in public knowing you will likely have to deal with all sorts of people?
Athletes talk about this a lot. I would be curious to hear your thoughts.
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: I've always like fame. It seems obvious to me looking back at my life that I've courted fame. I never mind when people come up and say they like the work. That's why I'm doing the work -- whether it's writing or radio or TV -- for the audience. So, why would I want them to leave me alone? --Tony
Falls Church, Va.: Any opinions about the ACC v. Big East debate? TK, I think you were a little harsh on Virginia Tech today. I'm a UVA alum, but would welcome the Hokies into the conference. Why should North Carolina get all the good in-state rivalries?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: You think I was harsh on Virginia Tech? These people BEGGED the Big East to let them in and now the only think that bothers them is that the ACC might spurn them. Where is their loyalty? They are pathetic. Miami is the villain in the pice, but Virginia Tech's crying is PATHETIC. I don't care if they go to the ACC. I don't care if they go to the Big 12. Just stop whining. --Tony
Big East Land, USA: Tony,
What's with the Big East football bashing in your article today? Who says a conference has to stay dominant in just one sport (basketball) when it can pick up great football schools? Virginia Tech has done nothing but good things for the Big East as a whole.
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: The Big East was founded as a basketball conference. Its mistake was trying to become a football conference as well -- though in my opinion, Big East football is better than ACC football, which stinks. --Tony
Clinton, Md.: Hi Mike and Tony,
Can Funny Cide win the Belmont? Every now and then the creator smiles on the little guy who has been unjustly wronged. I was glad to see Santos win. I am not a racing fan, but every year I like to follow the triple crown races and the Breeders Cup and I love reading Andy Beyer.
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Funny Cide is a great story and its ownership situation is a great story. And going back to New York to run in the Belmont is a great story. So, sure, I'm rooting for Funny Cide. --Tony
Silver Spring, Md.: If the best women golfers start to play in the PGA circuit, won't the LPGA suffer the same fate of the Negro [baseball] League when their best players went to the major leagues?
What's being seen as an advance for women's rights could end up costing them dearly, no?
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Look... the PGA tour is not for men only. NOTHING in the charter says that. It's for the BEST GOLFERS. If women can get in to the PGA Tour, God bless them. If the LPGA tours because one or two women make the PGA Tour, then the LPGA should fold. If people won't go out to see 32 of the best 34 women golfers in America, then it's the LPGA's fault. There is no constitutional guarantee for ticket sales for women golfers. --Tony
Big East: Thanks for stating succinctly both the hypocrisy of the Big East/ACC shuffle, and your opinion of it. I can't imagine the Big East without Syracuse.
Also, thanks for your words on Yankee Stadium, Fenway and Wrigley as historical landmarks. As a fan of the game, and the charm of these parks, I often feel that management thinks they have to compete with the newer "cuter" stadiums and forget that what they don't have in terms of sushi bars and luxury skyboxes, they have in tons and tons of baseball history. It's part of why I go to the games.
< B>Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: Thanks for the comments. --Tony and Mike
Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon: We've got to go. No show next week because of Memorial Day. See you in June. --The Chat House
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