Wilbon on why he still writes: It’s who I am; does columns for ESPNChicago.com

Part 3 of my Q/A with Michael Wilbon:

Michael Wilbon was at Soldier Field to write a column off the Bears-Houston game last Sunday. And he plans to be at San Francisco to do the same drill for the Bears-49ers game Monday.

Why?

I am not alone in asking this question. Wilbon already has a packed schedule with two shows at ESPN: Pardon The Interruption and NBA Countdown. And he has various other duties, projects and speaking engagements that keep him plenty busy.

Wilbon earns crazy money, as in excess of seven figures annually. He isn’t grinding out 80 or so columns per year for the money. Knock a couple zeros off of Wilbon’s contract, and that’s what a sportswriter earns.

And Wilbon isn’t even writing for ESPN’s biggest online platform. Most of his columns run at ESPNChicago.com. Hence, his … Continue Reading

Wilbon on sports writing today: Not as much good stuff as there used to be

Second of three parts

Michael Wilbon repeatedly stressed he isn’t looking to pass judgment or that he longs for another era.

“I don’t want to sound like some grumpy old man telling you to get off my lawn,” he said.

Yet Wilbon’s role as editor of The Best American Sports Writing 2012 confirmed what he already knew.

“There’s not as much good stuff being written as there used to be,” said the former Washington Post columnist.

Make no mistake, he said, he found plenty of good stuff in the book. Make that, tremendous stuff. As I wrote Sunday, there are several stories in the book that will stand the test of time in any era. It is a great reminder of what sports writing still can produce.

Wilbon, though, laments that the volume simply isn’t the same. He says the impact of social media … Continue Reading

Wilbon Q/A: NBA Countdown isn’t trying to compete with Barkley, TNT; speaks on changes, Simmons, Magic

First of three parts:

It isn’t easy to pin down Michael Wilbon these days. It’s not that he doesn’t want to talk. The notion of silence doesn’t exist for him.

Rather, Wilbon is a constant man in motion this time of year. His regular gigs on NBA Countdown and Pardon the Interruption should be enough to fill his plate. Wilbon, though, still loves to write, which is why he was in Chicago to write a column off Sunday’s Bears-Houston game for ESPNChicago.com.

“It’s crazy, man,” he said.

After many texts, I finally connected with Wilbon Monday. And sure enough, he had plenty to say. Enough for a three-parter.

We discussed the state of sports writing in the wake of him editing and selecting the stories for Best American Sports Writing 2012; and why he feels the need to continue to cover games and … Continue Reading

Simmons, Rose part of revamped ESPN NBA Countdown

Bill Simmons’ dream continues to get better. The NBA junkie now will be talking hoops with Magic Johnson as part of ESPN’s revamped NBA Countdown.

In are Simmons and Jalen Rose. Out are Jon Barry and Chris Broussard. Remaining are Johnson and Michael Wilbon.

ESPN felt like the show needed some tweaks. Simmons, who has his hands on pretty much everything at ESPN, obviously is seen as an upgrade with his unique perspective.

Thanks to the magic of video, here are Simmons and Rose talking about being “teammates.”

For those who prefer reading, here are some quotes:

“I think the four of us will be able to have good conversations,” Simmons said. “We’re all going to say what we’re thinking. I’m better playing off other people and I think Jalen is the same way and I know Magic is the … Continue Reading

Who needs a host? ESPN exec explains why hostless NBA Countdown works

What ESPN did with its NBA Countdown show this year might not be good news for James Brown, Curt Menefee, Chris Berman, Chris Fowler, and countless other hosts of studio shows.

ESPN has proved that a studio show can be done without a quote-unquote host.

In one of the more unique experiments in recent years, ESPN decided to go without a studio host for its NBA studio show. In previous years, the network had employed Hannah Storm and Stuart Scott to direct the traffic.

This year, ESPN simply put Magic Johnson, Michael Wilbon, Chris Broussard, and Jon Barry at a table and let them talk. Wilbon does most of the nuts and bolts stuff when it comes to opening the segments. But unlike a regular host, his main purpose is to be an analyst, offering his opinions in the discussion.

ESPN’s version is … Continue Reading