Why I Like Mike Wilbon

I'm sure at least some of you participate in and/or read ESPN NBA chats. Since Mike Wilbon started doing them, I've been reading every week, and his answers are just excellent in breaking down moron fans. Some highlights from this week are below the fold.


Heat fan: How much hating do you think Charles Barkley sends the Heat way and do you think he got some back last night from the Heat fans in MIA....Go Heat
Wilbon: people need to get a life. Charles doesn't hate anybody...or anything. His job is to look at basketball, pro and now college, as a critic. Half the time people are so consumed in their fandom they're not smart enough--and I mean this literally--to understand that not everybody is there to love them and their team, whatever team that is. Charles is a critic, and a damn good one. And nobody outside the market in question really cares whether Charles LIKES the team he's talking about or not...He doesn't care about the Bulls or Miami on a personal level...He doesn't dislike LeBron, though he might dislike the way LeBron went about something or the way he played on a given night, or the way Rose played...That's his job, people, to praise and criticize. Get over it...


Heat fan: Thanks for answering my question, but I strongly disagree with your answer. It's one thing for Charles Barkley to dislike the way LeBron made his decision but that was almost a year ago. Charles never and I mean never talks about the millions of dollars LeBron and the Wade gave up to play for a chase to win. This day in age when sports players are always melee for just thinking about themselves and money, these three players were thinking about winning not just money. I strongly disagree, Charles has proving to be a heater and got what was coming to him from the fan in MIA.

Wilbon: Reasonable people can disagree...But don't make it out that LeBron and Wade took $75,000 a year to play together. They're making $110 million or whatever the exact number is. Nobody's going to get the Nobel Prize for taking $110 instead of $121 million. And increasingly people like you have attitude because somebody doesn't like your team. Those of us who report/criticize/analyze aren't put on earth to give a damn about your team. And this can't be said strongly enough. Trust me, Charles doesn't spend any time snarling when the Heat is mentioned. People write me and say "You hate my team." Let me promise you, I don't think about your team, could care less about your team. You might or might not have a fully engaged life, but trust me most of the people covering sports do. We don't paint our faces and change our seats to guarantee good luck for the team. We do not care. If nothing else, whether, understand that. We care about the work put into leading the discussion or helping understand the game or the quality of the broadcast or column written. We do not care about your teams; we care about our work.



I've never gotten the whole "hater" aspect that fans ascribe to writers. Bill Simmons doesn't hate David Kahn; he thinks of him like Jon Stewart thought of George W. Bush: as fodder for his work. The thing that I hate reading about with the Wolves is that it reinforces the shitty experiences I've had watching them over the last few years.
Anyway, here are some questions:

  • Do you think there are any media types who are actually haters? I just think some aren't good basketball analysts and don't understand the game that well.
  • Is or isn't it strange that a lot of the "hater" accusations come from fans of winning teams? Why do you think that is?
  • As a fan of a losing team, does it rub a little bit of salt into the wound when hearing these fans complain about anything? Honestly, if my team was still playing, I wouldn't give a shit what Barkley or Wilbon thought.
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