A Conversation With Michael Wilbon


Michael Wilbon, the longtime co-host of Pardon the Interruption and former Washington Post sportswriter, joined my podcast this week. He will be appearing at the Shirley Povich Symposium at the University of Maryland next Tuesday, November 10th. Joining him on the panel, entitled Sportswriting Then and Now, will be Tony Kornheiser, Sally Jenkins, Christine Brennan, Jeremy Schaap, and Chelsea Janes. The program will be introduced by former Post publisher Don Graham, and moderated by Shirley’s son, Maury Povich.

We started our conversation by discussing the program’s namesake, Shirley Povich, who wrote for the Washington Post for over 70 years, and the range of events that covered, as well as the writer’s early racial progressivism and profound mentorship. From there, we talked about some of the myriad differences between sportswriting in the mid-80’s and today, many of which do not just pertain to how we follow sports

Bill Simmons has mentioned on multiple radio spots — here and here — that he felt his experiences on NBA countdown were the beginning of his struggles with ESPN management, culminating in his ouster. I asked Wilbon if he also observed that. We also talked about analytics in sports, Dusty Baker, advice for young journalists, and how he uses Twitter. At the end of the discussion, I asked if, with the amount of time he spends and has spent in Chicago, he agreed that it feels like the Blackhawks have passed the Bulls in relevance in the city.