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In Wilbon's World

Chat House: The Addition

Each week I'll post a few questions I didn't get to during The Chat House and respond to them in depth. Today's topics: Wiz dealings, Olympic hockey and skating and Wilbon's top travel destinations.

Fairfax City: Mike, I don't think teams that win less than half of their games ought to make the playoffs. They stink - and these phony "last week of the season" rushes for the No. 8 seed (and 38 wins) are pathetic.
p.s. - Caron's going to be one of the stars of this year's playoffs.

MW: I agree with you completely, which is why I'd like to see the NBA's top 16 teams seeded, regardless of conference or division affiliation. That would eliminate some bad Eastern Conference teams this year and allow in teams such as Memphis and Houston which have been above .500 but might not make the playoffs in the tougher Western Conference. But the NBA shows no inclination toward making any major changes, from All-Star weekend to the playoffs, so don't hold your breath waiting to see any new formats. As far as Caron Butler, Dallas is going to need him to score, perhaps as much as 18-20 points per game. I don't know if he'll be a star in the playoffs, but if Dallas is going to make any noise he'll have to play like a front-line starter and take some of the scoring pressure off Dirk Nowitzki.

Bradley Beach, NJ: Mike - anything new on the Leonsis purchase of the Wiz? Their devaluation has to help him in the negotiations. He has also shown the ability to develop a team over time with the Caps. He also will receive a lot of goodwill from season ticket holders. What is the hold-up?

MW: When people are tens of millions of dollars apart -- some reports have the two sides as much as $100 million -- it takes time to reach a deal. One of the reasons I think Ted and the Pollin family will reach a deal is that there simply aren't a lot of prospective buyers out there for NBA teams in this economic climate. Probably six to 10 teams would sell if they could, but there aren't that many buyers. I think it'll get done, but it won't be quick.

Vancouver: I heard you say on PTI that the Olympic hockey tournament is the best in the world. That being said, who do you think will take the gold and what are the chances that the Americans medal?

MW: I'm not interested in picking the tournament or guessing who'll medal; I want to watch the tournament. I want to see the artistry, best players in the world play without fighting and bloodshed, without enforcers, without obstruction and gooning. Canada is the favorite but obviously the Russian team will be formidable. The U.S. team is medal capable, but I'm not into handicapping the Olympic hockey tournament; I just want to enjoy watching it.

Fred Vegas, Va.: Mr. Wilbon, I've been watching some of the Olympic coverage with my wife. She loves the skating and doesn't understand why I don't. I've tried to explain that it's one of the worse kept secrets that the results are all but pre-determined. I seem to remember that the judges got busted for this a couple of years ago. She thinks I'm nuts. Am I (about this anyway)? Also, don't you think if you fall down while skating you should be forced to leave the ice? I don't understand how you can fall and still be considered one of the best. And one more thing, what's the difference between ice skating and ice dancing? Thanks for taking the time for the chat and for answering my questions.

MW: Look, I'm not going to watch any figure skating and I'm not going to watch any ice dancing, and I don't know the difference because I don't watch. Even when I covered the Winter Olympics (Albertville, France in '92, Nagano, Japan in '98 and Salt Lake City '02) I didn't watch the skating. I wouldn't even go to the venue. Having said that, these people are extraordinary athletes and artists. It's amazing what they do. I won't ever diminish the skill involved. I just don't think it's a sport. I don't think it's "fixed" either. Yes, it's set up to reward the people who are ranked the highest coming into the competition, which I hate. When your performance, no matter how brilliant, can't make up for who you are and what the judges thought of you coming into the competition, it's not a sport. When the judges attend practice sessions, it's not a sport. And I don't know if judges have been banned from practices or not...don't know how many of the rules have changed because of the French judge scandal a couple of Winter Games ago. Anyway, I really loathe the whole thing, the judges, the "kiss and cry" area, the costumes on the men. It's all a show, like "American Idol" which I don't watch either. I'm happy for the people who care, and these are the people NBC caters to during the Winter Games, but I'm not watching.

Washington, D.C.: As a well traveled guy (who isn't afraid to fly), what are your five favorite U.S. cities to visit?

MW: I'll expand my answer to include North American cities, since the Olympics are in Canada. That allows me to include Vancouver, which I think is THE most beautiful, most cosmopolitan, most diverse, most stylish city with the best vistas and best restaurants anywhere in North America. Vancouver is No. 1 on my hit list. After that, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Scottsdale, Az., Chicago, Montreal, Seattle, Toronto, New York. I love various destinations in Arizona, Colorado (Aspen). I love the west, period. I enjoy most of my time on Miami Beach, in Boston (like Chicago, in the summer)...I guess this means I'm mostly a big city guy. But that's a pretty good chunk of the places I enjoy visiting in North America. Not really an islands guy, though I have enjoyed Anguilla, and recently I made my first trip to The Bahamas (for golf). I like San Juan a lot but have only been there twice, and not in the last 20 years. Haven't been to Quebec City as an adult, but would like to go.


Michael Wilbon

 |  February 17, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Category:  NBA , Olympics , The Chat House , Wizards Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Your screech about Ovechkin cracks me up. First, because your writings on Tiger suggested an awareness that these athletes are not our property to judge, stalk, or harass as we sit fit. Quite the change of "heart".
Second, the Filmer is positioned to hem Ovechkin in; he tries to move to the outside and she turns with him. That's when the "out of control" 6'2, 235-lb Ovechkin strikes out, so violently that her flipping camera *doesnt even stop RECORDING*. Indeed, so intense is this physical assault that the victim says "don't break it, don't break it", instead of crying out in pain or try to get away from her assailant.
Third, Ovechkin was in Vancouver as a Russian Olympic Athlete. That means more time with Russian press, less time with endless NA-press variations on "You and Crosby both have moms: whose is better?" How much time&energy did you call for Kobe to spend on the Italian press in Turin? Right.
You're a Milbury-"class" hack to try making hay out of this, and you should resume Shutting Up about hockey. Lame.

Posted by: redlineblue | March 1, 2010 6:28 PM
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Mr. Wilbon,

I know you don't watch figure skating or ice dancing - but you have to admit it was pretty cool when the woman from the U.K. ice dancing team lifted the man. Check the tape .. it was awesome.

Love you work, by the way.

Posted by: BrownPants | February 23, 2010 8:31 AM
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Hi Michael, I have two comments. First, I listened as many of us golfers did to Tiger's apology. My comment is that we all have made mistakes and if one istruly sorry and actions speak louder than words then we should all let Tiger and his family be.

Secondly: Are You and Mr. Tony ever going to resume 'Talking Points' from the Post?


Posted by: chuckm41 | February 22, 2010 4:22 PM
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I will wait in see what Tiger does in
the in the future before i make a
judgement, Actions speak louder than

Posted by: sco228 | February 21, 2010 4:01 PM
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Figure skating isn't a sport? Are you kidding me? I respect your opinion tremendously but that may very well be the stupidest thing you have ever said. I am not a fan of figure skating either but please..... For pete's sake, you are a golf fan! If golf is a sport then something as athletically challenged as skating is certainly a sport. As you like to say, what were you thinking knucklehead.

Posted by: blackandred777 | February 19, 2010 11:43 AM
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