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Daddy’s Game
Comments () | Published April 1, 2009
Wilbon began his writing career banging on a manual typewriter back in 1980, but now he’s gone digital. He podcasts his TV appearances, he chats online, and the Post is giving him his own page on the paper’s Web site.

What do you think of Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell?

He’s suffered like LaVar Arrington did—too many coordinators. Does he have the physicality and the intelligence to be a quarterback who reaches the Super Bowl? Yes, he does. But you can’t keep screwing around with these guys. What do quarterbacks talk about? Repetition. “I need to get my reps. I need my system.” The Redskins don’t have any of that; they don’t have any stability.

What franchise has won without that? Look at the Steelers—three coaches in 40 years.

Why can’t the Wizards put a decent team on the floor?

They made the playoffs four years in a row even with injuries. But now they’re not competitive. No one is competitive without his best players. So without Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood, the Wizards have no chance. None. It’s a players’ league. I don’t care who’s coaching.

Can Arenas take them to the championship?

I wouldn’t have signed Gilbert. I wouldn’t have given Gilbert $111 million. I love Gilbert. He’s great for this town. He’s great for media, great for sportswriters. He’s great for the team. I wouldn’t pay him $111 million. And I know [Wizards president] Ernie Grunwald disagrees with me on that.

I face no consequence if I’m wrong. But if Ernie’s wrong, he has the consequences. But I wouldn’t have paid Gilbert that. Grunwald could have gotten two or three players for $111 million. And they didn’t know if he was healthy.

Your take on the Nats?

I’m going to make an admission. It’s bad: I have not yet been to the new park.

How come?

Because I had a heart attack and my son was born. My ESPN and ABC duties. I just haven’t been out there yet.

Talk about how your life has changed post–heart attack.

I have totally changed my diet. I’m breaking my diet a bit with this waffle. I’ve had to exercise a lot more, get more rest.

What kind of exercise?

I’m lifting weights so I can carry this Shaquille O’Neal of a child. My trainer is pushing me to build strength—core-strength things. A lot of squats. I turned 50 in November, so that was sort of a freak-out situation.

What else has changed in your life?

I’m trying to get more sleep. I’m a 2:30-to-3 go-to-bed person. I can’t do that anymore. My concession is bed at 1, 1:30. Then I can get up around 9. I get at least 61⁄2 hours. I used to get five. And I feel much better.

What does a week look like for you?

It’s really helter-skelter. This is what a week will be like: I’ll go to the Big East tournament in New York. That ends March 14 at Madison Square Garden. I’ll go up there Thursday, Friday, and work for the Post and do PTI. There’s a studio right off Fifth Avenue and 43rd. I’ll walk from the Garden to the studio. I’ll walk back to the Garden and go back to writing my column and watching the Big East tournament.

What about the NBA show for ESPN?

On Sunday, a car will take me to Bristol, Connecticut, and I’ll do the NBA show.

What’s there?

ESPN. It’s the whole city. I will do that show, then I’ll go back to LaGuardia, take the last shuttle home. Maybe stop in at a Wizards game to see the opponent—ABC and ESPN have no interest in the Wizards anymore. And then I’ll go to Philly for the first round of the NCAA tournament.

I’ll be in Philly Thursday. Friday I’m going to speak at University of Delaware. Saturday, back to Philly for the second round. Sunday, back to Bristol.

When do you see Sheryl and Matthew—your wife and child?

I’ll fly to Arizona on Monday. I may take a day or two off in Arizona. I don’t get days off in the winter. And because the western regionals are in Phoenix, I’ll go and see a Suns game. Maybe the Lakers are coming; maybe San Antonio will come through. So I’ll do some NBA work. Thursday night, NCAA. Friday’s an off day, but it won’t be an off day. I’ll do NBA work, prepare for the show. Saturday, NCAA in Phoenix.

Dude!

Take a redeye to JFK, get in at 5 am, and go to Bristol and do the ABC show on Sunday. March is a little extreme.

Talk about Tony Kornheiser and PTI. How long have you been doing PTI?

Since October 2001. I can’t believe it’s going to be eight years.

Is it every day of the week?

I’m doing 200 a year.

Are you face-to-face with Tony?

I would say about two-thirds of the time. We do the Monday Night Football games together. We do the show from the field.

So do you love Tony?

Yes. Absolutely.

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  • Mctrapp3

    A response to the interview with Mike Wilbon, which I just read today, May 4, 2012....

    Mike,

    Your objectivity seems rivaled only by your generous outlook on and interest in people. The 'fatherless thing' in the black community remains an ongoing challenge, but less of one because of people like you who have 'made it out' and who point out its consequences with a sense of reality but also with understanding and a level of compassion.
    My father started a black appeal radio station in the heart of an affluent suburb in Columbus, Ohio; he broadcast OSU Buckeye football games for 33 years. His patience was tried by the incivility he often encountered ( from all sides) in striving for in civil rights, but he continued to believe that even the offering of remedial reading classes for athletes at the college level ( reviled by the elite he knew in academia) represented perhaps the only opportunity for young African Americans to get in the college classroom and raise their own as well as their community's level of both education and sophistication. My dad had goals for America; Brian Robiskie is representative of one of those goals. I would recommend to you Eugene Robinson's book, Dis-integration; I think Mr. Robinson somewhat laments what he identifies as the segmenting of the African-American community; I don't, and I don't think my father would either; he would say that the emergence of all these different 'segments' of the black community represent victory---de-homogenizing, if you will---real independence that is reflective of significant steps towards making skin color irrelevant.
    I noted you do not drink and have never taken drugs; I have never taken any drugs and I am practically a tee-totaler; I wish the same money that was spent on Iraq could have been applied to the drug war, a battle I see as every bit as threatening to our country as terrorism---and certainly it preys upon/ is the scourge of the African-American community.

    I have been watching you and Mr. Kornheiser for a long time on PTI . I remember listening to Tony on radio, and so often thinking, "Yes, Tony---that's the way I feel, too!" And then I discovered he and I share the same birthday! I'm not into fortune-telling, but if there is anything to horoscopes, well....we July 13 people seem to be in sync.

    Much good luck with your new son, and I wish you continually improving health and fitness since your heart attack. Writers hold special places in my heart; both my mom and dad started out writing, and encouraged verbal expression in my sister and me from the time we were little girls. I cherish my memories of their soliciting our opinions on things ( from a very young age), for I realize now that those were the seeds of verbal agility being planted. I hope that, in spite of your demanding reporter's schedule, you will be home enough to ask your young son lots of non-yes/no questions so he will become as good at expressing himself as you are!

    Thanks for continuing to share your steady analysis and your sensitivity to sports as a great metaphor for life. Your 'Interruptions' need no pardon.

    Meredith Trapp ( Mrs. James W. )
    housewife, mother of 2 sons, John and Mike Trapp ( ages 27 and 23)
    1922 Stanford Rd.
    Columbus, OH 43212
    614-488-7290
    mctrapp3@aol.com

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