I want to hang with Michael Wilbon. He’s the type of fellow who’s seen many of sports greatest moments over the last 40 years. Just to be clear, he’s also the type of fellow who is not shy about telling you all the historical moments of sports that he’s witnessed over 4 decades. His bravado is typically channeled through the daily Pardon the Interruption show on ESPN. Let me illustrate below what Mike has said over the last few years.
Any time the summer Olympics is discussed, Wilbon pivots to his favorite sport, track, and field. And typically when he pivots in that direction, he mentions the unbelievable speed of Usain Bolt. In 2012, the Olympics were held in London and the unbelievable sprinter from Jamaica did not disappoint, especially in the 100 and 200-meter dashes. Usain was insane when he set a world record of 9.63 in the 100-meter race. Mike was nearby in the first row of stands and watched Bolt draped himself with the Jamaican flag. Michael was there. My only question, which flag was Wilbon waving after Bolt’s victory in both the 100 and 200-meter dash in London? Perhaps his own...
When the conversation on PTI sometimes turns to college basketball, Mr. Wilbon is inclined to frequently bring up the former Bull and North Carolina star who, in the 1982 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game witnessed Michael Jordan helping the Tar Heels on their way to a National Championship. Perhaps a nationally read newspaper sent Wilbon to New Orleans to provide some copy to the sports media landscape. It was reported by Wilbon more than once that he was courtside as a media member during the tournament. Michael was There.
In 1997, Tiger Woods won his first major, defeating Tom Kite by 12 strokes on his way to the 1997 Masters Tournament. Who happened to be covering this event for the Washington Post? Michael Wilbon. Of course, Michael was There, reportedly on the final hole quietly cheering (media members are supposed to be impartial) for the first African-American player winning the Masters.
Considering Wilbon is a diehard Chicago Bears fan, he was on hand in the Louisiana Superdome to watch his Bears demolish the New England Patriots 46 - 10. Wilbon also participated in the Rush Street festivities later that night on the blustery streets of Chicago. Man, does he get around. What a lucky fellow, Michael was There.
He goes on PTI saying 'he was there' any time that there is a sports discussion about the major sports over the last 40 years. He'll also surprise some listeners by making an Olympic reference too occasionally. Indeed the one thing he’s not as shy he is just so quick to tell you that he was there while describing that historical event play for that matter. Michael was There. Don’t you get it? He was there. Could he just describe provide commentary about the actual event to allow the segment to breathe without a quick boast?
I get it that you’ve had a very fruitful career, I can appreciate that. Having said that, do you have to be so quick in telling us all the events you were grateful to witness and report on? If you were to casually drop a name or two or a special event, we’d get the point that you’ve been fortunate covering sports for 40 years. Might a little more modesty go a long way in improving what I see as Wilbon's current narrative?
Based upon what I’ve heard from Wilbon over the years, here are some possibilities he might say if he’s given the chance:
Wasn’t Wilbon in the city of Brotherly Love when the Blackhawks won their 1st Stanley Cub in 2009-10 season defeating the Philadelphia Flyers….the first Cup in nearly 50 years for the Blackhawks?
Wasn’t Wilbon at Disco Demolition Derby at Sox Park on July 12, 179 that ended in a riot?
Wasn’t Wilbon at the Arch De Triumph in Paris congratulating Greg Lemond in 1984 as America’s first winner in the world’s most popular bicycle race?
Wasn’t Wilbon in Utah after the Bulls defeated the Jazz and won their 6th and final Championship during the 1997-98 season?
Don’t believe any of these topics might arise on PTI when Wilbon mentions he was there? Try to give him a listen and decide for yourself.