These days, it’s good to be Michael Wilbon of ESPN and formerly of the Washington Post. Michael Wilbon gets to talk sports for a living, and he enjoys some of the best access in the business.

Michael Wilbon loves to talk about his famous professional athlete friends, notably Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Irvin “Magic” Johnson. Oh, you didn’t know Magic still went by Irvin? Well, Wilbon is so close that he refuses to call him Magic. Wilbon won’t criticize washed up QB Donovan McNabb either, no matter how many coaches give up on him, because they are good friends as well. Wilbon will sing the praises of the talented and flawed individuals because they gave him access during their playing days and because any relationship they have with him legitimizes the biases that Wilbon flaunts on a daily basis. Of course, while Wilbon is reticent to criticize his A-list birthday guests, he will still gladly take shots at others, including organizations, that have unpleasant dealings with his friends.

Wilbon also likes to use his blatant favoritism to try to appear fresh and contrarian. Take the latest example. Wilbon recently penned a column on ESPN.Com defending the much-ballyhooed “Decision” by All-world egomaniac LeBron James. Why? Well, because it brought interest back to the NBA.

Kick me in the groining hard, and don’t stop until I either pass out from the pain or utter the safe word, ESPN:

“The Decision” was roundly criticized by virtually everybody, but it was exactly — flaws and all — what the NBA needed. People who didn’t have a strong opinion of James either way suddenly had them. Nobody seemed to straddle the line anymore. You liked him or hated him, liked or hated the Heat, and you could not or did not look away.

Oh, really? Michael Griffin in LA, Derrick Rose in Chicago, Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s improbable run, and ‘Melo’s trade to the Knicks, all played a role. So did the Lakers’ constant sniping.

As for hatred for LeBron, that didn’t just appear out of thin air one morning at your Scottsdale mansion, Wilbon. Out here in D.C. LeBron hate was real for three seasons when the CAVS sent the Wizards home each postseason meeting. Out in Detroit, hatred for the Cavaliers, and especially LeBron was bubbling over when they came back to defeat the Pistons en route to the NBA finals in 2007. The Boston Celtics, and particularly Paul Pierce have hated LeBron since his AAU days. The Orlando Magic hated LeBron too, for his classless gesture after being defeated in 2008.

One more, and then I really do need to go:

And television isn’t the only place where increased interest in the NBA is reflected. reports that page views are up 40 percent over last season, video streams are up 130 percent and NBA mobile downloads are up 75 percent. Traffic to NBA content on has increased dramatically as well, with some categories approaching triple-digit increases. If it’s too soon to say the NBA is in the middle of a full-fledged renaissance, at the very least the league has seen a resurgence, probably even an explosion.

And it’s entirely because of LeBron James.

The Heat drew fan attention because it’s a team of two of the best players in the league, and a third player who is in the top 15. LeBron could have faxed his notice and the interest would have still been huge. Also, there was just a lot of entertaining ball this season; the league has a few new stars and has finally moved beyond just marketing Kobe and LeBron.

Whenever I see Wilbon on PTI I think about what a chubby little shit he must have been growing up in Chicago. I think about how he probably didn’t have many friends, and how in gym class he hung from the chin up bar with his gut tumbling out and his arms aching as everybody laughed him trying to do a single pull up out. Too bad my time machine is busted or I would totally go back in time and pay some children to kick his ass.

Ciroc, The Wizards and Me: A Love Story

Obviously, I love sports, I run a sports blog for crying out loud. I also, and you might not know this, love me some alcohol, especially free alcohol. Last night, these two great loves formed like Voltron into one fantastic event thanks to the good people of Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodkas when they invited myself and a bunch of other fellow bloggers and media members out to watch the Wizards play the Celtics at the Verizon Center.

The reason Ciroc was throwing this bash (other than to provide us with samples of their fine alcohol) was to promote responsible drinking and providing all event goers free metro cards so they could have a safe ride home after the game without any sort of drunk driving going on. I even personally took the metro home after the game. Buzzed driving is drunk driving kids, remember that.  Take a cab or public transportation if you’re boozing it up like a champ.

Anyway, I was there with Punte (aka Josh Zerkle aka Monday Morning Punter) from With Leather, the House of Punte Podcast and Kissing Suzy Kolber, Phil the main man from Gunaxin, Don Everest from TheMatadorSports and Kevin Burke from The Hoop Doctors amongst others….including the gorgeous Ciroc girls and Wizards cheerleaders.  You want pics? You got pics. Bam. Read the rest of this entry

Washington Wizards rookie point guard John Wall is one smooth customer.  He is in the middle of answering a reporter’s question when someone dares to rip a fart right in front of him.  While he does pause mid-sentence for a brief second, he keeps going with the answer with only a mild smirk entering his face.  Definition of smooth, yes?  Check it:

Like silk.  This kid is going to be a superstar if he keeps his cool like that.  Oh wait…whats that?  He doesn’t always keep his cool you say?  Well dang. There goes that.

Young Washington National, Bryce Harper, played in his first simulated game against real major leaguers yesterday afternoon and do you want to guess how he fared in his two at bats?  Well he struck out twice.  Disappointing?  Totally! Surprising?  Not in the least.

It just can’t be surprising if you’ve followed sports in this town for the last twenty years.  DC has been full of young athletes with promise that only serve to let us down over and over again.  We have had several high draft picks or young phenoms that have come into this town and failed, sometimes in spectacular fashion.  DC might actually be one of the worst cities in all of sports in terms of positively assisting in a young athlete’s growth.

Plus, he’s super young (big strike against him), he’s super confident (can he handle not having immediate success), and he’s super inexperienced (can he handle injuries, can he handle the life in the big city, can he handle his money). The odds really are stacked against this kid unless the stars align.

The stars rarely align in DC however. If history is our guide, Harper will be yet another huge disappointment. So let’s look at a brief history of the other highly touted disappointments DC has had, at least in recent memory:

Stephen Strasburg

Ok, so sure, its a little early to judge the whole career of this kid but c’mon, he blew out his arm in his first taste of the majors.  That is a huge disappointment.  Especially from a pitcher who can only be compared to the likes of Doc Gooden, who never took care of his body and in fact abused it to hell with drugs and partying but still managed to avoid Tommy John surgery his entire career.  This city named the day that Strasburg pitched “Strasmas!” for crying out loud. What a huge disappointment that in his FIRST YEAR he blew out his arm.

Sure he could recover from it and be as good or even better than what he was those first few starts he had for the Nationals.  On the other hand, he couldn’t.  Knowing DC superstar disappointment history…he probably won’t. As of right now, this whole city is disappointed that Livan Hernandez will be tossing out the first pitch on opening day instead of Strasburg.

Alexander Ovechkin

This guy was supposed to be a combination of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux with a dash of pre-concussion Eric Lindros in there.  A big guy, unafraid to mix it up, who was agile, fast and an unstoppable scorer.  He was supposed to be the best. For a little while, there might’ve been an argument that he was the best, this year however, he isn’t even close.

With 24 goals in 63 games, Sidney Crosby is STILL ahead of him even though he’s been out with a concussion for what seems like half the year.

This isn’t even the real problem with Ovechkin however.  All of this season stats could just be a massive, season-long slump. A blip on the career of an incredible player.  Its way too early to tell.  The real problem with Ovechkin is that he has never won anything, anywhere.

Great players are supposed to elevate the talent around them…or at least win a championship at some point.  That Ovechkin hasn’t been able to do that yet, despite teams full of massive talent and promise, is INCREDIBLY disappointing. Read the rest of this entry

Buck buck muthafuckas! Guess who’s back after last night? Gilbert Arenas. This time without the guns. Too bad the same can’t be said for Ajax’s Rene Kofi Osei.

Osei is picking up where Hibachi left off. The Ghanaian midfielder, on loan at Dutch second division Almere City, had his contract terminated by Ajax after he pulled a gun on a teammate and threatened to kill him.

The 18-year-old midfielder, who is on loan at second tier Dutch club Almere City, put the gun to the head of Christian Ghandu and threatened to blow his head off in a furious tirade.

Terrified team-mates quietly intervened before the sweating Ghandu was set free from the imminent danger.

The two players had been involved in verbal exchanges after a training ground row which resulted in another bust-up at the club’s car park.

Osei Kofi returned from his car with a gun and pointed it to the head of his team-mate Ghandu.

Well Osei can soon expect meetings with Roger Goodell and David Stern followed by NFL and NBA suspensions of indeterminate lengths.

All isn’t lost for Osei. He’s young. There’s still time to save his career. Newcastle would be more than happy to sign him. They’re quickly becoming the Bengals of the Premier League. He would link up with Joey Barton and Andy Carroll rather well. I mean that in a criminal, not footballing way.