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Michael Wilbon

Michael Wilbon
File:Michael Wilbon 2011.jpg
Wilbon in 2011.
Born (1958-11-19) November 19, 1958 (age 61)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Education Northwestern University
Occupation Sports columnist
Television host
Years active 1979–present
Spouse(s) Sheryl Wilbon (m.1997)
Children Matthew Ray Wilbon

Michael Ray Wilbon[1] (/ˈwɪlbɒn/; born November 19, 1958) is an ESPN commentator and former sportswriter and columnist for the Washington Post. He is an analyst for ESPN and has co-hosted Pardon the Interruption on ESPN with former Post writer Tony Kornheiser since 2001.


Wilbon began working for the Washington Post in 1980 after summer internships at the newspaper in 1979 and 1980.[2] He covered college sports, Major League Baseball, the National Football League and the National Basketball Association before being promoted to full-time columnist in February 1990.[2] His column in the Post, which dealt as much with the culture of sports as the action on the court or field, appeared up to four times a week until he left to work full-time for ESPN on December 7, 2010.[3]

In his career, Wilbon has covered ten Summer and Winter Olympic Games for The Washington Post, every Super Bowl since 1987, nearly every Final Four since 1982 and each year's NBA Finals since 1987. Notably, he was also the only reporter based outside of Hawaii to cover the historic basketball upset of top-ranked Virginia by then-NAIA member Chaminade in 1982 (he was in Honolulu to cover a college football bowl game).[4]

After contributing to ESPN's The Sports Reporters and other shows on the cable network, he began co-hosting ESPN's daily opinion forum Pardon the Interruption (PTI) with Tony Kornheiser on October 22, 2001. He was also a member of ABC's NBA Countdown (which he hosted with Jalen Rose, Bill Simmons and Magic Johnson) which was the pre-game show for the network's NBA telecasts.

In addition to his work at The Washington Post, PTI and ESPN, Wilbon appeared weekly on WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. with WRC Sports Director George Michael, and Pro Football Hall of Famers John Riggins and Sonny Jurgensen on Redskins Report during the football season. He also appeared with Michael, USA Today basketball writer David Dupree and Tony Kornheiser on Full Court Press during the basketball season. Both of these shows were canceled in December 2008 due to budget cuts.[5] In 2001 Wilbon was named the top sports columnist by the Society of Professional Journalists.[6] Wilbon also forged a close friendship with former Marshall and former NFL quarterback Byron Leftwich while the young passer was a standout player for HD Woodson in Washington, D.C. In recent years, he has become more known as an ESPN personality, delivering commentary, often antagonistic. In June of 2014, as an example, he referred to the US Men's Soccer Team coach, Jürgen Klinsmann, as "gutless" and suggested that he "leave America". In late 2006, Wilbon agreed to a multi-year contract extension with ESPN. The network gained priority therein with regards to conflicts with his newspaper assignments.[7][8] The first major example of this happened on February 4, 2007, when Wilbon covered a Detroit PistonsCleveland Cavaliers game instead of Super Bowl XLI.

On December 7, 2010, he wrote his last column for the Washington Post and officially dedicated full-time to work for ESPN and ABC.[3]

Personal life

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Wilbon graduated from St. Ignatius College Preparatory School in 1976 and received his journalism degree in 1980 from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Wilbon currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland, but he also has a home in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Wilbon is good friends with former NBA star Charles Barkley and has edited and written the introduction for his most recent books, I May Be Wrong But I Doubt It and Who's Afraid of a Large Black Man?, both of which were New York Times best sellers.

Wilbon has a cousin, Travon Bellamy, who played for the University of Illinois football team.[9]

Wilbon suffered a heart attack on January 27, 2008.[10] After complaining of chest pains, he was taken to a Scottsdale hospital where doctors performed an angioplasty.[11][12]

Wilbon is a known type-2 diabetic.[13]

Wilbon and his wife Sheryl Wilbon had their first child, Matthew Raymond Wilbon, via surrogate on March 26, 2008.[14][15] Matthew is often referred to as "Lilbon" by the aforementioned Tony Kornheiser on his radio show.

On August 10, 2008, during a Cubs–Cardinals game at Wrigley Field, Wilbon threw out the ceremonial first pitch and then sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" as part of the seventh-inning stretch. Footage of Wilbon wearing a tucked-in Cubs jersey and bouncing the pitch is frequently shown on Pardon The Interruption as a friendly teasing by Kornheiser.[16]

In May 2009, Wilbon competed in a made-for-TV "King of Bowling" show against pro bowling star Wes Malott. Wilbon beat Malott by a score of 256–248, but Wilbon received a 57-pin handicap and Malott had to use a plastic ball.

Wilbon has served as a trustee of Northwestern University.

White House visit

On July 12, 2013, Wilbon, Kornheiser and Tony Reali (PTI statistician and de facto co-host) were guests at the White House. After lunch the trio met in the Oval Office with President Barack Obama.

Tony Kornheiser, Michael Wilbon and Tony Reali meeting President Barack Obama.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Pardon the Interruption with Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon". Retrieved October 16, 2007. 
  3. ^ a b Wilbon, Michael (December 7, 2010). "For Michael Wilbon, a fond farewell to The Post". Washington Post. 
  4. ^ Bolch, Ben (November 19, 2011). "Improbable basketball victory by small college in Hawaii still resonates". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 17, 2013. 
  5. ^ Shapiro, Leonard (December 29, 2008). "Leonard Shapiro: Loss of Michael Is a Truly Deep Cut". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Pardon the Interruption!: A Talk with Michael Wilbon" (– SCHOLAR SEARCHARCHIVEURL=HTTP://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20060901094713/HTTP://WWW.ALUMNI.NORTHWESTERN.EDU/CWOC/CWOC_01_06.HTML). Retrieved October 16, 2007. [dead link]
  7. ^ Michael McCarthy (December 27, 2006). "Wilbon now more of an ESPN guy". USA Today. 
  8. ^ Harry Jaffe (January 25, 2007). "Will Wilbon's $8-Million TV deal make him a stranger at the Post?". Washingtonian. 
  9. ^ As mentioned on PTI, Feb. 7, 2007. This was during a discussion of questionable recruiting by head coach Ron Zook.
  10. ^ Brinson, Will (January 29, 2008). "Wilbon Reportedly Suffers Heart Attack". AOL Sports. Retrieved January 29, 2008. 
  11. ^ Sports Media Watch: ESPN's Wilbon has heart attack
  12. ^ Wilbon, Michael (February 1, 2008). "A life-changing turn of events". The Washington Post. 
  13. ^ "Michael Wilbon- Hoyas star Austin Freeman is far from alone in living with diabetes- Washington Post". The Washington Post. March 5, 2010. 
  14. ^ As mentioned on PTI, Mar. 26, 2008. This was during the PTI Rundown as announced by Tony Kornheiser.
  15. ^ Mitchell, Fred (March 26, 2008). "Word on the Street". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 29, 2008. 
  16. ^ Sullivan, Paul (August 11, 2008). "EXTRA INNINGS". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 11, 2008. 

External links

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