Michael Wilbon

Michael Wilbon
Michael Wilbon

Wilbon in 2011.
Born November 19, 1958 (1958-11-19) (age 52)
Chicago, Illinois
Education Northwestern University
Occupation Sports columnist
Television host
Years active 1979–present
Spouse Sheryl Wilbon
Children Matthew Ray Wilbon

Michael Ray[1] Wilbon (pronounced /ˈwɪlbɒn/; November 19, 1958) is a former sportswriter and columnist for the Washington Post and current ESPN commentator. He serves as an analyst for ESPN and co-hosts Pardon the Interruption on ESPN with former Post writer Tony Kornheiser, and has been doing so 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.

After contributing to ESPN's The Sports Reporters and other shows on the cable network, he began co-hosting ESPN's daily Pardon the Interruption (PTI) with Tony Kornheiser on October 22, 2001. He is also a member of ABC's NBA Countdown (with host Stuart Scott and analyst Jon Barry) which is 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.[4] In 2001 Wilbon was named the top sports columnist by the Society of Professional Journalists.[5] Wilbon also forged a close friendship with former Marshall and current 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, and in late 2006, agreed to a multi-year contract extension with ESPN that will give the network priority in conflicts with his newspaper assignments.[6][7] The first major example of this happened on February 4, 2007, when Wilbon covered a Detroit Pistons-Cleveland 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]


Wilbon before an IowaNorthwestern basketball game, 2010.

Born in the south side of 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 was a pitcher in high school and once threw a one hitter.[8]

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 mild 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.


  1. ^ http://www.facebook.com/mrwilbon
  2. ^ a b "Pardon the Interruption with Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon". ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/print?id=1365321&type=page2Story. Retrieved 2007-10-16 
  3. ^ a b Wilbon, Michael (December 7, 2010). "For Michael Wilbon, a fond farewell to The Post". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/06/AR2010120606607_pf.html. 
  4. ^ Shapiro, Leonard (December 29, 2008). "Leonard Shapiro: Loss of Michael Is a Truly Deep Cut". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/29/AR2008122901353_pf.html. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  5. ^ "Pardon the Interruption!: A Talk with Michael Wilbon" (– Scholar search). Archived from the original on September 1, 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20060901094713/http://www.alumni.northwestern.edu/cwoc/cwoc_01_06.html. Retrieved 2007-10-16 [dead link]
  6. ^ Michael McCarthy (2006-12-27). "Wilbon now more of an ESPN guy". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/2006-12-27-wilbon_x.htm. 
  7. ^ Harry Jaffe (2007-01-25). "Will Wilbon's $8-Million TV deal make him a stranger at the Post?". Washingtonian. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/2006-12-27-wilbon_x.htm. 
  8. ^ As mentioned on PTI, Apr. 21, 2009. This was during the PTI second Headline segment.
  9. ^ As mentioned on PTI, Feb. 7, 2007. This was during a discussion of questionable recruiting by head coach Ron Zook.
  10. ^ Brinson, Will (2008-01-29). Wilbon Reportedly Suffers Heart Attack. AOL Sports. http://sports.aol.com/fanhouse/2008/01/29/michael-wilbon-reportedly-suffers-heart-attack/. Retrieved 2008-01-29 
  11. ^ Sports Media Watch: ESPN's Wilbon has heart attack
  12. ^ Wilbon, Michael (2008-02-01). "A life-changing turn of events". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/31/AR2008013103759.html. 
  13. ^ "Michael Wilbon- Hoyas star Austin Freeman is far from alone in living with diabetes- Washington Post". The Washington Post. March 5, 2010. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/04/AR2010030404828.html. 
  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. http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/college/cs-080326-mitchell-davidson-ncaa-wennington-bulls,1,1397024.column. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  16. ^ Sullivan, Paul (August 11, 2008). "EXTRA INNINGS". Chicago Tribune. http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/cs-080810-koskue-fukudome-chicago-cubs,1,1861608.story. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 

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