Feb 27, 2023 - Sports

How I wake up: Michael Wilbon

Photo illustration collage of Michael Wilbon inside a red alarm clock.

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Michael Wilbon lives the anti-routine. Driven by the rhythms of league calendars, the longtime sportswriter and co-host of ESPN’s "Pardon the Interruption" might be in three different cities in a week — always prepping and dishing takes.

  • We caught up with the former Washington Post columnist about his active mornings.

Wake-up time: 4:45am, on days he takes the first flight out to game day destinations, or 9am if he was up watching games until 2am.

  • “I have less routine than anyone you’re going to talk to,” he says, thanks to work taking him across the country, from his Bethesda home to an apartment in Chicago, a home in Scottsdale, Arizona, or NBA game days in New York, with the occasional continental redeye.

🛏 First thing he does: Turn on the TV, from CNN to ESPN.

  • Watching sports starts his workday prep. “I’m not looking at the Cowboys – Tampa Bay rehash the same way” as other viewers, he says. “People say, ‘what’s prep?’ Well, everything’s prep.”

🥣 Breakfast: Rice Krispie cereal — with the “old fashioned habit of reading — not on a screen — but the actual goddamn newspaper.” He gets USA Today and Washington Post delivered.

  • No coffee.
  • No green juice. “You could not give me money to put some green juice through my throat.”

✈️ Airport take: Washingtonians all have strong feelings about our airports, but Wilbon has pinned down Dulles as the fastest airport to reach at 5am.

  • He can’t stand “people in this area, with their bridge phobias,” the “‘I live in Maryland; I can’t go to Virginia,’ bulls--t — or vice versa.”

☀️ Keeping it real: “My days are never measured by morning,” Wilbon says. “If you’ve really been a sportswriter your whole life, which is what I still consider myself, mornings don’t count. They’re just in the way.”


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