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Revenge of the WORDS
Stephanie Mansfield
August 05, 2002
The yak attacks of Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon on ESPN's 'Pardon the Interruption' prove that friends make the best arguments
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August 05, 2002

Revenge Of The Words

The yak attacks of Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon on ESPN's 'Pardon the Interruption' prove that friends make the best arguments

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Ding!

Kornheiser: "There is no sportswriter in America who would be shocked if any, any athlete died from something drug-related."

Ding! Ding!

Topic No. 6: Those Who Can, Play; Those Who Can't, Shvitz in the Press Box

Kornheiser: "What do I think of athletes? They've devoted a great measure of their young lives to the physical nature of their being, and they are fabulous at their craft. Do I find them interesting people to talk to? No. I don't put them on the radio, by and large, because we really don't have that much to talk about. They have programmed answers to programmed questions...."

Wilbon (interrupting): "I don't believe what he believes. I think the people who are good at it are far smarter than the general populace wants to admit.... I don't believe dumb athletes can be great."

Ding!

Wilbon: "I would defy you to find someone over the last 25 years who's been great in athletics and been stupid. It doesn't happen. There's too much to process. Mike Tyson? I would argue he was never great."

"I would argue he wasn't stupid," interjects Kornheiser.

The PTI adversaries readily concede that they're failed athletes. Wilbon, his fingernails bitten to the quick, grew up on the South Side of Chicago and played high school baseball and tennis before attending Northwestern. Kornheiser is from Long Island, went to Harper College (now Binghamton University) and had no athletic success that he'll admit to. "I tried to play everything," he says, "with the exception of ice hockey. I was bad at everything. I became a sportswriter because I was a failed athlete. If I were a great athlete, sportswriters would be writing about me."

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