Did Wilbon Steal Sporting News Blogger’s Idea?

We want to preface this post by saying we really like Mike Wilbon on PTI, and enjoy his work in the WASHINGTON POST. But Chris Mottram of the SPORTING NEWS’ SPORTING BLOG has a curious comparison between something suggested by SPORTING BLOG writer Bethlehem Shoals regarding the NBA all-star game, and a subsequent, very similar idea about the game put forth by Wilbon.

Michael Wilbon

Before laying out what happened, Mottram writes: “It’s a well-known fact that columnists, sports radio DJ’s and the main-stream media in general are prone to stealing content from bloggers and never giving credit. It’s total B.S., sure, but bloggers don’t get too up in arms because we know that in five years these people will all be completely irrelevant (assuming they aren’t already). So we let it slide, for the most part. (Plus, there’s nothing we can really do about it.)

Tuesday, Shoals suggested in a piece in the Sporting News’ SPORTING BLOG that the NBA should consider allowing players to “pick teams” for the game: “Now, with the game itself right on the horizon, I’ve got a radical suggestion for Sunday’s big dance: pick teams. … If I’m right, and it’s player combinations — not conference honor — that makes the All-Star game special, why not let players pick teams, playground-style? The two biggest vote getters would be the captains, and they’d put together a team they know would wow us. It could also give us some insight into who gets along and who doesn’t, who players think is the best point guard, and so on. … Tell me you wouldn’t pay to see the look on Dwight Howard’s face — and on the face of the nation — when Allen Iverson takes Howard with his first pick.”

Today, Wilbon wrote this in the Washington Post: “The fans would vote for a total of 30 all-stars, and the two biggest vote-getters would pick their own teams. Garnett, the No. 1 vote-getter, would get the first pick. James, the No. 2 vote-getter, would get the second pick … And back and forth they’d go, like on the playground. So if KG picked a guy to get him the ball, say Nash, Kobe might pick a big man, say Howard. Think about the buzz that would create, about the alliance and what we’d find out about what players really think about the other all-stars and who they really valued?

And these two pieces were published less than a day apart. Stunning coincidence, eh?