Wise, Mike 1964–

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Wise, Mike 1964–

PERSONAL: Born 1964.

ADDRESSES: Office—Washington Post, 1150 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20071.

CAREER: Writer, journalist, and sports columnist. New York Times, reporter, 1994–2004; Washington Post, sports columnist, 2004–.


(With Frank Isola) Just Ballin': The Chaotic Rise of the New York Knicks, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1999.

SIDELIGHTS: Journalist and sportswriter Mike Wise is a veteran reporter at New York Times, where he spent ten years as a writer of features and enterprise stories, and Washington Post, where he works as a sportswriter.

In Just Ballin': The Chaotic Rise of the New York Knicks, Wise and Frank Isola chronicle "the soapopera story of the team that improbably made it to the 1999 NBA finals before losing the championship to the San Antonio Spurs," stated Jon Marcus in American Journalism Review. The collaboration is unusual in that Wise and Isola are reporters from rival newspapers, Wise from New York Times and Isola from New York Daily News. Though their work was originally controversial, especially among other journalists, the pair produced "a book rich with detail and behind-the-scenes color, but no major breaking news," noted Harry Jaffee on the Washingtonian Web site. "And, considering the competitive nature of New York sports journalism, there were few bombshells left to break."

Wise and Isola examine the team's diverse mix of younger, rebellious players and stolid veterans. They cover controversial players such as Latrell Sprewell, suspended for choking coach P. J. Carlesimo, and Patrick Ewing, a big-name player with on-court liabilities. They consider coach Jeff Van Gundy's public relations skills, which may have helped improve the team's image when it was most needed. The authors also look at how public perception of the Knicks—loved in New York, reviled everywhere else—contributed to the team's underdog status.

New York Times Book Review critic Matt Polazzo called Just Ballin' "both flawed and engaging." Jaffee noted that Wise was often able to cover sports better from his position on New York Times than reporters on hometown newspapers, such a 2003 scoop on the Washington Post covering basketball superstar Michael Jordan's interest in playing for other teams and his strained relationship with the Washington Wizards. Jaffee quoted columnist Mike Wilbon as saying that Wise is "the best basketball writer in the country."



American Journalism Review, March, 2000, Jon Marcus, review of Just Ballin': The Chaotic Rise of the New York Knicks, p. 15.

New York Times Book Review, December 19, 1999, Matt Polazzo, review of Just Ballin', p. 23.


Washingtonian Online, http://www.washingtonian.com/ (May 9, 2003), Harry Jaffee, "How the Post Got Slam-Dunked on the Jordan Story."