Big Shot (John Spano): ESPN 30 for 30 Netflix Streaming

John Spano
John Spano

First let met start by saying that Netflix Streaming seems to change what they show constantly.  This article is written on January 20, 2015.  At this time Big Shot is still available on Netflix Streaming.  For update on what is still available for viewing on Netflix Streaming checkout instantwatcher

30 for 30 is a great series of documentaries released by ESPN.  It is well known and Netflix has recently been streaming episodes.  I first found out about this documentary because it was on the top 50 popular list on instantwatcher.

In 1996 the New York Islanders was a suffering National Hockey League franchise.  The team had a poor record, it was being mismanaged, and Nassau Coliseum was falling apart.  One of the piss poor decisions to try to revive the Islanders was to bring in new uniforms.  This created quite an uproar from the fans.

In 1996, a Dallas businessman had decided to rescue the Islanders by purchasing the team for $165 million.  He had made his money from Texas oil or at least that’s why he got the NHL to believe.

In this documentary the Islanders are excited to have someone buy the team.  John Spano had made the fans believe that he had come to the Islanders to turn the team around.  He was being honored at the start of games.  Also, the infamous Garden City hotel had taken good care of him.  He had his own private area at the hotel bar and he brought women with him (didn’t help him much with his marriage).  He had incurred many expenses on the Islanders dime.  He seemed to be on top of the world, except for his poor relationship with Islander manager Mike Milbury.  Mike is known to not hold anything back and give his real opinion about things.  In a recent example he rips Phil Kessel.  When Mike was a player he got into a Brawl that went into the stands against the New York Rangers.  He was a great addition to this documentary because he just rips into John Spano.  In comparing the two individuals it seemed like Milbury was the lesser of two evils.

By falsifying documents Spano was able to get about half the sticker price of the Islanders from a bank in Boston.  When time came to pay up, Spano would start playing games.  When he was asked for a percentage of the amount owed, he would get a certified check for a much smaller amount than what was asked.  He would then make it seem like the bank issuing the certified check had made a huge mistake.  Shortly after that he was charged with forgery and bank fraud.    He fled to the Cayman Islands, but since he enjoyed going to a particular place in the Cayman Islands a Newsday reporter was able to reach him.  In 2000, he was sentenced to about 6 years in prison and was ordered to pay over $10 million in restitution.

Currently, John Spano has been arrested multiple times after getting out of prison.  His latest arrest was as recent as the end of 2014, this time he conned people while working as a medical supplies salesman.  The Islander, on the other hand, are having a very functional season at the time of this writing.  They are the Metropolitan division leaders in points and have one of the highest points totals in the league.