I Hate Christian Laettner – ESPN 30 for 30


I Hate Christian Laettner
I Hate Christian Laettner – ESPN 30 for 30

Well, I dont really hate him.  It just happens to be the title of an ESPN special that I was fortunate enough to catch on Netflix.  I remember Christian Laettner as the 3rd overall draft pick in the 1992 NBA draft.  I was young and did not watch college basketball when he was drafted.  I only knew him as the guy with the mushroom haircut sitting on the bridge above.

Christian Laettner was well known for being the best player in Duke history.  He holds many records and shined as a superstar when needed.  Laettner led Duke to two titles.

Growing up Christian Laettner was tall and excelled in basketball.  He was also very tough.  This special shows a high school basketball game in which Christian Laettner started a brawl.  Moving on to college his attitude wasn’t much different.  The documentary shows him constantly harassing Bobby Hurley, a fellow Duke teammate.  It doesn’t help that Duke is one of the most hated college basketball teams.

In one college playoff game Christian Laettner was perfect from the line and perfect from the field.  He also hit the game winning shot with seconds left to play.  This was after a perfect cross court pass from Grant Hill.  The fans of the other teams were outraged.  Earlier in that game Laettner stomped on Imanu Timberlake’s chest.  The fans believed Christian Laettner should have been thrown out of that game.

Rumors began to fly that Christian Laettner was gay after he gave an interview in college.  People were questioning his relationship with Brian Davis.  The article showed Christian Laettner sitting close to Brian Davis while holding a cute little kitten.  In basketball games that followed the opposing fans would throw gay slurs at Laettner.

Jalen Rose was commentating in this documentary.  He confirmed his hatred towards Christian Laettner as well.  Rose was part of the Fab 5 from Michigan.  This team included Chris Weber.  Michigan played Duke in Laettner’s last NCAA finals in 1992.  With everything going on outside of basketball, Christian Laettner had an awful first half.  Duke kept the score close because they were a great team.  Bobby Hurley started antagonizing Laettner.  In the 2nd half Christian Laettner came out with a vengeance.  Duke destroyed Michigan to win their 2nd title with Christian Laettner.

Christian Laettner was the only individual in the 1992 NBA draft invited to play with the Dream Team.  The greatest team ever assembled.  They represented the United States basketball team in the 1992 Olympics.  Unfortunately, his NBA career didn’t amount to much.  He didn’t adjust to the NBA as well as he played in college.  Also, the coaches couldn’t adjust to him as well as Mike Krzyzewski.  

As all the other ESPN 30 for 30s a great documentary.  Watch it on Netflix or try to catch it on ESPN.

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.