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ESPN 30 for 30: "Big Shot"


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#1 devilsrule33

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 10:49 PM

Anyone catch this yet? I live in Canada, so it won't air for a bit, but sounds like a fascinating story. Was a little too young to follow the business of sports when it was happening, so I am kind of learning about this for the first time recently. Heard it was worth it just to see Spano and Milbury go at each other. 

 

 

“Big Shot” tells of Spano, a small-time Dallas businessman who in 1996 bluffed his way into ownership of the strugglingNew York Islanders franchise. A hockey fan who believed, essentially, that it was his God-given right to own a team, Spano had made an ill-fated attempt to buy the Dallas Starsthe year before. When he learned the Islanders were up for sale, he began wooing the team’s owner and the NHL.

Soon Spano, just 32, had reached an agreement in principal to pay $165 million for the Nassau Coliseum team despite — wait for it — possessing little means to do so. Eager for the cash, the club and league didn’t really bother to check.

As Spano took over as owner — strutting through team events, making executive moves, luxuriating in media attention — he somehow evaded scrutiny. The months wore on and the questions mounted, but not very fast, and even when Spano was engaging in bald-faced deceptions (“erroneously” wiring a check for $5,000 instead of $5 million), he somehow managed to keep the charade going. ("He hung out with rich people so we thought he was rich,” is a common refrain among many he duped). It’s a story so outrageous you’d roll your eyes at the implausibility if you saw it in a scripted film.

Connolly, a longtime Islanders fan, recounts the wild story, even landing a rare interview with Spano, who comes off as equal parts sheepish and slimy reflecting on his bid for sports-savior status.

 

http://www.latimes.c...y#axzz2iacWNwhL

 

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=wNMa9k38vMg


Edited by devilsrule33, 24 October 2013 - 09:05 AM.

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#2 thefiestygoat

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:27 PM

I'm hoping to DVR this when they re-run it again. Didn't want to interrupt my normal schedule but this looks pretty interesting. I wasn't aware of this until I saw the trailer last week.


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#3 MadDog2020

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:38 PM

I have it on the DVR, gonna watch it this weekend.


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#4 CarpathianForest

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:50 PM

They're not re-running this at all according to my research


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#5 hystyk28

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 02:45 AM

It was great, I hope you guys get a chance to see it.

Spoiler Alert: Millbury is a douche.

Edited by hystyk28, 24 October 2013 - 02:46 AM.

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#6 NJDevs4978

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 06:33 AM

I saw it, I knew he was a con man trying to buy the team but didn't really know the details either...it was fascinating, to put it one way.  I had no idea Spano was so far along owning the team, to the point where he had the title, did run it for a few months and negotiated a major cable deal :lol:  Or that he actually was reasonably close to getting away with it.

 

The funny thing is the NHL had so much egg on its face (they assumed the Isles did the due dilligence and the Isles likewise) and yet a lot of other people were duped too.  Like Fleet bank giving him an $80 million loan :blink:  It was kind of comical when he had been trying to buy the Stars and he couldn't even pick up a lunch tab for the guy he was negotiating with to buy the team.

 

And yeah Milbury didn't pull any punches but unlike his normal schtick it's not like he didn't have a reason to go off on this guy.  If anything the documentary almost paints too sympathetic a portrait of Spano, especially considering he committed fraud and wound up in jail AGAIN years later.  They did a good job actually getting interviews with Spano and Bettman on camera though, I'm sure neither were particularly anxious to talk about events.


Edited by NJDevs4978, 24 October 2013 - 06:36 AM.

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#7 hystyk28

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 03:21 PM

I saw it, I knew he was a con man trying to buy the team but didn't really know the details either...it was fascinating, to put it one way.  I had no idea Spano was so far along owning the team, to the point where he had the title, did run it for a few months and negotiated a major cable deal :lol:  Or that he actually was reasonably close to getting away with it.

 

The funny thing is the NHL had so much egg on its face (they assumed the Isles did the due dilligence and the Isles likewise) and yet a lot of other people were duped too.  Like Fleet bank giving him an $80 million loan :blink:  It was kind of comical when he had been trying to buy the Stars and he couldn't even pick up a lunch tab for the guy he was negotiating with to buy the team.

 

And yeah Milbury didn't pull any punches but unlike his normal schtick it's not like he didn't have a reason to go off on this guy.  If anything the documentary almost paints too sympathetic a portrait of Spano, especially considering he committed fraud and wound up in jail AGAIN years later.  They did a good job actually getting interviews with Spano and Bettman on camera though, I'm sure neither were particularly anxious to talk about events.

I think Kevin pulled the same punches with the NHL as Spano in regards to having a chance to air you side of the story before air.  Although the NHL didn't have much to say, you can bet there were thousands of dollars in legal fees spent to make sure that no one said anything too damning.  I don't believe for a second that there wasn't more "conspiracy" going on by either very wealthy people, the former owner, or the league.  Great "story" though and I am sure there is a good amount of truth in there, I just bet there is a hell of a lot more to know.


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#8 GoArmySports

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 02:47 PM

If anyone is interested I found the full episode on YouTube.

 


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#9 sundstrom

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 03:09 PM

this really was incredible. he was days away from getting away with owning this team with essentially zero dollars invested and 100% other people's money flowing from peter to pay paul.

 

the $17,000 wire transfer instead of $17,000,000 is my favorite story ever.


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#10 MadDog2020

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 03:11 PM

this really was incredible. he was days away from getting away with owning this team with essentially zero dollars invested and 100% other people's money flowing from peter to pay paul.

the $17,000 wire transfer instead of $17,000,000 is my favorite story ever.

Actually the wire transfer was for $1,700. That makes it even more amazing lmao.


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#11 sundstrom

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 03:27 PM

Actually the wire transfer was for $1,700. That makes it even more amazing lmao.

 

i thought it was $17k for $17MM and $5k instead of $50k one. there were two instances where he pulled that stunt.


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"This team was never the same once we lost Patrik Sundstrom"- Lou Lamoriello


20082719943.png
_________________________________________________________________
“They’re the ones that makes it happen,” Lemaire said. “It’s not us. It’s not me. It’s not the other guy. It’s not the guy before. It’s not the guy after. It’s them. And they have to take care of business.”
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"I guess I just miss my friend" (#28)


#12 MadDog2020

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 03:35 PM

i thought it was $17k for $17MM and $5k instead of $50k one. there were two instances where he pulled that stunt.

Yeah I know he pulled two like that, but pretty sure the one for $17 mil was actually for $1,700 because I remember my jaw almost hitting the floor when the guy who worked for the Islanders said it lol.


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