Some updates below
Winning the Stanley Cup is a life-altering moment for the Los Angeles Kings players and team officials. The impact on their careers and futures goes way beyond the rings they will get to wear. But the most historic images of the whole thing might be any video and still photos that captured the elusive billionaire Phil Anschutz in the public glare for the first time in decades. As the celebration played out Monday night on the Staples Center ice, a short, nicely dressed man came into view at the side of the NBC picture. Phil Anschutz! (I even used an exclamation mark in my real-time tweets, and I never do that.) He looked truly giddy posing with his players and accepting the Stanley Cup from captain Dustin Brown in front of 18,000 screaming (paid) customers and a TV audience of millions.
And he should enjoy it. First, of course, all these playoff games probably made the Kings a ton of money. Anschutz also has taken a lot of crap from the Kings fan base through the years. He should relish the moment any way he wants. Anschutz lives near Denver and manages to keep a low media profile without seeming weird about it. As his people say, he's not a recluse. The players know him. Some LA civic leaders talk to him. Some reporters, apparently. He just doesn't want to be interviewed, or until Monday night, photographed. I kind of admire the way he has done that.
So here's the thing. I suspect most Kings fans didn't know Anschutz was the guy on the ice. Certainly most Angelenos whose lives are affected by Anschutz's activities in local business, politics and media, have no idea what one of the most powerful figures in Los Angeles looks like. Until Monday night, there were only a handful of recent photos known to exist of Phil Anschutz. Now, if fans who were at Staples Center will just check their cellphones and cameras, and post the evidence, there will be many. Video would be even more excellent. People should know what the probable builder of LA's NFL stadium, and possible owner of LA's football team, looks like. He owns a movie studio and news outlets, for heaven's sake. He could own more. He's the most powerful figure in Los Angeles you don't know. He's done more to bring back Downtown than Tom Gilmore or, arguably, the CRA.
The Kings, who I don't believe include any pictures of the owner in their media materials, posted on the team website at least two Getty Images photos of Anschutz celebrating. Both pictures are by Bruce Bennett; here are cropped screen grabs of the Kings' website pages, above and below:
Post more, people.
Kudos, by the way, to whichever LA Times editor wrote the banner headline on Tuesday's Stanley Cup section. "Majestic!," it read simply. Heh. Anschutz' former partner in the Kings and Staples Center, Ed Roski — now Anschutz's chief rival for the nod from the NFL to go ahead and construct a new stadium — is the head of Majestic Realty. He has never won a Stanley Cup. * Noted: A Majestic source says that Roski definitely remains a partner with Anschutz in the Kings and Staples Center.
Further noted: There have been some other pics of Anschutz in front of celebratory crowds. When his LA Galaxy won the MLS Cup last year, he was there when the, um, Philip Anschutz Trophy was presented to the team. Photo | Another