While Dr. Jerry Buss will be remembered as the owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, he has a hockey legacy too.
In addition to purchasing the Lakers in 1979, Buss acquired the NHL's Los Angeles Kings and the Los Angeles Forum sports arena from Jack Kent Cooke for a total of $67.5 million. Buss, a noted sports fan, stated that his purchase of the Lakers was a business decision. His purchase of the Kings was for pleasure, via the New York Times:
As for running hockey's Kings, money-losers in sunny Southern California, he told People magazine in February 1980 that "I think you can buy one ball club for fun."
Much like his desire to acquire big name, star players for the Lakers, Buss also attempted to do the same for the Kings.
It was Dr. Buss who first approached Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington about a potential trade for league icon Wayne Gretzky. Offering $15 million for Gretzky in 1985, Pocklington declined the trade by stating that the time wasn't right for such a transaction.
Three years later, Pocklington was ready to execute the deal. While Buss no longer owned the team, his original proposal of $15 million was the starting point of negotiations between the Oilers and Kings.
On August 9, 1988, the two teams finalized the deal with Gretzky, Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski heading to Los Angeles for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, $15 million and three first-round draft selections (1989, 1991,1993).
"The Trade" as it has come to be known, occurred a year after Buss sold the Kings to Bruce McNall in 1987.
During the time Buss owned the franchise, the Kings qualified for the playoffs five times and won 30 or more games four times.