"Los Angeles is about diversity, and so are the Lakers," he says.
"My name is on my children, that's enough for me," he says.
He's a guy who wants people to understand that he knows exactly who he is.
"I'm the luckiest guy I ever met," he says. "I have the best job in the world. I'm very, very fortunate. I'm just happy running the Lakers."
Buss drops his fork into his takeout pasta and smiles and remembers.
"Right after I bought the team, I used to go into this little lounge in Santa Monica. The owner was also musical director for MGM, and they used to perform musicals there late at night, it was just fantastic," he says. "Just before they would start, everyone would start shouting, 'Showtime! Showtime!' I remember thinking, this is how I wanted people to feel about their team."
Their team. Our team.
For 29 years, the best owner in professional sports history hasn't really owned, he has shared, turning a team into a fabric, a city into a neighborhood, conflicting hopes into a singular dream, everyone huddled against the oncoming light shouting, "Showtime! Showtime!"
Bill Plaschke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read previous columns by Plaschke, go to latimes.com/plaschke
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