But in the last year, he has stood tearfully amid thousands of Kings fans celebrating the appearance of the Stanley Cup at Staples Center. He has bowed low to the fan groups celebrating the Galaxy win at the Home Depot Center. In a sports world where the bottom line is as plain as the lights on a scoreboard, he has finally delivered, and is finally being embraced for it.
Embraced, at least, by those who can catch him, which is no easy task considering he basically runs everywhere, including taking swift walks along the Staples Center concourse during stressful moments in games.
"Whenever things get bad, I'm like, c'mon, Dad, go take a lap," Francesca said.
Conducting a lengthy interview with Leiweke is like taking one of those laps. One minute he's admitting that he cries during movies, including recently tearing up while watching "Lincoln."
"I was emotionally moved by the magnificence of the man," he said.
The next minute he acknowledges the reason he refused his daughter's request to name one of their dogs "Ziggy" after former Kings star Ziggy Palffy.
"I didn't want to do it because eventually the players get traded, and wouldn't that be emotional for the dog?" he said, smiling, and you wonder if it wouldn't be too emotional for him.
Then, in the middle of the interview, his daughter appeared at his office door. Francesca works down the hall, as a vice president of special projects that include the NFL. While at Stanford, she wrote an essay about the NFL returning to Los Angeles, but that's not why he hired her. She was hired only after she worked in the Staples Center maintenance department cleaning up elephant dung during the circus.
"There's definitely a sense of family and tradition with him," she said with a grin.
Moments later, she was gone, back to work, her father soon following her out the door into a night full of obligations, not even noticing the shiny L.A. Live skating rink and Christmas tree outside his office window, just below those closed blinds.
"Hard work is what my mom taught me," he said. "I've been doing the dog paddle since I was 12."
I don't know about the stroke, but the splash is enormous.