Added West, "Here was a man who not only changed basketball, he changed all sports. He changed them all. He has left a shadow over the entire sports world."
Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said a great man like Buss is not measured by the towers or monuments they build but rather "the tender memories that he's left in those who remain after his life. The fact that so many of us have come together to celebrate those tender memories of Jerry Buss is a testament to his greatness.
"His passion for life made Jerry a modern renaissance man. He was a beloved college professor, a courageous entrenprenuer and a generous philanthropist. No matter what he did, he was a success. Perhaps his greatest quality was his wilingness to share his success with everyone else."
Adbul-Jabbar added that when he thinks of Buss, he pictures him at a poker table.
"I think of him sitting there with the world's best poker players staring him down ... and pushing all of his chips into the middle, and declaring with a twinkle in his eyes, 'all in.' That's the way Jerry lived his life, all in, all the time."
Shaquille O'Neal, another of the Lakers' great centers, called Buss a visionary.
"He saw the future before any of us did and the future he saw brought people together," O'Neal said. "He brought people together to root for a team, a team that rallied around the city and redefined the merger of sports and entertainment."
O'Neal talked about meeting Buss and West, and being told that with a young Kobe Bryant a championship could be won.
"The first four years were very, very rocky, but one thing I admired about Dr. Buss is that he never got upset," O'Neal said. "After every loss ... he called me on the phone and said, 'It's OK big fella. Don't worry about it.'
"When we finally got the right combination and knocked off three [championships] in a row, he came to me and said, 'I told you. I told you we could do it. I told you.'
"Dr. Buss, I know you will be watching the Lakers from the ultimate sky box. We will miss you very much. We thank you for all you have done. We love you, sir. Say hello to Walt Hazzard and all the other legends. Say hello to John Wooden. Thanks again, sir."
Pat Riley began his speech to Jerry Buss with a few simple words.
"Hello everybody, I feel like I'm back home," he said.
Riley played for the Lakers from 1970-75 and coached the team from 1981-1990, before coaching in New York and Miami.
Before Riley left for New York, he recalls Buss giving him a pep talk that really resonated with him.
"It's been 20 years and for the last 20 years I really wanted to say these words to Dr. Buss," he said. "One of the last times I had an opportunity, both Chris [Riley] and I, to spend time with him was just prior to my going to New York. I was 20 years in Los Angeles and I was afraid to leave the nest. And I'll never forget, I called him, wanted to say goodbye, and we had dinner up by Sunset Blvd. somewhere, just Jerry and Chris and I."
"We were talking about my time here, nine years, and all he did was talk about how great it was to have me coach this team. Never talked about the losses. [He] talked about the growth that I had as a young coach, talked a lot about Chris and young James, and when I said I was afraid to leave and go to New York, he said to me: 'You've got to be kidding me. They're gonna be paying you 8 1/2 mllion dollars, Riley.' He says, 'You've made it.' He says, 'You get out of town and go to New York and you do the best job that you can do.'"
Riley went on to become a three-time NBA coach of the year, in 1990, 1993 and 1997.
"What hits home is when things change," Riley said. "When the dream fades, life hits back, losses mount, the sky casts its dark shadow. That's not what's happening today. We may feel it. Today is an example of a lot more than darkness, but realizing this truth does not have to sadden us. To the contrary, it can give us greater appreciation for the many wonderful experiences we lived through together with Jerry Buss and the Lakers."
NBA Commissioner David Stern was one of the first speakers at the memorial service.
He said he first met Buss in 1979 while analyzing and approving Buss' purchase of the Lakers.
Stern said there were numerous questions by other NBA team owners in an era where big-city teams didn't change hands often.
"We thought that the waiting and inquisition bordered on impoliteness," Stern said. "But I was struck then by Jerry's most gracious demeanor, his patient responses, and his instant understanding with the wink of the eye that he understood we were just doing our job as gently as possible. And thus began Jerry Buss's Hall of Fame NBA career and our 34-year friendship."
Stern went on to say that Buss was a "transformational force in the history of sports," referring to him as a pioneer of naming rights for arenas and regional TV networks.
There was also Buss's desire to always acquire top talent, most notably "paying some young kid named Johnson a million dollars a year."
Stern ended with, "Rest in peace, my friend."
Reporters Mike Bresnahan and Melissa Rohlin as well as correspondant Eric Pincus contributed to this report.