UPDATE 4:53 p.m. A private memorial service for Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss was held at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live on Thursday afternoon, with many of the team's greatest names among the speakers.
Magic Johnson was the final speaker. He said he knew Buss truly cared about him "beyond no-look passes" after Buss made sure Magic had the best care when he contracted HIV.
Johnson concluded by saying, "Please, Buss family, do not ever sell the Lakers — and win more championships."
Johnson said that Buss took him to go see horse racing, hockey and tennis. “I fell in love with tennis," Johnson said.
Following Johnson's remarks, the service closed with a playing of "My Way" by Frank Sinatra.
UPDATE 4:40 p.m. Lakers legends NBA brass, family and friends gathered Thursday at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles to remember Lakers owner Jerry Buss at a private memorial service. He died Monday morning from kidney failure after a long battle with cancer.
Speakers include Lakers greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson, as well as current greats Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant.
Kobe Bryant said that, when he started with the Lakers as a teenager, Buss told him, "I want you to be Laker for life."
Bryant spoke on a giant stage adorned with flowers and the Lakers' 10 championship trophies.
"For our current Lakers, we’re going through an up and down season," Bryant said. "I encourage you to look around the room at greatness of one man’s vision”
"Dr. Buss was a modern renaissance man," said Abdul-Jabbar.
Former Lakers player and general manager Jerry West said the NBA was in the stone ages, when it came to development and publicity, before Buss came along.
“Here was a man who changed not only basketball, he changed all sports," West said. "He changed them all. He has left a shadow over the entire sports world.”
NBA Commissioner David Stern spoke about the huge impact Buss had not just on the NBA, but on all of sports.
“It's not an exaggeration to say Jerry was nothing less than a transformational force in the history of sports, creating the value proposition through pricing, naming prices, cable TV networks, TV rights and entertainment," Stern said.
Former Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal also spoke and said Buss would now be watching the games from the ultimate skybox. Buss was 80 years old.
UPDATE 3:50 p.m. A private memorial service for Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss is being held at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live, with many of the team's greatest names among the expected speakers.
"Jerry was nothing less than a transformational force in the history of sports," NBA Commissioner David Stern said at the memorial.
The event's MC, CBS2 sportscaster Jim Hill, said that Buss told him, "Don’t let anyone outwork you. If they stop at 11 p.m., you stop at midnight."
"No one in sports treated their players better than Dr. Buss," Hill said. "Most important quality was that he cared."
Jerry Buss's son, Johnny Buss, was one of the speakers. "He loved Los Angeles, and as we can see, Los Angeles loved him too."
The Buss memorial is invite only, but those invitations still left many open seats.
Previously: A private memorial service for Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss is being held Thursday at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live, with many of the team's greatest names among the expected speakers.
Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O'Neal, Pau Gasol, Jerry West, Phil Jackson and Pat Riley are expected to speak, along with NBA Commissioner David Stern, according to John Black, the Lakers vice president of public relations.
The USC Marching Band and singers Randy Newman, whose "I Love L.A." is played after Laker victories at Staples Center, and Davis Gaines will perform, Black said. CBS2 sportscaster Jim Hill will serve as master of ceremonies.
The 3 p.m. service will be for invited guests only and not open to the public, according to the Lakers. But it will be televised by several outlets, including Time Warner Cable SportsNet, the regional sports network that carries most of the Lakers' games.
Buss, 80, died Monday morning from kidney failure after a long battle with cancer. He is credited with transforming the franchise into the most successful and glamorous team in North American professional sports.
The Lakers paid tribute to Buss before Wednesday night's game at Staples Center, their first following his death. A two-minute video of pictures of Buss from his childhood to throughout the more than 30 years he owned the team was shown on the arena's video board, accompanied by the Green Day song "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life")."
Bryant then spoke, telling the capacity crowd of 18,997, "On Monday we lost what we all know to be the greatest owner in sports, ever.
"He was a brilliant and incredible owner, but he was an even better person with a great heart.
"His vision has transcended the game and we are all, all, spoiled by his vision and by his drive to win year after year after year.
"Through our years being here at Staples Center, the one thing that we could always count on was the great Dr. Jerry Buss overlooking his franchise from his box. I'd like to ask all of you to please join us in a moment of silence to honor the great Dr. Jerry Buss."
Buss' empty seat in his suite was then showed on the video board, followed by a recording of Buss saying, "The real purpose of what I do was to try to have this city totally involved and identified with it. I wanted that, when you think L.A., 'Oh, wait, that's where the Lakers play. Lakers. Lakers.' That's what I wanted."
This story has been updated.