Buss, who died at age 80 after a battle with cancer, was widely remembered by fans and city leaders as the rare owner who drove his franchise to heady success, spending big and giving the public what they wanted.
"He brought the city together," said Rolando Castellanos, 32, a Fontana resident who was wearing a purple Lakers jersey as he stood in line downtown Monday morning to get into a taping of ESPN's "SportsNation" show at L.A. Live. "He gave us a lot of champions."
Jesse Garza, 21, a Lancaster resident who was also waiting to get into the show taping,
"He was dedicated," Garza said. "He got the top free agents, the top coaches, the best trades."
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called Buss a mainstay of professional sports in Los Angeles.
"Dr. Buss was a cornerstone of the Los Angeles sports community and his name will always be synonymous with his beloved Lakers," Villaraigosa said in a written statement.
"It was through his stewardship that the Lakers brought `Showtime' basketball and numerous championship rings to this great city. We mourn the loss and celebrate the life of a man who helped shape the modern landscape of sports in L.A."
Tim Leiweke, president and chief executive of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which worked with Buss to bring the Lakers to Staples Center, praised his involvement.
"Dr. Buss was our partner, our mentor and our friend," Leiweke said.
"He was kind enough to allow us into his world and much of the success we enjoyed at Staples Center and L.A. Live is directly attributed to him. I do not believe we will ever find anyone quite like him."
Even fans of other teams admired the success of the Lakers owner.
"He's the most terrific owner for the league," Lopez said. "The greatest big men have been in the Lakers. What he's done since he's been in the league is revitalize it. He's jet set. Hopefully his kids could do the same."
The Buss era saw the team win 10 NBA championships with talent like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, with top-tier coaches Pat Riley and Phil Jackson.
Ted Davis of Fontana said he has been a Lakers fan since his birth 49 years ago.
"I was just sad because he means so much to Lakers and all of the NBA," Davis said. "He's a role model to all of the managers and owners in the NBA."
Staff Writer Rick Orlov contributed to this report.