Custom Homes of Professional Athletes
While some of us focus on Home Improvement, others are lucky enough to purchase a home that doesn’t need improvements. Here is some interesting, yet fun, facts about professional athletes and their homes. It comes as no surprise that most professional athletes have hefty bank accounts—and many have egos to match. Seeing a pro athlete pull up in an insanely expensive vehicle or drop thousands on lavish gifts is the norm; this extravagant wealth is also on display in many athletes’ custom homes. From coast to coast, one constant remains true: opulent wealth can get an athlete almost anything they want in a home.
When we asked the folks at French Construction (http://frenchconstruction.com/) what the biggest challenge is when building a custom home they had this to say.
Building a custom home can be a challenge for the home builder. Permit restrictions, expensive materials and time delays, to name just a few, are some of the obstacles that make constructing a custom home a daunting task. Throw in the ostentatious requests of a professional athlete with money to burn, and a daunting task can easily become an overwhelming undertaking. Oftentimes, professional athletes are young people who have never had money before and decide that they need the biggest, best and blingy-est home possible. It’s a case of keeping up with the Jones’, or, in basketball’s case, keeping up with the James’. LeBron James has owned several homes, one that boasted a 2000 square foot master closet. Considering the average U.S. home is 2700 square feet, to say this is an enormous closet is an understatement! James just sold his 12000 square foot Miami home, featuring waterfront views, a wine cellar and an infinity pool for the bargain price of 13 million and change. Keeping up with the James’ just got a little more difficult…Or has it? Rich athletes are finding new and inventive amenities to include in their new homes, taking luxury to the next level. Included in new homes of the rich and athletically inclined include sport courts, outdoor pizza ovens, elevators, massive chandeliers and lots and lots of imported marble.
Evander Holyfield is rumored to have at least twelve children, so he needed a family home large enough to house them all. His former home, on Evander Holyfield Highway, no less, was situated on 105 acres, featured 109 rooms including a dining room that seated up to 100 people, presumably his children. Unfortunately, Holyfield lost the home to foreclosure. Another athlete with an appetite for extravagance was the late, great Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt, who died in 1999, lived in his Bel Air home for decades. Known for its futuristic exterior, gold lined hot tub, a swimming pool that flowed into the living room, and a retractable, mirrored ceiling above the master bed, Chamberlain’s home was the epitome of a famous athlete’s eclectic tastes.
There are many other amenities that the custom homes of professional athletes all seem to share: tricked out home gyms, chef’s kitchens, huge square footage, and excellent, exclusive neighborhoods. Other special extras, like bowling alleys, temperature controlled rooms, remote controlled misting systems, panic rooms and even elevators for cars are all options for the super-rich. Like any custom home, professional athletes and their families have theirs built to their specifications and whimsies. Many like to put their own personal touch into their homes, which may make the home less valuable—or more valuable—when it is time to be sold. Ego and achievement may play a part in these personal choices, like Shaquille O’Neill’s pool emblazoned with the Superman insignia or Chris Paul’s mural on the bedroom wall of a basketball game at the Staples Center. Super soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo may have difficulty selling his home—he has his initials carved into his marble floors, his countertops and even his front door. And while not nearly as famous as Ronaldo, soccer star Lionel Messi has a One Zero Eco sustainable home shaped and designed just like a soccer ball, which also might require a very specialized buyer.
Olympic diver Greg Louganis’ former Malibu pad has an ocean view, a pool with a diving platform and the Olympic rings etched into the bottom of the pool.
Other sports stars’ homes have unique, eye-catching, features, too. Basketball player Allen Iverson owned a home with seven fireplaces, in case he got cold, of course. Tom Brady and his supermodel wife have several homes, but the Massachusetts estate houses an unexpected chicken coop, so they can enjoy fresh eggs every day. Adrian Beltre owned a home with 35 foot ceilings in the entryway that also featured a golf course, batting cage, as well as basketball and tennis courts. Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant had a 20000 square foot house, complete with a hair salon and helicopter pad. While Chris Bosh may not have a current job with a basketball team, he can spend his time visiting one of his three million dollar homes in either Florida, Texas or California. When not in California, he rents it out for a cool $45,000 a month. Not surprisingly, Hunter Mahan’s home has a golf simulator. What is surprising? It also boasts TWO full size basketball courts. His golfing counterpart, Phil Michelson, has a fish tank located in his master bath shower. Retired golf great Greg Norman’s Florida home flaunts a 17 car garage, beach front property and eight acres. And no home owned by a rich golfer can compare to that of Tiger Woods, even AFTER his expensive divorce. Tiger’s Jupiter Island, Florida home is rumored to have up to four swimming pools, an oxygen tank room and a 50 million-plus price tag. Dude can’t afford a driver, though.
Barry Larkin owns a home in Orlando, Florida, that is so close to Disney World that he can see the nightly fireworks from his home. Obviously a fan of bright lights and noise, his home also comes equipped with its own disco lounge. Neon Deion Sanders has both indoor and outdoor pools, as well as a football field, basketball court and a bowling alley. When entertaining Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez impresses her with his Miami Beach home, featuring nine bedrooms, two separate yacht docks and a steam room. Even Peyton Manning has his preferences—his 16,000 square foot home has heated bedroom floors for those cold Colorado days.
Then there’s the just plain unusual, like former Golden State Warrior Gilbert Arenas’ shark tank in his home that sets him back over $6,000 a month. Multiple Cy Young award winner Randy Johnson’s 25- million-dollar home has its own working ticket booth, so when you watch movies at his house, you really watch movies at his house. Mike Tyson, known for his questionable choices, spent two million dollars on a bathtub; that’s right, a bathtub. Fish tanks are popular in Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson’s house; he even has one built over his bed! Living legend Michael Jordan has owned many homes, but his Florida home has 28,000 square feet, with a full basketball court. MJ’s pool also possesses its own island, in the middle of the pool. Boxing great Floyd Mayweather’s Vegas digs have video games built into his kitchen counters, red silk on the walls and don’t forget the garage that houses his 1.5 BILLION worth of cars. When he has guests, they can all shower together in his 12-person shower.
You know you’ve arrived when your home is known by its own nickname. Mayweather’s aforementioned Vegas home is known as “Big Boy Mansion” while Shaquille O’Neill’s 70,000 square foot home in Florida has an outdoor pool named “Shaqapulco”. Arguably the most popular sports figure in England is David Beckham, who lives in a home so stately, it’s been dubbed “Beckingham Palace”. Derek Jeter retired to a 30,000 square foot waterfront mansion in Florida aptly named “St. Jetersburg”.
Professional athletes are certainly an unusual group of home buyers, ones with very specific needs and desires. Custom homes built to their specifications cost millions of dollars and are painstakingly crafted by the builders, who continue to push the envelope when it comes to luxury amenities.