The South Bay, with its low-key atmosphere and sought-after beachfront, has been attracting athletes since the 1980s, when the Joe Montana-led 49ers were Super Bowl fixtures, Kurt Rambis was minting four NBA title rings with the Lakers, and Steve Sax and the Dodgers made their last two World Series appearances.
Montana, Rambis and Sax each called L.A.’s beach cities home during those championship years. The Los Angeles Kings roster, Lakers players and coaches as well as athletes for teams outside of California have joined the most recent wave of residents. In the South Bay, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach have been some of the most popular spots, particularly among the reigning Stanley Cup Champions. Last year, Kings center Jeff Carter paid $5.25 million for a home in Hermosa Beach, near the team’s practice facility in El Segundo. Fellow teammates, including team captain Dustin Brown and goalie Jonathan Quick, followed suit, each buying homes in Manhattan Beach. “There is a high congregation of hockey players in the South Bay, Manhattan Beach in particular,” said Kofi Natei Nartey, director of the sports and entertainment division at the Agency. “But you also see a lot of out-of-state players who want to live here and train in more favorable conditions.” Diana Taurasi, the former Connecticut Huskies basketball star who currently plays for the Phoenix Mercury, became a resident of L.A.’s beach cities in June, buying a Manhattan Beach townhouse for $3.3 million. Former Stanford guard Landry Fields, currently with the Toronto Raptors, paid about $2 million for property in the area in July. In Calabasas, there’s a different vibe — and it’s not just reserved for the Kardashian clan. More sports figures are gravitating to the guard-gated communities in the affluent pocket between Agoura Hills and Woodland Hills, even at the sacrifice of a more practical commute. “A lot of athletes, particularly those with families, are attracted to the peaceful, gated lifestyle,” said Nartey, who has worked with WNBA star Candace Parker, former Chargers tailback LaDainian Tomlinson and Lakers guard Nick Young, among others. “When they travel, they have peace of mind. They have security.” It’s also an area where someone can get more bang for their buck, said Nartey, whose clients, many of whom are originally from the Midwest, are accustomed to larger properties. For scale, Keyshawn Johnson’s former estate, which the retired NFL star sold to Kourtney Kardashian in February, occupies nearly two acres in the exclusive Estates at the Oaks enclave. Former NBA all-star Mitch Richmond, who lives nearby, is seeking $8.495 million for his 2.23-acre property. Whereas homes were once looked at as merely trophies, many sports figures see real estate as a way to build and diversify their portfolios. “There is a shift taking place among athletes in that there is a desire to build wealth as opposed to just getting rich,” Nartey said. Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety and Carson native Dashon Goldson has purchased investment properties in Marina del Rey in recent years, as has 49ers tight end Vernon Davis.