Commentary

The high life

Where do rich athletes unwind? Check it out for yourself.

Updated: May 2, 2011, 2:55 PM ET
By Sam Alipour | ESPN The Magazine

Courtesy of Palms Casino ResortHave $25,000 lying around? This suite at the Palms could be yours for a night.
WHERE THEY BUNK

Palms -- Las Vegas

In Sin City, where opulence is the norm, there's a suite so large, lavish and lush that Charlie Sheen might even think twice about sullying it: the Hardwood Suite at the Palms Casino Resort, owned by the Sacramento Kings' Maloof family. A basketball court dominates the 10,000-square-foot, two-floor crib, which comes complete with locker room, scoreboard and a slew of Murphy beds large enough for NBA players like Shaq, Ron Artest and Carmelo Anthony, all of whom have balled there with their crews. Cheerleaders can be requested for an additional fee -- or recruited from one of the casino's three clubs and two bars.

Recent lodgers: Skateboarder Ryan Sheckler, Lakers F Ron Artest, Knicks F Carmelo Anthony


Courtesy of NetJets
HOW THEY FLY

NetJets

Athletes looking for the privacy and convenience of a team plane, minus the card-game squabbles, travel via a company called NetJets, whose 800-plane fleet can ferry them anywhere they want to go on as little as four hours' notice. The firm, which is part of famed investor Warren Buffett's vast empire, offers two plans popular among jocks: the Marquis Jet Card, which allows clients to purchase flight time, and "fractional ownership," for big hitters who wish to buy an interest in a specific aircraft (with 50 hours getting them 1/16th of the plane). NetJets handles the rest, from maintenance to pilots to an "owner-service team" that could put even a diva like Tyra Banks at ease. The most popular planes? The seven-seat Cessna Citation XLS and the midsize Citation X, with its 24-foot cabin and full refreshment center.

Recent travelers: NASCAR/IndyCar driver Danican Patrick, Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira, tennis champ Roger Federer


Courtesy of MyHouse
WHERE THEY PARTY

MyHouse -- Los Angeles

In Hollywood, today's hot club is tomorrow's taco stand. But the current go-to spot for the rich, famous and damn fine -- and, by extension, moneyed athletes -- is MyHouse, a 10,000-square-foot expanse designed by Dodd Mitchell (of Roosevelt Hotel fame) to resemble the art-deco mansions dotting the Hollywood Hills. Among the homey spaces available for VIPs to rent are the sunken living room, with velvet sofas and shag carpet, and an upstairs bedroom, complete with a king-size bed. Lakers and Clippers often hold court here, but they're usually outnumbered by visiting players. (Evidently the nightlife isn't as inviting in Sacramento and Oklahoma City.) If you're a commoner looking to pierce the mob outside, don't bother -- unless you're ridiculously attractive.

Recent partygoers: Patriots cornerback Leigh Bodden, Bengals WR Terrell Owens, Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo


Courtesy of La Samanna
WHERE THEY VACATION

La Samanna Resort -- St. Martin, French West Indies

Jocks desiring a true end-of-season getaway escape to this popular celebrity haven. Lapped by a private beach, the Orient-Express property has it all: world-class spa, elegant dining at Le Reserve and the largest private wine cellar in the region, La Cave, which houses more than 12,000 bottles. And then there are the villas -- modest little 4,600-square-foot digs with wraparound infinity pools, private terraces and spectacular ocean views from atop a 100-foot-high cliff.

Recent beachgoers: 76ers F Elton Brand, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, Saints LB Jonathan Vilma, Ravens RM Willis McGahee


Courtesy of Gary James
WHERE THEY DINE

Prime One Twelve -- Miami

If you're a local pro, a product of The U or a visiting player looking for a postgame meal in South Beach, Prime One Twelve is the spot to see and be seen. The elegant but oft-cramped eatery offers three exclusive spaces for famous folk who wish to distance themselves from gawking locals: the patio, where A-Rod, Cameron Diaz and Bill Clinton recently held their tabloid-worthy powwow; the wine room in the back, a favorite of Heat president Pat Riley and his staff; and, in the adjacent Prime Hotel, Prime Lounge's private room, where LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh celebrated after the official welcome party for the Big Three at American Airlines Arena. Even those in the know plan ahead for a desirable spot (texts to an employee named Matt are rumored to help), while latecomers (like a recent Suns contingent) hit up the main bar's high-top table.

Recent diners: Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Wizards PG John Wall, Bulls F Carlos Boozer, Cardinals DT Calais Campbell

Sam Alipour is a contributing writer to ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com. You can reach him at sam.alipour@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter here.

Sam Alipour is a Senior Writer at ESPN Magazine and contributor to ESPN and ESPN.com. Contact him at sam.alipour@gmail.com and on Twitter.