A Champion Plays His Home Court

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Kobe Bryant, who helped lead the L.A. Lakers to victory in the NBA Finals June 15, and his bride, Vanessa, are in escrow to buy a home in Orange County for $13.5 million, real estate sources say.

While not the highest Orange County home sale to date, it would be among only a few there to top the $13-million mark.

The Bryants, who have been living in the Pacific Palisades home he purchased in 1999 for $2.5 million, have also been looking to buy a home in Philadelphia, where his parents relocated this season.

The basketball star, 22, went to high school in an upscale area of Philadelphia, but his wife, 19, went to school in Huntington Beach, where she has family.

The Orange County home that the couple is buying has a 16,000-square-foot main house plus a 2,000-square-foot guest/pool house on 9.5 acres in a guard-gated community.

The home comes with a half-scale replica of a pirate ship on a lagoon with waterfalls, slides and man-made caves. The property also includes a lake stocked with fish, bumper boats and a pavilion with countryside views.

There are 10 bedroom suites, 131/2 baths, a theater, a game room, a billiards room and hand-painted ceilings and murals. The master suite has a bridge walkway to tropical gardens.

There are also two four-car garages on the property. One is separate from the main house and has a two-bedroom guest house.

The asking price was in the $14.9-million to $16.9-million range.

Bryant, the youngest player in the NBA the year he became a Lakers guard at age 17, makes $11.8 million a season. He is in the second year of a $70.8-million, six-year contract extension. He also has many product endorsements.

His father, Joe "Jelly Bean" Bryant, played eight seasons in the NBA and several more in the professional league in Italy, where Bryant lived with his family from ages 5 to 13.

Bryant and his wife were married in April.

The longtime Bel-Air home of the late basketball great Wilt Chamberlain, which has been on the market for nearly a year, has been reduced in price from $7.45 million to about $4.38 million.

The price was lowered for a "fast sale," according to listing agent Richard Klug of Sotheby's International Realty, Beverly Hills. The house next door recently sold for $8.4 million, he added.

The 7-foot-1 center, who helped lead the Lakers to an NBA championship in the 1971-72 season, designed and built the wood-and-glass contemporary house in 1971. Although Chamberlain died in October 1999, the listing last August marked the first time that the house had come on the market.

The six-bedroom, 7,200-square-foot house, on 2.6 acres behind gates, has a gym, playroom, master suite with 18-foot ceilings and a spa, guest rooms and two staff quarters. Some rooms have ceilings more than 40 feet high.

The northern San Diego-area horse-raising facility/home of the late Allen Paulson, who turned Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. into the world's largest maker of small private jets, has been sold for close to its $10.9-million asking price.

Paulson, who died a year ago in July at 78, also bred and raced horses, including two-time national horse of the year Cigar, whose 16-race winning streak captivated the racing public from 1994 to '96. Cigar lived on the San Diego-area property for a while.

Known as Brookside Farms West, the property was sold to a wealthy businessman who is in the gaming-equipment business in Las Vegas.

Paulson's primary residence was in Rancho Santa Fe, but his 257-acre San Diego property has an 11,000-square-foot, Mediterranean-style main house plus a large guest house, manager's house and five other homes for staff.

It also has a three-quarter-mile race track that has been described as a replica of the track at Hollywood Park, four barns with a total of 98 stalls, more than 50 dirt and grass paddocks and 33 acres of ponds.

The buyer, who is also a horse breeder, is bringing 50 race horses from Las Vegas to San Diego, sources said.

Paulson turned a money-losing plant he bought in Georgia in 1978 into Gulfstream with annual sales of $1 billion. When Gulfstream went public, Paulson netted $85 million. When it was sold to Chrysler in 1985, he made about $450 million.

Rick Hilton, chairman of Hilton & Hyland in Beverly Hills, represented both sides of the transaction with Claudette Blanchard of Summit Realty in San Diego.

George Lopez, the actor and stand-up comic who hosts the "Mega Morning Show" on radio station KCMG-FM "Mega" (92.3), and his wife, Ann, have purchased a Toluca Lake home for about $1.4 million.

The couple bought the home from actress Helen Slater and her husband, film editor Rob Watzke, who moved to the Westside.

Built in 1930, the home is Country English in style and has five bedrooms in 4,200 square feet. The home, with cathedral ceilings and mahogany floors, also has a music room, screening room, library, pool and spa.

Lopez, 40, co-stars in the movie "Bread & Roses" and has had recurring roles on Nickelodeon's "Brothers Garcia" and Showtime's "Resurrection Blvd."

Carol Novak of the LaBelle Co., of Westlake and Toluca Lake, represented the Lopezes in buying; Joan Duffy of Prudential John Aaroe, Sherman Oaks, had the listing.

TV journalist Larry Attebery, senior correspondent at UPN News 13, and his wife, Carol, have put their San Marino home of 28 years on the market at $799,000. With two grown daughters, the Atteberys want a change of residence.

Built in 1935, their Spanish-style home has three bedrooms and 21/2 baths in about 2,000 square feet. The home also has a turret entry, a step-down living room with a fireplace and arched picture window with views of the San Gabriel Mountains and a den with a fireplace. The grounds have a pool, spa and patio with a fireplace.

The newsman, who has been at Channel 13 for 11 years, has been in broadcasting for 36 years. Besides being a reporter and anchor, he was a vice president and news director for Channel 11. The Emmy-winning correspondent also co-wrote "The Yom Kippur Murders" (1993, Harper Collins).

Carol Attebery is a former producer of women's shows for CBS Television.

Elizabeth Kho of Coldwell Banker, San Marino, has the listing.

Actress Shari Belafonte, host of the weekly syndicated Internet program "Destinations With Shari Belafonte," has sold her Sherman Oaks home to TV writers David Richardson and Charleen Easton, for about $1.58 million.

Belafonte, who co-starred in the '80s series "Hotel" and is the daughter of singer Harry Belafonte, sold because she wanted a site with more land, sources said.

The house, on slightly more than an acre behind gates, has four bedrooms in about 3,800 square feet. Built in 1949, the home also has a pool and gym with sauna.

The buyers plan to marry in July, sources said.

Richardson has been a writer-producer on "Malcolm in the Middle" and "The Simpsons" and is a creator and producer of the series "Manhattan, AZ." Easton has been a writer on "Cosby" and "All-American Girl"; she also is a story editor on "What About Joan?"

Phyllis Lovit of Coldwell Banker, Studio City East, represented the buyers.

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Want to see previous columns on celebrity real estate transactions? For more Hot Properties, visit http://www.latimes.com/hotproperty.

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