Generally speaking, professional athletes have a lot of everything. They're rich, famous and talented. Perhaps that's not everything, but they sure work pretty well together as a trio.
That's why you don't see many famous athletes living in modest two bedroom condos in suburban communities. Money, fame, and talent are basically like Miracle Grow for the ego.
The bigger the ego, the bigger the mansion. And athletes these days are living larger and larger—not to mention going bankrupt faster and faster. But I digress...
They may be living like kings, but all kings are living large in their own way. So let's pick and choose the best of athlete mega-mansions and create the ultimate athlete mansion.
It's not an entirely necessary endeavor, but rather a fun little Frankenstein experiment—just don't ask questions. Remember: Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do or die.
Granted I have absolutely no frame of reference, but I imagine that if you're a professional athlete, there are plenty of boundary-lacking people out there who think that they are straight-up entitled access to you just because you're famous.
Athletes have to expect this to a certain extent, which is why many do the autograph events and fan forums. But there obviously have to be boundaries. Just because you sign an autograph for me doesn't mean su casa es mi casa.
That's why former NBA players Michael Jordan and Vlade Divac both felt the need to protect their property with intimidating privacy fences. Although Divac did a much better job protecting his anonymity—nice job putting your number on there MJ.
::Exaggerated eye roll::
Any athlete mansion on the water is going to come standard issue with at least one dock. It doesn't even matter if they have a boat or not.
The fact that they can, and probably will, buy one at any given moment is something that needs to be taken into account. That's just responsible real estate planning.
Maybe Yankees dud Alex Rodriguez has a yacht. Maybe he has two. Maybe he has zero. But his Florida mansion has two docks just in case.
Maybe you don't watch any HGTV, but I watch it on occasion because when you suffer from chronic insomnia, television programming is severely limited in the middle of the night. So don't judge me.
That being said, one of the many things I've learned from watching all of their same shows with different names is the importance of something called "curb appeal," when selling or buying a house.
Curb appeal is the first impression of first impressions. It's how you feel driving up the drive way to see a house and can immediately put you in a frame of mind to buy—or just keep on driving.
You know who gets the concept of curb appeal? Actor/wrestler/American hero Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. He picked up this sweet pile of bricks from former NFL lineman Vernon Carey in May 2012.
Athlete mega-mansions are, by their very definition, big as hell. There's more square footage than you can shake a stick at and usually a couple of floors to traverse.
Naturally, no ordinary staircase will do in homes of this caliber. Which is why most of these heavenly houses are outfitted with grandiose staircases befitting the Queen of England.
Or the queen of something. I don't know...
Okay, so the laundry room isn't exactly the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of the ultimate athlete mansion. But guess what, even LeBron James has dirty laundry—even if he doesn't do it himself.
Now I don't know who is doing LeBron's laundry, but we know dang well that King James isn't washing his dirty drawers himself. But whoever is laundering for LeBron is doing it in style, not to mention with space to spare.
Those appliances are living larger than most of us.
Unless you're strangely interested in the world of celebrity real estate like me, you're probably blissfully unaware of all the ridiculously unusable space there is in the homes of professional athletes. I see it all the time and it still stuns me.
And not just unusable space, unusable items as well. Now the last thing I want to do here is be insensitive or presumptuous, but I'm betting the chances that recently retired Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has never played that piano once.
Lewis put his highfaluting Florida mansion on the market after winning the Super Bowl in 2013 and it offers all the excess, unusable space as a Smithsonian museum. The crib ain't cheap, but I bet you could negotiate a good price on the piano.
Same with the piano in the house of retired NFL quarterback Jake Plummer is trying to unload. You'll notice it was one of the items he and the wife didn't take with them when they left.
For most of us plebs, a bathroom consists of a few fundamentals: A toilet, a sink, a bathtub/shower or just a shower. And both the lighting and the square footage leaves much to be desired.
The bathroom(s) in an athlete mansion is an entirely different animal. Sure it's got all the fundamentals, but they happen to be made out of copper, marble, or probably even gold, in some cases.
Motorcycle racer Ben Bostrom's bathroom in his Malibu pad isn't exactly function over form—quite the opposite really. Unless you think two swanky chandeliers are typical teeth brushing mood lighting.
Every house has a kitchen, for the most part. Please don't start with examples of houses without kitchens though, because that's why I felt the need to include the caveat "for the most part" to begin with.
But the kitchen inside an athlete mansion isn't just a place to cook grilled cheese and stack dirty dishes. It's a fully functional entertainment space that can generally fit anywhere from 10-50 people comfortably. Or uncomfortably, whichever you prefer.
Retired championshipless NHL player Jeremy Roenick apparently did a lot of entertaining in his massive mansion before putting it on the market back in 2012. Apparently his kitchen is the only thing bigger than his mouth...or ego.
If you were impressed by NHL megamouth Jeremy Roenick's kitchen, then you're going to love the rest of his living space.
If you weren't impressed, then you are probably a terrible person...like Donald Trump.
Every athlete mansion I've seen has an oversized bedroom with widely varied decor. Some keep it neutral, others like to personalize things to an uncomfortable degree.
But it was the bedroom of retired Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward that seemed to strike the right balance for a single athlete—assuming he's single.
It sets the mood with the fireplace and dark, but not too dark, tones. And mirrors in a bedroom are just fine, as long as they're not on the ceiling.
Whether or not an athlete plays tennis or basketball, and you can't bet they don't play tennis unless they play tennis, every baller athlete mansion needs to have the works.
Something that I've made abundantly clear throughout this slideshow already, but people have short attention spans, so sue me. I can dare you to file a lawsuit against me with confidence because I know you'll probably just forget.
But moving on. Athletes are athletic, so more is more (as opposed to less) when it comes to awesome stuff like this. In this case "stuff like this" refers to the Rangers Adrian Beltre's adjacent tennis court and basketball court.
Putting them next to each other is not necessary, but it's functional and saves space for the Ferris wheel.
An amazing swimming pool is standard issue in an ultimate athlete mansion, but few are quite this amazing.It's not often that you see an infinity pool so ridiculously close to the ocean that it literally looks like it goes on for infinity.
Well maybe it's not often for most of us, but I suppose it's just another day at the office for Heat superstar LeBron James. Who may very well be the most gifted athlete on the planet and the owner of this freaking unbelievable pool.
Dammit King James. I've been trying very hard to like you again, but this pool is just not helping matters.
I'm of the mind that when it comes to money, you can't take it with you, so you might as well live it up while you've got it. Naturally, in a fiscally responsible way that doesn't drive you to bankruptcy.
Assuming you're seeing to your own savings, providing for your family, and maybe giving a little bit of your earning away to charity, I don't see any problem with an athlete indulging in a few awesome displays of excess.
Famed MLB player Eddie Murray did just that in his California home when he created the ultimate old school arcade, which is the fantasy of every teenage boy who came of age in the 80s and 90s. Seriously! Check out that Globetrotters pinball machine!
There are going to be some out there that shake their heads at such a "waste" of money, but this is nothing compared to boxer Floyd Mayweather, who burns 100x that on his troublesome gambling problem that he loves bragging about.
In case you haven't figured it out yet, an athlete mansion isn't about need. They've got everything they need—all the basic necessities are covered and then some. All that plus millions of dollars to throw around.
I know it's not fair, but sometimes life isn't fair.
In terms of creating the ultimate athlete mega-mansion, the more athletic equipment and fields/courts of play, the better. Many athletes excel in a number of sports, so why not keep all your options open at home for leisure time.
Although the one thing you won't find at most athlete mansions is a baseball park. Former MLB player Walt Weiss decided to indulge in, no doubt, his Field of Dreams fantasy in his Colorado home before putting it on the market in April 2012.
If you're interested in the property and have $4 million to spare, it also comes complete with an indoor batting cage, its own waterfall, a movie theater, and eight bathrooms—perfect for the athlete with bladder control issues.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning needs a manly mahogany getaway on Monday to read about his Sunday triumphs and tribulations.
Actually, every amazing athlete mansion needs a macho study like this—but Manning is probably one of the few who makes use of his Denver den.
This doesn't apply to just athletes either, most people with a distinguished den don't make much use of them either. They're mostly just there to impress the Jones'.
Personally, it's hard to understand what draws athletes, and various other celebrities, to elaborate saltwater fish tanks stocked with the works—including sharks.
Former NBA player Gilbert Arenas was one such athlete whose house was put on the market with a ridiculously oversized fish tank, which likely brought down the house value, considering it cost in the thousands to maintain each month.
Which means the realtors probably flushed everything down the toilet when he put it on the market. Except the sharks. Unless the toilet was really big. So sad.
That being said, the big stupid shark tank was all about status. And the ultimate athlete mansion is all about status. So in a vacuum it makes more sense.
So you've got your sublime mega-mansion, complete with an outdoor pool, a pool just for swimming laps, a hot tub, a sauna, and every other water whatchamadoodle under the sun.
Sounds petty amazing, right? Well…assuming the sun is actually out. What if it's rainy, or chilly, or rainy and chilly—what in the name of all that is good and holy are you going to do then?
Well, formerly bankrupt former NFL player Warren Sapp was obviously a big picture thinker. Not in terms of sound financial planning, but in terms of the indoor water slide he once owned before the bank foreclosed on his home.
The ultimate athlete mansion has got to have a pool. It's also got to have a bar. But a swim up bar in a pool is a luxury I thought was saved for places like Sandals Paradise Island.
Apparently the Heat's Mike Miller wanted to bring paradise to Pompano Beach! The mansion he unloaded back in 2011 came custom with this very unique attribute.
Did anyone even know what a grotto was before the Playboy Mansion became the set of (approximately) three billion reality television shows? Perhaps those of you who had previously attended a party at Hef's House of Harlots were aware, but most of us are routinely snubbed.
So it's tough to tell how pervasive the grotto was in the houses of the rich and famous until recently, but they seem to be becoming a staple in the mansions of male athletes. "If you build it, they will come," and in this case "they" means hoards of naked, big busted blondes.
Not that I can say that for sure, considering retired Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, one of my favorite athletes of all time, has never once invited me to one of his grotto parties. If you're reading this Hines, I know your house is on the market, but it's never too late for one last soiree.
Professional athletes probably have pretty full schedules. Between playing sports and whatever the heck else they do with their time, squeezing in time for mundane errands could be difficult.
Getting their hair done must have been a group activity, because those both look like full service salons!
Some athletes are seriously into fashion, while others simply have ladies in their lives that shop for them. Whichever the case may be, the fact of the matter is that the ultimate athlete mansion must possess no less than one ridiculously over-the-top monster of a closet.
Most have several. Even if the athlete in question isn't into fashion and doesn't have a woman in his life desperate to fill his closet with his and her designer clothes, they still acquire a lot of stuff. Designers are always sending them free swag, which is BS on so many levels.
We all know that there may be no athlete on Earth who is more obsessed with himself, and his image, than boxer Floyd "Money" Mayweather. The fact that he can fill a closet that size is nearly as impressive as his undefeated record—perhaps even more.
But how big is too big? Perhaps all those blows to the dome haven't impacted his memory, but even so, he could go in looking for his favorite fur coat, diamond earrings and pendant, and not resurface for hours.
This one is aimed partially at female athletes who like their stilettos as much as their [insert athletic gear sponsor here] sneakers, but mostly at NBA players for whom sneakers are like oxygen.
There are probably plenty of athletes from other sports who have impressive shoe collection, but many of the ballin' boys of the NBA are certified sneakerholics. Now don't get all up in my business shouting about how most of them are free to the athletes and how companies send them in bulk—it's irrelevant.
My only point here is just that these guys love their shoes so much that some of them are willing to dedicate entire rooms in their mansions to them. But the Nets' Joe Johnson went just a bit further—contracting a literal sneaker fortress, complete with fingerprint recognition entry system.
So his shoe closet is more secure than many nuclear facilities. That's reassuring.
This one is a little out there and not every ultimate athlete mansion is going to have the geographical setting to even make this a possibility. But many of us think of our favorite sports stars kinda like superheroes, or even supervillains, in either case they require a lair.
The thing about a lair is that it should be difficult to get to, but not so difficult that the occupants of said lair risk life and limb to get there. It's a very fine line.
So a bridge over a moat filled with man-eating crocodiles that requires a series of riddles be answered in order to cross? Too much.
But disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong's picturesque bridge leading to his Lake Austin estate? Well, that looks, and sounds, just about right.
The Realtor.com headline summed up the property with this priceless headline in April 2013: "Lance Armstrong Preps for Zombie Apocalypse with Lake Austin Estate."
Either that or he's just trying to hide from all the people chasing him with torches and pitchforks.
We could be talking about the mansion of a female athlete here, but male athletes are far more well known for their ostentatious displays of wealth when it comes to real estate.
And everything else, really.
But even assuming this whole Franken-mansion is more the male athlete's prerogative, it never hurts to include a little something for the ladies.
This is for the ladies.
All over-the-top luxury mega-mansions are bigger and better than a regular house, but they contain many of the same things. Bathrooms. Bedrooms. Kitchens. Game rooms. Swimming Pools.
They're just, as I said, bigger and better than your version of those things.
But there are certain athletes that just can't resist the urge to blow their money on something so stupidly spectacular (stooptacular?) that even Mike Tyson would be left shaking his head.
NFL free agent wide receiver Chad Johnson is one such athlete. And this insane fish tank bed, that only a dolphin could fall asleep in, that he had installed in August 2011 is one such expenditure.
What's funny is that he probably got the thing installed for free from a company looking for publicity. But you know damn well when this thing eventually springs a leak, ruining God knows what, they'll be nowhere to be found.
And poor, bankrupt Johnson will be left with nothing but an empty tank of dead coral—and an awesome metaphor for his life.
The tropical fantasy hammock isn't normally an option for athletes who are doing the city high rise kind of high living, but they are an absolute essential at the beach. Or even anywhere it's warm.
It could be one of the cheapest pieces on this entire list, but not everything amazing has to cost a million dollars. I'd kill for a hammock, but it'd be depressing in my English basement apartment.
Since dissing the Celtics and signing with the Heat, Ray Allen put his Boston digs on the market in favor of a $50K rental on Miami that has absolutely everything. Including an epic hammock.
This might be getting a little too nitpicky, but when it comes to being close too the beach—there is such thing as being too close. Sure, walking out your oceanfront bedroom door onto the warm sand in a matter of seconds sounds pretty amazing.
But keep in mind that the sea can be an erratic mistress, prone to unforeseeable fits of rage at a moment's notice. When the ocean acts up, it's nice to have a little space between the two of you—like a big ass cliff.
Olympic snowboarder Shaun White, who also loves water sports, got it just right with the oceanfront home he bought in December 2012. He got the views, the breezes, and the oceanfront living, but just the right amount of distance from the fickle surf.
I'm not certain that the Heat's Mike Miller would ever refer to this room in his Miami mansion as "A Grand Gentleman's Cigar Room." Actually, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't and he'd probably make fun of me for doing it.
Despite that realization, I remain undeterred and am going to hold my ground on the name of the room. I mean, it's obviously a room designed for two men (three max) to sit in distinguished looking leather chairs and do something.
Probably enjoy a nice aged scotch and a couple of Cuban cigars while debating the hot topics of the day's news cycle. Or maybe listening to some music. Or watching porn.
Whatever. I don't know what bros do with their bro-lone (see what I did there?) time.
Every tricked out, ridiculously luxurious mega-mansion has a wine cellar. In fact, if it doesn't have a wine cellar, then one can hardly call it a mansion. That's not just me being a pretentious jag or anything, it's not like I have a wine cellar, it's just fact.
Whether or not an athlete even likes wine is beside the point. It doesn't matter if he or she has to get psyched up for 10 minutes just to take a sip of the stuff without instantly spitting it out. Although, I don't think many people hate wine that much.
Wine is a status symbol. Athletes like status. So if status means they are required to have a giant temperature controlled room in their basement, which is stocked with a million dollars worth of a beverage that literally makes them physically ill…then so be it.
Some athletes probably go months, if not years, without visiting the wine cellar. But let's hope former MLB player Jim Edmonds is making better use of his as his palatial pad sits on the market with a cool $8 million asking price.
The perfect athlete mansion is all about excess, and what's more excessive than an entire living room and kitchen outside—when you obviously have at least one of each already inside. Not to mention a television, carpeting, open walls for when it's nice, and a roof for when it rains.
The Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware (and/or his real estate agent) probably called this an "outdoor living space" when he sold this property back in 2011. Which is funny, cause throw up a couple of walls and most of us would just call this our apartment.
Seriously, this outdoor living area is bigger and better than my entire freaking apartment. I really should have gone into Ponzi-scheming or something lucrative like that.
In his better days, if he ever really had any of those, former NFL wide receiver Patrick Crayton didn't just have a billiards room...he had the billiards room. The complete package.
This all-purpose room of awesome with a full bar has all the bells and whistles. It looks like a private high rollers suite at some swanky hotel that only invites the highest of high rollers.
Can't you just imagine the coolest Monte Carlo themed surprised birthday party ever there? Sorry...I just really enjoy gambling and drinking.
Athletes are no strangers to working out. In fact, for most of them, they spend more time working out in a single year than us fatties will over our entire lives. (Obviously that was a bit of hyperbole, please don't pen a sternly worded letter claiming I called you fat)
Which is why they need an in-home gym. Just because the season ends, doesn't mean conditioning does. And guys like retired NHL legend Brett Hull and retired MLB player Andy Van Slyke don't want you gawking at them down at the Y.
Weirdos be starin'.
An outdoor basketball court is nothing. Losers all over my neighborhood had them growing up. Actually, that's mean, I don't even really remember if they were losers or not.
My point was just that any schmuck can have an outdoor basketball court at their crib, but you gotta be hella rich to have an indoor court. You also need to have hella space to put one!
Former MLB player Brian Jordan apparently liked to escape baseball with a little basketball every now and again. Though it's no surprise that NBA legend Michael Jordan's former Illinois home included a court.
Hopefully they weren't neighbors or anything. Talk about an embarrassing game of one-on-one.
The lives of professional athletes are a series of achievements, if they're lucky. So any athlete who made it to the pros shouldn't be ashamed to indulge in a little ego-stroking, in the form of a memorabilia room.
Former NFL wide receiver Keenan McCardell actually lucked into two Super Bowls during his otherwise unremarkable career. Which is reason alone for a room devoted to himself. But the memorabilia room doesn't have to only be about the athlete himself.
Some are sports fans just like us, and enjoy collecting various memorabilia.
The ultimate athlete mansion has to have all the amenities of the outside world, but at home. Okay, maybe not all the amenities, but a fair number of them.
One such amenity is a fully functional bar. And not just functional, but freaking awesome too. Spending the evening in at pitcher John Lackey or retired wide out Hines Ward's bars would be cheaper than a night out on the town and contain more star power.
Honestly, these things are just amazing. I'd love one in my tiny little apartment, but that might be the one thing preventing me from becoming a full-fledged alcoholic.
Bowling is one of those things that gets a bad rap as something that only goobers enjoy. But seriously, add some alcohol and good friends into the mix, and bowling can be one of the funnest possible ways to spend an evening.
Johnny Damon hasn't been impressing on the baseball field for years, and now I think I have a pretty damn good idea why. Aside from the fact that he's getting old. And he can't seem to make any long-term decisions on the hair situation.
I think he's been spending more time at bowling practice than batting practice. And can you blame him? Sure the clown is scary as hell, but that's one helluva in-home pair of lanes.
There looks to be a full gaming room, and probably a bar, to the right too. So jealous.
Giant's quarterback Eli Manning isn't the type of high maintenance sports stars the city has been known for over the years. No condo in Trump Tower or fur coats for this Manning brother.
That's not to say that Manning is immune to all the finer things in life. His New Jersey condo is stacked with high tech gadgets—it's practically like living in The Jetsons.
Not that I'd have any idea whatsoever of the robotic particulars. It's not like any of the brothers Manning have ever invited me over for a dinner party. Talk about rude.
If there was anything to be taken away from MTV's surprise hit Jersey Shore, aside from precancerous moles and STDs, it's the fact that ladies love hot tubs.
Well, maybe ladies don't love them, but drunk chicks who might be definitely DTF certainly do. So it's no surprise that Phillies' pitcher Jonathan Papelbon had one at his Boston penthouse.
Hopefully he was able to find the same setup in Philadelphia because that's even closer to Jersey.
If there's one thing I've learned from the hundreds of athletes I follow on Twitter, it's that a huge portion of them rush out to see blockbuster movies the weekend their released. I know that sounds a little strange, but I've got years of anecdotal evidence to support this conclusion.
And besides, it's not much of a conclusion anyway. No matter how terrible the big budget sequel, people all over the world do the same thing. People who are not weirdos like movies, unfortunately most of us have to actually go to the theater to get the "movie experience."
Many athletes have the option of hitting up the theater for a night out with the boys, or a lady friend, or staying home and enjoying the exact same experience. Deion Sanders, Keenan McCardell, Ray Allen, and Andy Van Slyke are among the countless athletes who have the luxury of making that decision.
And at least if you stay home and watch a movie, you know a couple of jagweeds behind you won't be shoving fistfuls of popcorn, from a seemingly bottomless bucket, down their gullet for two hours and asking each other inane questions about the plot.
Every swagtastic athlete mansion in an appropriately warm climate has a pool or two, or three. They're probably never even used, but they are an absolutely essential status symbol. But not all man-made bodies of water are created equal.
Say whatever you want about the Heat's Chris Bosh being the least of Miami's "Big Three," because if you think he's going home to cry about it at night—think again. My boy Boshie is doing just fine.
Bosh is tall, talented, famous, rich and he's got a ring. Oh, and he also happens to have one of the coolest pools in all of Miami—if not in the entire world. Seriously! Look at that thing. It doesn't even look real.
But it is, I'm certain. I actually thought it was computer generated at first and did some substantial digging to make sure nobody was pulling a fast one on us.
Honestly, I have no idea. But my best guess is the laughably massive and obscenely expensive mansion of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and his supermodel wife, Gisele.
Anything mentioned on the list that you can't see is either inside, or just out of the photo. Funny how that works. As usual, it's good to be Tom freaking Brady. Ugh.
**If anyone else is thinking about heading out west this fall to claim squatter's rights on the Brady mansion, hit me up on Twitter. We'll do a caravan thing. Follow @blamberr