Las Vegas doesn’t have an NBA franchise yet, but the city is serving as a home for many current and former professional basketball players.
From former Lakers superstar Shaquille O’Neal buying a home in Southern Highlands to free agent DeMarcus Cousins putting his Queensridge megamansion on the market for $8 million, there’s been a lot of interest in Las Vegas.
Even LeBron James has looked at homes in Las Vegas, according to Realtors. Former Laker Jordan Farmar, who has lived in Las Vegas for six years, built a multimillion-dollar home in Southern Highlands that he moved into over the summer.
Cousins, who sat out the 2020 season with a torn ACL and is now a free agent, bought his home at 9511 Kings Gate in the exclusive enclave with 12 homes for $6.5 million in October 2017. He was waived by the Los Angeles Lakers in February and is training to prepare for the 2020-21 season.
Cousin’s two-story home listed by Realtor Bob Barnhart of Luxurious Real Estate has 10 bedrooms, 12 baths and a four-car garage. It measures 20,120 square feet. It was built in 2003 and sits on 1.9 acres.
Barnhart said it resembles a Beverly Hill estate and describes it as “modern luxury meets Mediterranean” after Cousins spent more than $1 million renovating it. At the peak of the market, the home sold for $12 million, he said.
It’s like approaching a megamansion in California, it has a grand porte-cochere entrance, circular drive and motor court in the gated compound estate, Barnhart said.
“The house is one of the most sought-after gems in Vegas,” Barnhart said. “You got 20,000 square and shy of 2 acres and priced below $398 a square foot. If you look at great value on a great street where (boxer) Floyd Mayweather bought. It looks and feels like a mansion. It’s very impressive when you are driving up to it.”
A three-quarter indoor basketball court with a scoreboard was in place before Cousins bought the home, but it can be retrofitted into an eight-car garage if the buyer doesn’t want it, Barnhart said.
The main level has the basketball court, gym, movie theater, billiards room with extensive wet bar, sports media room, two bedrooms, two offices, den, formal dining room, formal living room and great room that covers the kitchen, family room and breakfast nook.
“When you walk into the house you have the grand foyer and 30-foot ceilings and a large fireplace,” Barnhart said. “Everything looks out to the resort pool. It has a lot of large sliding doors.”
The rear yard has a two-layer, resort-style pool and spa with a waterfall and private pool guest house with a kitchen. The backyard has a walking path around the perimeter.
The upstairs has two master suites with the main master that has a separate sitting room with a fireplace. There are three other bedrooms. Most of the upstairs rooms have a private balcony. The floor is accessible by an elevator and other rooms can be used as an office or den.
Cousins changed the colors scheme of the home with paint, wallpaper and flooring, Barnhart said. Most of the older colors were brown and cream, but they’re now white and gray that the market demands, he said.
“They went through the whole kitchen and updated the cabinets and countertops,” Barnhart said. “They added a saltwater aquarium. A lot of the different television walls in the family room and media room have been changed. Even the game room and pool guest house was redone.”
The master bedroom and bath underwent an extensive renovation with spa-quality finishes.
“You wouldn’t recognize the changes compared to what it used to be,” Barnhart said. “It’s this Mediterranean home that meets this modern flair of fit and finishes. It’s sharp and dynamic in the look.”
The home’s carpeting was changed from brown to gray and in the master bath white and gray stone and man-made stone was installed to replace travertine tile.
Barnhart said it’s a good time to have an $8 million home on the market.
“We’re seeing 13 homes already sold this year in Las Vegas over $4 million,” Barnhart said. “There’s five homes pending over $5 million, and there are 54 homes for sale over $5 million. The ultra-luxury market is seeing one of its best year’s ever.”
As for the reason for the listing, Cousins is diversifying his real estate portfolio in the U.S. but still plans to make Las Vegas home and will be buying or building another house here, Barnhart said. Athletes like the value of Las Vegas because such a home would cost $50 million and higher in Beverly Hills, he said about NBA players choosing to live in Nevada.
“You get a huge house for the money, and you have that international lifestyle that Las Vegas offers,” Barnhart said.
Stacy Conner is a Realtor with Windermere Prestige Properties and heads the sports and entertainment division for the firm. She is also the wife of former NBA player and coach Lester Conner and has worked with NBA players and coaches. She said some NBA players buy luxury properties here upon retirement, but others like to have a place in Las Vegas during the off-season, whether it’s buying or renting.
Conner said she’s represented eight NBA players and coaches this year — four who bought and four who’ve rented. She said she’s not allowed to name them, but estimates there are at least two dozen living in Las Vegas in some fashion but even that count might be understated.
There’s a lot of attractions for these players and coaches from the NBA Summer League in July and Nevada not having an income tax, Conner said. Many players like to have a place away from where they play their season and don’t want to stay in a hotel on the Strip, she said.
“It’s nice to get away and either lease a home here in the summer or to have a home here for the summer,” Conner said. “Who doesn’t love Vegas. It has gaming, nightlife and shows. The beauty is its 3½ hours from L.A. A lot of the guys like going to Lake Mead or Lake Havasu. There’s a lot more to Vegas than casinos and gaming. There’s amazing performers, some of the best shopping, great restaurants and they love the golf here.”
Southern Highlands, Summerlin and Henderson are the top options, and many players who buy like to lease their homes out during the NBA season, Conner said. “The Southern Highlands master plan has been very appealing this year,” Conner said. “A lot of NBA players like the security behind those gates.”
Other NBA players
In February, O’Neal paid $765,000 for a home that measures 5,440 square feet near Southern Highlands Parkway and Valley View Boulevard that has a pool with a swim-up bar, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
In July, Norman Powell, a member of the defending champion Toronto Raptors and California native, paid $2.72 million for a 6,103-square-foot home built in 2017 with six bedrooms and seven baths in Southern Highlands. It has an indoor-outdoor pool and rooftop deck.
Also in July, former NBA player Jeremy Pargo, who now plays basketball overseas, closed on a Summerlin home for $1.16 million. That home built in 2019 measures 4,396 square feet with four bedrooms and 4½ baths.
Farmar, the former NBA player and a two-time champion with the Lakers, built a new home in Southern Highlands that was completed over the summer.
The $3.5 million Mediterranean-style home measures 6,550 square feet with three bedrooms and classroom for homeschooling. There’s a casita in the front portion of the home and a $350,000 pool in the backyard with a slide and waterfall.
About the mansion
Price: $8 million
Location: 9511 Kings Gate, Queensridge
Size: Sits on 1.9 acres. The two-story, 20,120-square-foot home has 10 bedrooms, 12 baths and four-car garage and a pool guest house with kitchen.
Features: Gated compound estate has grand porte-cochere entrance, circular drive and motor court. Other features include three-quarter indoor basketball court with a scoreboard, gym, movie theater, billiards room with extensive wet bar, sports media room, offices, resort-style pool and spa with a waterfall, elevator and saltwater aquarium.
History: It was built in 2003. DeMarcus Cousins bought the home for $6.5 million in October 2017. Cousins spent more than $1 million renovating it. At the peak of the market, the home sold for $12 million.
Listing: Realtor Bob Barnhart, Luxurious Real Estate