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Newport Beach: An athlete's haven

March 10, 2000

"He didn't really like where he was living," Mitchell said. "It's a young

crowd down there and Shawn was growing out of that. He looked at Lido

Isle but decided on a home up

north."

Newport also appeals to athletes because of its proximity to Los Angeles,

the entertainment capital of the world. They are expected to shoot

commercials, appear on radio talk shows and sign books.

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"Athletes want that proximity to Los Angeles without all the urban

crowding," said sports and entertainment superagent Leigh Steinberg,

whose office is in Newport Beach.

Steinberg should know, considering his list of endorsement-friendly

clients, such as NFL quarterbacks Mark Brunell and Drew Bledsoe.

Traveling to Orange County also has had some athletes dreaming of the

California coast when their careers are finished.

"Steve Young, Troy Aikman, and Warren Moon have all expressed interest

about living here," Steinberg said. "Some of these guys are frightened

off by the high expense of living here. I know it sounds strange, given

some of their salaries. But the competition is fierce here in Newport.

There are a lot of people, even from different countries, looking to buy

here."

Newport has its share of competition. Laguna Beach would probably be more

in demand, but there are only two roads leading into town, making access

difficult. Dana Point is home to southpaw pitcher Randy Johnson, but he

plays in Arizona and he was looking for an oceanfront home.

Aside from its location, Newport has plenty to offer: fine dining,

spacious beaches and panoramic ocean views. Perhaps most important is

privacy. With so many celebrity types living in one area, no one is

really interested in bothering others.

"It's an area you can live in private without being disturbed on a daily

basis," said Brian Foxcroft. "There are a lot of people with new money

moving here. It's one of the best places you can possibly live."

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