By Michael Ventre | October 1, 2015 | People
Move over, Hollywood! LA's most styling men make blockbuster plays, not movies. Meet five wonders of the pro-sports world who score as big-time on the court/field/slopes as they do on the fashion red carpet.
At first glance, it doesn’t make sense. Why would Andre Ethier of the Los Angeles Dodgers—thoughtful, intelligent, devoted family man, loyal teammate, gourmet-food reviewer—be the target of constant persecution via trade rumors over his 10 seasons in the major leagues? If you think it’s because the baseball gods decided to pick on the one guy on the roster who could probably handle it, you might have just knocked that one out of the park.
“Those trade rumors back and forth,” says the 33-year-old outfielder, who happens to be the longest-tenured Dodger on the current roster, “they help fuel you and keep you on your toes. You gotta keep your nose down and keep grinding it out and figure out a way to come back and finish each season strong.” And he’s definitely doing his part in 2015—Ethier’s batting average hovered at .300 entering September, as the revamped Dodgers and their $300 million payroll vie for their first World Series title since 1988.
When he’s not at Chavez Ravine driving in runs or chasing down fy balls, the Phoenix native is doting on wife Maggie—a former gymnast whom he met while they both attended Arizona State—and sons Dreson and Retton. He also likes to eat superbly, which motivated him to create the blog “Dining with ’Dre.” (He had to stop because he found himself as finicky about getting the blog perfect as he is about hitting—and he just didn’t have the time to do it right.)
With two more years plus an option left on his current contract, Ethier is instead focusing on defying the odds by playing his entire MLB career with the same team—and winning a championship. “One thing I hope to do is to one day walk of the field knowing my only games were played with the Dodgers,” he says. “And I know what it means to the city and the fans to be able to bring a World Series home. I think that’s all I have left to really stamp a great career.”
“A good pair of jeans that you can wear with a T-shirt as well as a nice collared shirt. When traveling on 10-day road trips, there’s only so much you can take with you—you have to be able to multitask that pair of jeans for day and night!”
“Parks Barbeque in Koreatown (955 S. Vermont Ave., LA, 213-380-1717). It’s open until 2 am. Being a ballplayer, you don’t get off the field until 11, 11:30 at night, so it’s hard to find a good [late-night] meal.”
“Double Stuf Oreos. I find myself quadruple-stuffing them. I’ll take the cream out of two and put it into one!”
Jacket, Canali ($1,725). 9547 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-270-4200. Shirt, Lanvin ($745). 260 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-402-0580. Jeans, Dolce & Gabbana ($675). 314 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-888-8701. Watch and jewelry, White’s own
It isn’t surprising that a guy who circumnavigated the globe using skateboards and snowboards is difficult to pigeonhole. If the name Shaun White conjures images of a shaggy redhead holding up gold medals while flashing a grill that can light up the dullest party, you either need to increase your Internet speed or get out more. Sure, White made his bones with aerial maneuvers shocking enough to put NORAD on alert (winning two Olympic gold medals along with myriad X Games and ESPY bling in the process).
But he’s also a bona fide cottage industry, an LA-based entrepreneur, an ageless pillar of pop culture—and he plays a wicked Les Paul in the rock band Bad Things. In fact, one of his coolest moments came in August 2013, at Lollapalooza in Chicago, when his band was called upon to fill in on the main stage when headliner Azealia Banks had to cancel. “It was so much fun to hear the fans cheering for us,” he says. “It turned out really great and put us on the map.”
Besides his axe and band mates, his other passions these days are promoting his global event series Air + Style, a festival (coming to LA February 20–21, 2016) combining snowboard competitions with live music, and working to coordinate a tour that will help integrate Big Air snowboarding events into the Olympics. None of this charmed life would be possible if he didn’t come from a super-supportive family. “We lived in San Diego and would spend weekends in the mountains,” explains the 29-year-old, who turned pro as a skateboarder at age 17. “That’s why it was always fun. [Snowboarding] wasn’t there for me every day, which might have caused me to get bored with it. My parents were smart enough to keep me balanced.” Of course, when you’re Shaun White and you’re constantly challenging the space-time continuum on some kind of board, balance is a relative term.
“You can’t really go wrong with an everyday leather or denim jacket—they’re always timeless.”
“For food, Cecconi’s (8764 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, 310-432-2000) always rocks. And my current favorite place to go out is a little spot called Break Room 86 in Koreatown (630 S. Ardmore Ave., LA, 213-268-3056).”
“I love a good rom-com!”
If you scored the goal in double overtime that won the Stanley Cup, chances are you’d tool around LA in a starlet-filled Bentley, get the primo table at the overbooked restaurant simply by winking at the chef, greet adoring throngs from your balcony with a pontifical wave of your hand, and endorse every product that carries a trademark.
But that is definitely not how Alec Martinez rolls. He feels much more comfortable on the sand than he does on the red carpet, and you can often find him engaged in an intensely casual game of beach volleyball with some of his Los Angeles Kings teammates near his Hermosa Beach digs. Yet he doesn’t travel completely under the radar. The New York Rangers found that out the hard way when Martinez zinged a rebound past almost-impenetrable goaltender Henrik Lundqvist in Game 5 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals to capture the Cup, the Kings’ second in three years. His celebration afterward earned him the nickname “Jazz Hands,” for the zany way he shook them in ecstasy. Martinez had previously gained notice for scoring the clinching goal in the series before that, in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks.
If the 28-year-old defenseman were an old suitcase, he’d have more travel stickers on him than most. Born in Rochester Hills, Michigan, he played his early years in Northern California, then collegiately at Miami of Ohio, and was drafted by the Kings in 2007. On the ice, Martinez personifies hustle and teamwork; of it, he’s as laid-back as a pair of flip-flops. And he doesn’t let that indelible moment of glory go to his cranium. “Every kid who ever picked up a hockey stick in his driveway has scored that goal in his head,” he says. “For me, to do it in real life, it’s pretty special. But at the end of the day it’s about the team, regardless of who scored that goal.” For his team-first attitude, let’s give Jazz Hands a hand.
“I keep things pretty simple. I’m a jeans and T-shirt kind of guy.”
“It’s no secret that a lot of us [from the team] go to the North End Bar & Grill in Hermosa (2626 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach, 310-379-5379). I prefer dive bars over nightclubs.”
“Ice cream! I’m the biggest sucker for ice cream. I love the Cream’wich from Manhattan Beach Creamery (1120 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, 310-372-1155).”
Jacket, AllSaints ($650). Bloomingdale’s, Beverly Center, 310-360-2700. T-shirt, Sandro ($125). Bloomingdale’s, see above
First-round draft picks in the NBA get VIP treatment, massive attention, and lots of endorsement love. Second-round draft picks get green-room leftovers and a world atlas, because chances are they won’t make an NBA roster and will need to find some far-flung corner of the basketball globe in which to earn a living. Then there is Jordan Clarkson, 23, one of those marvelously rare exceptions—a budding star drafted 46th overall in 2014 out of Missouri, who happened to land at one of professional sports’ most storied franchises: the Los Angeles Lakers.
In his rookie season, Clarkson appeared in 59 of 82 games, starting 38 of them, and averaged nearly 12 points a game. Granted, the Lakers didn’t have their best season in 2014–15. But the 6-foot-5 Clarkson’s moxie, work ethic, and poise, mixed with regular flashes of brilliance, earned him inclusion on the NBA’s All-Rookie first team. “It was a rough year for us,” says the native of Tampa, Florida, who has been squiring supermodel Chanel Iman about LA of late. “But it gave me the opportunity to play and get better! This year I want to do even more in terms of performing and producing.”
With the return of Kobe Bryant from injury, along with first-round draft picks Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell, plus veteran additions Roy Hibbert and Lou Williams, the Lakers hope to treat their fans to a much better product. And Clarkson is not only expected to be integral to that efort, he is also spreading the Lakers gospel: His mom is Filipino, and when he visited the Philippines this past summer, he got quite the loving reception. “The fans are passionate there,” he says. “They showed great love and support for me.” Not too many second-rounders turn out to be frst-rate. The struggling Lakers are grateful they have this one.
“Definitely my wristband; I always wear beaded wristbands.”
“Mastro’s Steakhouse (246 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-888-8782). I usually go there right after a game.”
“Popeyes fried chicken!”
All clothing and accessories, Rogers’s own
Robbie Rogers is gay. And he’s out. Somewhere along the lengthy and arduous march for LGBT rights, from Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment to the Stonewall riots all the way up to Edith Windsor and the Supreme Court’s four landmark rulings between 1996 and 2015, such a revelation ceased to be eye-popping news in everyday life.
Yet there are still some cement-headed pockets of society where intolerance thrives. One of them is professional sports. Since Rogers, 28, is a star soccer player who once traipsed upon Europe’s pitches as a member of the Leeds United club and now stars for the Los Angeles Galaxy, even he was concerned his sexuality might be an issue and retired from the game he loved for four and a half months after coming out via his own blog post in February 2013. “I heard so many crazy homophobic things,” he explains. “I wasn’t willing to put my mental health at risk. It made me think that no way would I want to be in that environment. It was really scary.”
But after some refection, and discussions with family and friends, he changed his mind, realizing he could make an impact as a role model. And wouldn’t you know it? Intolerance quickly evaporated around him. “The same people who I heard having discussions in the locker room about how somebody could be gay and how it was disgusting,” he recalls, “were the same guys supporting me and asking me to come back to play. There’s a pack mentality in sports. It just opened my eyes that these guys don’t really believe what they say and would support me if I came back.”
When Rogers is not toiling as a defender for the Galaxy, the Huntington Beach native and current West Hollywood resident is pitching projects around town with Golden Globe–nominated producer boyfriend Greg Berlanti and dabbling in fashion design. Obviously, these days being “out” is in.
“I love a cool denim jacket.”
“At the moment, E.P. & L.P. on La Cienega (603 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-855-9955). But I really don’t go out that much.”
“Going to Magnolia Bakery (8389 W. 3rd St., LA, 323-951-0636)—the banana pudding is amazing!”
photography by SHANE MCCAULEY. Styling by Angel Terrazas. Grooming for Andre Ethier and Shaun White by Patrick Chai for Exclusive Artists Management. Grooming for Alec Martinez, Jordan Clarkson, and Robbie Rogers by Crystal Tran for Exclusive Artists Management using Oribe Hair Care. Shot on location in the Vivienne Westwood Penthouse at The London West Hollywood hotel. 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-854-1111