Shawn Marion inside his master closet. Marion's collections include more than 400 pairs of shoes (his favorites are by Louis Vuitton), and a collection of 10 automobiles including vintage classics, which he stores on risers in his 3-car garage.
Text by Rebecca Sherman
Photography by Justin Clemons
Shawn Marion Chills at Home
On the court, Dallas Mavericks forward Shawn "The Matrix" Marion is an athletic powerhouse known for his unblockable shots and his quick and versatile playing style. Off the court, he's a bit more low key. "I chill. I love being at home. The older you get the more you don't need to go out," says Marion, 32, who owns a large brownstone in downtown Chicago where he spends his summers, a townhouse in Phoenix where he played eight years for the Suns, and an 8,500 square-foot showplace in Miami procured during a recent stint for the Heat.
Marion's 12,600 square-foot mansion in far north Dallas has six bedrooms, eight baths, a full gym, wine room, a tricked-out game room, and a private night club.
Shawn Marion Puts His Stamp on House #4
When Marion signed a $39-million, five-year contract with the Mavericks in July 2009, one of the first things on his list was to acquire a new pad in town. "I was shopping for a big home that I could customize and put my stamp on," says Marion, a bachelor who's a free agent till the right girl comes along. House number four (pictured above) is a lavish, 12,600 square-foot, $4 million-plus manse in far north Dallas, built by Simmie Cooper of Cooper Homes, Inc.
The living and entry areas have sweeping 32-foot ceilings, Italian marble floors and Venetian plaster walls. All of the furniture was custom made for Marion to accommodate his NBA-sized body as well as to accommodate the massive scale of the rooms.
Dallas Designer Joanie Wyll Works Her Magic
"I walked in, and it was completely empty, but it was beautiful. It just told me, "This is the house. This is the one," says Marion. "The rooms are perfectly sized, not too big, not too small. It's my pride and joy." Modern with classical influences, it's a spec house with an unexpected twist: Cooper hired Ron Bogard of Childress Architectural Group to do the architecture, and interior designer Joanie Wyll of Wyll Interior Design to carry out the interior finishes, which include Venetian plaster walls and exotic macassar ebony cabinets.
The wall to the left is made of highly polished African sapele mahogany, and the fireplace surround is made of light Emperador marble.
"[Simmie Cooper] sees the importance of having a designer and architect from the very beginning on a house, explains Wyll, who met Marion after he purchased the house and had interviewed a string of designers to help him furnish it. Says Marion: "I went with Joanie because she understood the house the best."
Designer Joanie Wyll and furniture manufacturer William & Wesley collaborated on the custom design of all of the furniture.
Shawn Marion Shops Till He Drops
Said to be one of the most efficient players in the NBA, Marion approached decorating his new Dallas digs with as much focus and passion as he exhibits on the court. "I had to be hands-on. I'm like that with everything, whether it's picking out furniture or cars, I make sure I'm involved," says Marion, who pounded the pavements in the Dallas Design District with Wyll before voluntarily benching himself. "After one day, he said, "I'm done, just bring stuff to me from now on," Wyll remembers with a laugh. "But Shawn approved every fabric, accessory and piece of furniture. He knew what he wanted. His taste is minimalist and very sophisticated."
Marion is hands-on in everything he does, including the design of all his homes. With his Dallas home, he approved every accessory, fabric, and finish.
In the living room, Marion's taste for neutral, sleek interiors is reflected in the house's organic color palette, the use of metals such as stainless steel.
All of the art in the house was commissioned and carried out by Dallas painter and sculptor Doug Van Voorhis. Because the furniture and fabric were muted, the art could pop with color, explains Wyll.
The Softer Side of Modern
The Matrix's design influences? Some of the most stylish hotels in the country where he's spent many nights on the road and the multimillion dollar modernist cribs that belong to teammates and friends. "A lot of contemporary homes and hotels are not livable," says Marion, who names the W Hotels as one of his favorites. "I've been in places that were beautiful, but dude, you don't want to touch nothing, and you don't know what's what, or what's where, because everything is hidden in the walls. You can't find anything. I didn't want that. You gotta have that home feel."
The massive dining room allowed for large-scale custom pieces such as a 13-foot buffet and 12-foot table, both custom made of ribbon sapele mahogany by William & Wesley Co. Chairs are by Brueton and Beacon Hill. The cut crystal obelisks are by Dallas artist Kathleen Allen of Verita.
When Marion's home in between games, you'll likely find him hanging out in the kitchen grilling fish or turkey burgers for friends. Those gleaming cabinets are made from African macassar ebony.
For Marion, that "home feel" means comfort. And for a guy who's 6' 7" and 228 lbs., comfort means custom made. All of the furniture in his house was built by Dallas-based William & Wesley Co., not only to fit Marion's NBA-sized frame but to accommodate the luxurious scale of the house with its 32-foot ceilings. Chairs and sofas were made deeper than normal and a cast bronze bed was commissioned with an extra large mattress that took months to make. All of the paintings and sculptures in the house, many of them colorful, were custom made by Dallas artist Doug Van Voorhis.
Marion's bed is custom made from cast bronze. Because he's too tall to fit comfortably in a king sized mattress, an extra-large custom one was made.
"We did a limited number of really good furniture pieces so that everything stands out," says Wyll, who used materials such as stainless steel and exotic woods such as sapele mahogany, with some of the furnishings accented in silver leaf. Mohair and leather upholstery in Marion's favorite colors -- brown, taupe, and black -- keep it all soft and luxurious.
Bespoke is definitely better, Marion attests. "I didn't want anything you can go into a store and grab. You won't see anything in my house anywhere else.. There's a higher markup when you get things made, but you gotta do it right," he says, then starts laughing. "The highest markups I pay are on furniture and alcohol."
A favorite decor item, Marion bought this silver-plated jewelry box skull online.
The master bath is done in light Emperador and Carrara marbles.
The Matrix's collection of cool colognes....
The Matrix's media room is often filled with teammates and friends when he's in town, where they watch movies on Blu-ray.
Shawn Marion Cooks
For a guy who travels nine months out of the year playing ball, it's no wonder Marion hides out at home when he's in town. "I dibble dabble in the kitchen," he confides. "I like to grill seafood, fish, chicken, turkey burgers, things like that. I'm either hanging out in the kitchen or in the bedroom." In addition to six bedrooms and eight baths, Marion's mansion is stocked with a full gym, a temperature controlled wine room, and a tricked out entertainment room where he watches rented movies on Blu-ray with teammates and pals. There's also a private nightclub he designed himself, dubbed Club Trix, where people often drop by after the bars close to hear him spin. "I'm working on my DJ skills," he quips.
Video game classics in the game room....
A custom "Matrix 31" logo on the pool table in the game room...
Marion, spinning in the private nightclub inside his home, where friends often come to hang out long after the bars have closed....
Right Up His Alley
Can there be anything next for a guy who seems to have it all? "One day I want to have my own bowling alley. Bowling for me is like golf for everyone else. I love it. I can spend three or four hours at a time at the lanes, and it's a great way to relax. That's next for me. I want to build a big house from the ground up and put a bowling alley in it," he declares. If the Matrix has plans to defect from the NBA to the PBA any time soon, he's not saying. But Mark Cuban, you might want to watch your back.
My story featuring Shawn Marion at home also appears in the January 2011 issue of Modern Luxury, go here to read it (turn to page 42).