Playing in Los Angeles brings top-tier athletes paychecks that are as fat as those offered anywhere else in the country, but L.A. has something no other market can offer Hollywood.

Not only is L.A. the entertainment capital of the world, but three of the region's pro teams are directly owned by media giants.

The Walt Disney Co., of course, owns the Anaheim Angels and Mighty Ducks. And the L.A. Dodgers, besides being a unit of News Corp.'s Fox Entertainment Group, is run by former Warner Bros. boss Bob Daly.

Nowhere else do the worlds of sports and entertainment merge so neatly, and plenty of local athletes and media execs have taken advantage of the convergence.

Star athletes are regularly offered Hollywood side gigs as an incentive bonus to lure them here.

"Bob Daly made those kinds of commitments to Shawn Green to assist in any way that he could," said Jeff Moorad, the Dodger right fielder's agent. "(Los Angeles) makes sense for the athlete that wants big-market perks. As part of the wining and dining that occurs, the Dodgers are at a decided advantage because of Bob Daly's connections. With him at the helm, the bridge (between sports and Hollywood) is a much more natural one."

Evidence of that bridge was on display in Daly's private box at last season's home opener Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg, Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn and Moorad were on hand to cheer on the boys in blue.

Green is among the numerous top local sports personalities who have made guest appearances on the HBO show "Arli$$," which stars actor Robert Wuhl as a sports agent.

"We look most closely at the rosters of L.A. teams," said Mike Tollin of Tollin-Robbins Production and Management Inc., which produces the show, now heading into its sixth season.

The show is produced at a studio five minutes from Dodger Stadium, and makes use of the marquee athletes based in Los Angeles or those passing through on road trips.

"Our focus is to find people who will be in L.A. as part of the sport they participate in," said Tollin. "We don't want to go back to that (local) well too often. A lot of non-sports fans watch 'Arli$$,' so the athletes who are recognizable to people who never pick up the sports page are more attractive to us."

On the tube

Among the local players who've appeared as themselves on the show are Dodgers Gary Sheffield and Eric Karros, Lakers Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, the Kings' Luc Robitaille and Lamar Odom of the Clippers.

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