L.A. lawyer Jesse Debban has always played basketball as a hobby, but the 27-year-old took it up a notch when he began competing in tournaments hosted by the Landau Lawyers League, a local sports organization that caters to law firm personnel.

The 6-foot-3-inch associate at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP led his team to a 65-57 victory in the championship game, scoring 24 points and taking the MVP title.

But Debban isn't boasting about his skills. He passes any accolades to teammate Scott Gaffield, who played on Yale University's basketball team when he was an undergraduate.

"The reason they chose me as MVP of the game is because I scored the most points," he said. "But I feel a little bit embarrassed accepting it."

Why? "The other team was guarding Scott, so I would stand below the basket and he would throw the ball to me."

Paging History

Real estate broker Jeffrey Hyland, president of brokerage Hilton & Hyland, has found a way to parlay his love for architecture and local history into a writing career.

In November, Hyland self-published the coffee-table book "The Legendary Estates of Beverly Hills," which is being distributed by Rizzoli. The tome includes photos and essays on 50 homes in Beverly Hills, Holmby Hills and Bel-Air.

"You try to take whatever your profession is and make the most fun out of it," said Hyland, who has visited all the homes in the book, which also includes a chapter on estates that have been torn down. "I can't say it is ever boring when you are showing and selling very expensive estates, but there is also the enjoyment of getting into the history of the various estates."

The book is filled with old-time stories of Hollywood scandals and intrigue. Despite those tales, Hyland had fretted that the book may be too academic. So he carried out a writer's toughest duty: self-editing. He cut about 20 percent of his text.

Public Performance

Going through the "revolving door" switching between the public and private sectors might be controversial to some, but Dan Rosenfeld sees it as a moral obligation.

The 56-year-old real estate veteran spent the first half of his career in the private sector, then joined the administration of former Gov. Pete Wilson to help manage the state's real estate development arm. After a brief stint in the business world, he managed the real estate assets for the city of Los Angeles under former Mayor Richard Riordan.

Rosenfeld returned to the private sector about 10 years ago and co-founded Urban Partners LLC, a development company focused on infill and transit-oriented projects.

This week, Rosenfeld walks back through the revolving door again: He's been named planning deputy to newly elected County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

"I think that people in the private sector who have relevant expertise should, whenever possible, offer that expertise to the public sector," Rosenfeld said. "It's a moral obligation to do more than pay taxes."

As for going the other way: "All public employees should spend some time in the private sector. They gain a lot of expertise."

Staff reporters Alexa Hyland, Daniel Miller and Howard Fine contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at ccrumpley@labusinessjournal.com.

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