NBA star finds La Jolla the perfect place for new home and new marriage
Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris buys a blufftop La Jolla property and pulls off an elaborate surprise proposal to his girlfriend.
NBA star Tobias Harris had the sports world chattering when he posted photos on Instagram of his romantic marriage proposal in La Jolla to longtime girlfriend Jasmine Winton.
The 28-year-old Philadelphia 76ers forward, who signed a five-year, $180 million contract last year, bought a blufftop 5.4-acre lot with ocean views here more than a year ago.
It was on that property that his photographer recorded Winton’s shock and surprise as Harris got down on one knee and proposed Nov. 15.
His Instagram post revealed her answer: “She said, ‘Yes, yes!’”
Setting the mood was a giant carpet of red rose petals in the shape of a 20-foot-wide heart outlined by candles. A path, also strewn with rose petals, led to an elaborately decorated gazebo outfitted with a chandelier, swagged curtains, dinner settings and roses everywhere.
The couple had an intimate engagement dinner celebration with Winton’s best friend and her friend’s husband from Los Angeles.
Harris said in a phone interview that he tricked Winton into going to the lot that day by telling her that Architectural Digest was doing a photo shoot.
He met Winton on a blind date when he played for the Detroit Pistons from 2016 to 2018. The following year, he was in Los Angeles shooting hoops for the Clippers.
He initially talked about moving to Hawaii when his girlfriend protested that it was too far from family. She suggested he consider San Diego.
“I’d never been to San Diego,” he said, “but I told her I’ll look at it. I started doing a lot of research on San Diego online and came across La Jolla.”
The stars seemed to align when the couple went on vacation and several people happened to mention La Jolla.
“This seems like a destined thing,” Harris said. The couple visited San Diego and toured the area.
“We fell in love with it, and we fell in love with the people,” he said. “There was a real sense of happiness and enjoyment of the sun, the beautiful weather, the location.”
After a few visits, they toured some homes for sale and fell in love with a newly built six-bedroom La Jolla house with spectacular coastal views. It had been on the market for months.
Harris submitted an offer but missed out when another buyer swooped in at the last minute.
Friends convinced the disappointed couple that this offered a new opportunity. So they kept looking. Soon they came across a vacant plot with amazing north coastal views and decided to build a forever home.
“We were up on the property praying that everything would work out OK and move in a positive direction,” Harris said. It did.
In the 16 months since, they’ve been designing their dream home and starting the building permit process.
Local land surveyor Michael Pallamary, who has been working with Harris and the city on the development plans, said he’s impressed with Harris’ character and admires his generosity. Harris gave $1 million to nine Philadelphia charities last year after signing his 76ers contract.
“He took time to meet with my granddaughter, Paige, the last time he was in town.” Pallamary said, noting that Harris doesn’t have ties to San Diego. “He just loved the area.”
Harris originally planned to propose on vacation, but the COVID-19 pandemic nixed that. So he decided that the lot, with its sentimental value, was the perfect place. Harris was on the phone for hours with planners arranging all the romantic details, including the huge heart.
The couple hasn’t yet set a wedding date.
“When I’m done with basketball and retired, I’m going to be waking up every day in La Jolla and enjoying my family,” Harris said.
The design of the 15,600-square-foot home looks very modern from the outside, with its walls of glass framing ocean and canyon views. But inside it will be a mix of traditional and modern. “We want it to be a homey home,” Harris said.
One of his favorite features is an infinity pool. The estate also will include a movie theater, weight room and large family play area.
“I’m all about activity,” Harris said.
His next big California adventure: “I want to learn how to surf.” ◆
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