By Daniel Bukszpan

Athletes don't work in offices, restaurants or big box stores like most of us, but that doesn't mean that their lives are stress-free. They need a place to retreat to in the off-season, a sanctuary where they can escape from the anxiety that would plague anyone who's paid millions of dollars to surf for a living.

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Slideshow: Athlete Getaway Homes

What follows are homes where some of the leading athletes flee after the arena goes dark and the crowd roar becomes a distant echo. Some of these houses are on the market, awaiting buyers as their owners downsize. Other homes were just purchased, recession or no recession.

Click here for CNBC's complete slideshow of Athlete Getaway Homes.

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