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Shelby's Social Diary

Houston's biggest NBA legend teams up with superstar heart surgeon for an unexpected mission

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Heart of Champion February 2013, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Debner
Tim Debner, Hakeem Olajuwon Photo by Ken Hoge/Texas Heart Institute
Heart of Champion, February 2013, Dr. Denton Cooley, Elyse Lanier, Dr. Jim Willerson
Dr. Denton Cooley, Elyse Lanier, Dr. Jim Willerson Photo by Ken Hoge/Texas Heart Institute
Heart of Champion, February 2013, Deborah Duncan, Marcia Straus, Ibrahim Arch
Deborah Duncan, Marcia Strauss, Ibrahim Arch Photo by Ken Hoge/Texas Heart Institute
Heart of Champion, February 2013, Dr. Denton Cooley, Andrea Parker, Jaimie Brochu, Jerry Finn
Andrea Parker, Jaime Brochu, Dr. Denton Cooley, Jerry Finn Photo by Ken Hoge/Texas Heart Institute
Heart of Champion February 2013, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Debner
Heart of Champion, February 2013, Dr. Denton Cooley, Elyse Lanier, Dr. Jim Willerson
Heart of Champion, February 2013, Deborah Duncan, Marcia Straus, Ibrahim Arch
Heart of Champion, February 2013, Dr. Denton Cooley, Andrea Parker, Jaimie Brochu, Jerry Finn

What a clever meeting of two giants from two vastly different worlds — NBA great Hakeem Olajuwon and world-renowned heart surgeon Dr. Denton Cooley teaming up for a Texas Heart Institute fundraiser that doubled as a chichi launch of Olajuwon's tony clothing and leather goods label DR34M.

The gathering was billed as "Heart of a Champion/Champion of Hearts." Indeed.

More than 200 interested parties turned out at the cocktail reception, sponsored by Knoll and held in the Knoll showroom in Williams Tower on Post Oak Boulevard. KHOU Channel 11's Deborah Duncan handled auction duties.

 The gathering was billed as "Heart of a Champion/Champion of Hearts." Indeed.  

Welcoming guests were Olajuwon, Cooley and THI president Dr. Jim Willerson. In addition to the soft sell fundraising effort on behalf of THI, the evening served to showcase select items from Olajuwon's new design line.

To-die-for auction items that helped raise funds included a one-of-a-kind red leather Knoll “Barcelona” chair that had the basketball great's autograph embossed into the leather and a dinner at Tony's for 10 guests with Olajuwon, donated by Tony Vallone

Making the scene were Elyse Lanier, Marcia Strauss, Ibrahim Arch, Tim Debner, Andrea Parker, Jaime Brochu, Lisa Hulick, Rebecca Trahan and Jerry Finn.

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