Society / Featured Parties

MVP Night at Toyota Center Brings NBA Legends and Superstar Houston Doctors Together: A Rare Behind the Scenes Look — and Dinner on the Court

BY // 10.29.18
photography Priscilla Dickson

Shaking hands with Elvin Hayes in Toyota Center’s swank Lexus Lounge is a moment that will long live with me. Not so much because of his NBA legend status but more because of the size of his hand. Enormous from my 5-foot-8 perspective. But proportionate for the 6-foot-9 retired Rocket. I’m sure a basketball could disappear in those hands.

That special moment was just one of many for the 145 guests attending Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital‘s “A Night of MVPs,” which offered a behind-the-scenes tour of the arena, including the Rockets’ locker room, the workout room with its ginormous treadmill, cocktails in the Lexus Lounge and dinner in a beautifully decorated corner of the arena floor.

Throughout the festivities, Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni and wife Laurel, Rockets GM Daryl Morey and Rockets players Gerald Green and P.J. Tucker  joined a clutch of retired players that included Clyde Drexler, Mario Elie, Moochie Norris and Calvin Murphy. Each table was hosted by a Children’s Memorial Hermann physician and a basketball legend.

Elie was beyond entertaining at his table with his basketball insights and commenting on the trophy controversy. When Les Alexander sold the Rockets to Tilman Fertitta, he took the NBA championship trophies with him.

“If a man pays $2 billion for a team,” Elie mused, “he should at least get the trophies.” No worries for Fertitta. He had replicas made of the 1994 and 1995 title trophies that were on display and available for photo ops.

Memorial Hermann and the Rockets have a long-running relationship. Dr. Walter Lowe, Memorial Hermann orthopedic surgeon, is the team’s lead physician. The MVPs on this evening were the basketball greats as well as the hospital system’s great physicians.

The invitation-only evening was a serious friend-raising effort as there was no tariff to attend and no appeal for money. Rather Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital CEO Susan Distefano simply asked that guests spread the word on the hospital’s good works. That was brought home by Dr. Jorge Salazar, co-director of the children’s heart center who spoke of a baby, born with only half a heart, that his team was able to save.

The event was chaired by Rachel Regan, who spoke of her personal experience with Children’s Memorial Hermann, Christine Falgout and Melissa Juneau and attended primarily by influencers among the next generation of community leadership. Appealing to the young at heart of everyone attending, Clutch, Mini Clutch and the Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital mascot Topper the Giraffe joined in the early evening ribbon cutting of the new CMHH Sky Court, an inter-active sports-themed space.

PC Seen: Jo Lynn and Gregg Falgout, Bill Gutknecht, Tom Regan, Elizabeth and Zach Fertitta, Brittany and Kevin Kushner, Valerie and Tracy Dieterich, Alicia and Lance Smith, Paige Fertitta, Molly and Matt LaFauci, Anat and Jay Zeidman, Holly and Austin Alvis, Karen and Roland Garcia, Leslie and Andy Snelgrove, Ben and Bethany Buchanan, Monica Bickers and Erin Stewart.

Docs in the house: Matt Greives, Chuck Cox,Robert Hanfland, Barbara Stoll, Kevin Lally, John Breinholt, Jon Meliones, Chuck Cox, KuoJen Tsao and more.

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