Hakeem Olajuwon turns Clear Lake mansion into high-end boutique

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by Matt Musil / KHOU 11 Sports

khou.com

Posted on February 15, 2013 at 4:58 PM

CLEAR LAKE -- One big star in town for the NBA All-Star Weekend is Hall of Fame legend Hakeem Olajuwon.

The former Houston Rocket is in town from his home in Amman, Jordan to take part in the NBA All-Star Game activities. But he's also here to introduce his "Dream Collection" clothing and apparel store in the historic West Mansion.

He gave KHOU 11 Sports anchor Matt Musil a tour of the iconic "Silver Dollar" Jim West Mansion in Clear Lake.

The former summer home of the late oil and cattle barron was purchased several years ago by the All-Star center as a real estate investment.

"I remember my first time in Clear Lake. I was on my way to Kemah and I saw the mansion sitting by itself. I said, 'Wow, I wonder what is that?"’Olajuwon said.

Olajuwon, 50, has bigger plans for the mansion that was built back in the 1920s. It's become the home for his "passion for fashion."

The signs around the mansion all spell the word DR34M, a play on Olajuwon's jersey number 34 that he wore while leading the Rockets to a pair of NBA Championships in the mid-1990s.

Olajuwon has invested wisely since his 18-year career ended, and he is totally committed to the DR34M Brand. He not only is taking on Gucci, Prada, Coach and all the other "high-end" leather and accessory designers with his name, he actually helps design every item with the DR34M logo on it.

His design room is in the upstairs of the Clear Lake mansion, which now is named the ‘DR34M Mansion.’ Olajuwon says, "I don't want someone to design it for me, I wouldn't be getting the experience. This is my passion."

In the west wing of the mansion you can find Olajuwon’s sportswear room.

"This is the (1995) Championship floor."

"From the Summit?” asked 11 Sports’ Matt Musil.

"From the Summit," says Olajuwon.

Mounted on the wall as you walk into the room, you can see part of the floor from the old Summit which had the NBA finals logo displayed on it.

He also has other sports memorabilia displayed around the mansion, just as a reminder of who owns this beautiful place.

I'm told Olajuwon originally purchased this estate for $6 million, but even though he wouldn't say himself, it's obvious he has spent plenty of money refurbishing the old mansion.

It had stood abandoned for many years, but now it's totally refurbished inside.

Olajuwon has big plans for the mansion and the surrounding estate.

He's offering helicopter service to any of his well-heeled clients who want to avoid the Houston area traffic.

There's also talk of other commercial properties going up on the property, which could include a restaurant and a spa.

Right now shopping inside the mansion is by appointment only, but it will be open to the public at the end of this month.

The DR34M online store should be opening around that same time.

Olajuwon says he wants his customers to enjoy "the experience" when they come to the mansion.

Olajuwon, a devout Muslim, lives in Jordan during the school year so his seven children can learn Arabic.

"When I'm there it's like I'm visiting, because Houston is my home," he said.

As for his love of the Bayou City and its basketball fans, Olajuwon said, "It's one of the great experiences and blessings to be in the city of Houston. A city that consistently embraces me. Thank God for the opportunity."

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