Lamar Hunt was a Renaissance man of the sports world. He had his hand in the creation of several sports leagues and teams. Hunt, 74, died late Wednesday night at a Dallas hospital of complications from prostate cancer. His body is dead, but his legacy will certainly live on.
After being denied numerous times by the NFL to buy a franchise, Hunt rounded up prominent investors to start their own football league. Hunt, along with others, started the American Football League (AFL) in 1959. Shortly after, in 1963, Hunt relocated his Dallas Texans team to Kansas City and renamed them the Chiefs. His decision to move to KC was based on a scene he witnessed during a baseball game between the Kansas City Athletics and the New York Yankees. Hunt was enamored with the fan base in Kansas City and was convinced a football team could flourish there.
In 1966, Hunt negotiated with NFL officials and successfully established the merger of the AFL and NFL. He is credited with coining the championship game between the two leagues the “Super Bowl” which today is the most-watched sporting event in the country. The Chiefs played in two of the first four Super Bowls, winning the championship in 1970.
The Truman Sports Complex in Kansas City is also a product of Hunt’s hard work. It was his idea to join Arrowhead Stadium, built in 1972, with Royals Stadium, built in 1973.
Things started to turn for the worse for Hunt in September 1998 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had his prostate gland removed in October 2003. Just one day before Thanksgiving this year, Hunt was taken to a Dallas hospital where he suffered from a partially collapsed lung. He stayed there until his death last night.
Hunt’s ventures stretched far beyond just football. He also formed World Championship Tennis in 1967 and assisted in establishing Major League Soccer in 1996.
Clark Hunt, 41, will take over the family’s sports businesses.