Lamar is a somewhat unprepossessing man, quite modest, even naive. Like his father, he does not drink liquor or coffee and has never smoked ( H. L. Hunt quit smoking cigars when he figured out that he had used up $300,000 worth of his time tearing off the wrappers). Though he has now moved into an elegant section of Dallas and lives in a large home that resembles his father's version of Mount Vernon, Lamar still dresses like a preacher and cannot bring himself to use the power of the Hunt name in a public place. Some years ago Lamar was trying to recruit a Mississippi guard named Bookie Bolin. He took Bolin in one of the Hunt airplanes to Las Vegas and later to San Diego, a trip that resulted in the University of Mississippi threatening to bar AFL scouts from its campus and Bolin signing with the New York Giants. While in Las Vegas, Lamar's party, which included his football team's general manager, Jack Steadman, and Lamar's old friend, Buzz Kemble, was standing in a long line in a hotel lobby, waiting to see the Mitzi Gaynor show. As in all nightclubs, of course, the fix was operating with the guardian of the entrance, and dozens of people were moving in ahead of Lamar's party. Finally someone said, "Lamar, why don't you say something to that guy at the door?"
"What could I say?" asked Lamar.
"Tell him you're Bunker Hunt," was the reply.
"Hunt?" said the man at the door. "If you're a friend of Bunker Hunt's, come right in."
Thoroughly surprised and delighted, Lamar was escorted to a ringside table. "That Bunker sure knows his way around," Lamar said.
Though he has been seen at league meetings with holes in his shoes and has frequently borrowed small sums from acquaintances, Lamar can be generous. A 16-handicap golfer, he won a member-guest tournament at a Fort Worth country club and gave the substantial amount of prize money to his partner. His wife has tried to mod-ify his manner of dress. "I stay after him, but he never changes," she says. However, he did approve of flaming red as the color for the official blazers of his football team. In a Dallas nightclub one evening two men who identified themselves as a famous acrobatic team called The Flying Punzars borrowed the red blazers off the backs of Lamar and Jack Steadman. The Flying Punzars went into the spotlight, requested a fanfare and a drum roll and then did an involved trick that landed one of them in the drums and the other dazed and flattened on the floor. "These red jackets are just the thing we need to attract attention," Lamar said.
Before the decision to merge the two football leagues, Lamar kept busy in the competition to sign players. His results were mixed. When the Texans acquired draft rights to Quarterback Roman Gabriel, Lamar called him up at college and talked to him for more than half an hour, offering insurance plans, investment opportunities, whatever he believed might induce Gabriel to join the AFL. It was not until two years later that Lamar found out he had not been talking to Gabriel but to Los Angeles Rams General Manager Elroy Hirsch, who hung up the phone and signed Gabriel to a contract. "Those days were interesting, enjoyable, unforgettable, but it's just as well they're over," Lamar says. Though he and Clint Murchison Jr. have offices in the same building and occasionally encounter each other in the elevator, they rarely meet socially. An exception was in 1960 when, on Clint's birthday, a large package was carried into a party and Murchison was asked to unwrap his present. Out of the box leaped Lamar. "They really howled," he says.
Lamar decided to move his football team to Kansas City in 1963 for what he admits were in the beginning purely financial reasons. "Clint was determined to stay in Dallas and originally so were we. But we both couldn't survive there, and an economic decision had to be made. Now a lot of people in Dallas are saying the wrong team left town, but it's worked out great for both teams." For the 1971 season, when they hope to be playing in a new 75,000-seat stadium, the Kansas City Chiefs have sold 70,000 season tickets. "We could have sold every seat," Lamar says. "It's phenomenal. Not long ago a lady saw the big Super Bowl world championship ring I was wearing and said, 'Oh, I didn't realize football was lucrative.' Well, it certainly can be."
Lamar considers that he spends his working time 80% in the "entertainment business" and the rest in oil and real-estate ventures. At one point he was principal backer of a professional bowling league which flopped. He is part owner of the Chicago Bulls basketball team. With his nephew, Al Hill Jr., he owns a professional enterprise called World Championship Tennis, which now has such stars as Rod Laver, Pancho Gonzales, Don Newcombe and Tony Roche under contract. With Tommy Mercer of Fort Worth, Lamar owns a baseball team called the Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs which has led the minor leagues in attendance over the last five years, and the Hunt-Mercer combine is trying to obtain a major-league franchise. With Bill McNutt, the fruitcake king from Corsicana, Lamar owns the Dallas Tornado, a team in the North American Soccer League. Despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, Lamar believes soccer will flourish in the United States within 10 years, and he brings good teams from Europe to Dallas so the fans can see them play. His wife agrees. "Soccer has flow, beauty, grace, skill, is easy to understand and requires endurance. It's a great game for women to watch," she says. All these athletic interests have given Lamar probably the most varied assortment of investments in professional sport of any man who ever felt the urge to own himself a team. "I guess I'm the biggest sports investor in terms of projects but not in terms of dollars," he says. "I always go in on the ground floor. The Chiefs, for example, cost me $25,000 for the franchise. Then I had to pay the losses for a few years. But what are the Chiefs worth now? Leonard Tose paid $16 million for the Philadelphia Eagles, and that's far more money than I've put into all my sports endeavors combined, but the Chiefs would have to be worth at least as much as the Eagles. My only sport investment that has practically no worth at the moment is the soccer team, but it will come around in a few years."
His brother Bunker, who has a small financial piece of the soccer league, is afraid Lamar is talking like a fan. "It would be easier to take American football to Europe than bring soccer here," says Bunker. "Soccer doesn't fit the American personality. The game doesn't have enough climaxes. In baseball you have three strikes, three outs, and so forth, and in football you have first downs. In soccer you're just out there kicking the ball around."