Thanks to a $5 million donation, the sports hall at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science has a new name: the Lamar Hunt Family Sports Hall.
Lamar Hunt’s four children were on hand Monday for the announcement. They made the donation to honor their father, the sports legend who formed both the American Football League and Major League Soccer, and gave the Super Bowl its name. Lamar Hunt died in 2006.
“Our hope is that the Lamar Hunt Family Sports Hall will be a space where future generations come together to explore the science of sports and develop curiosity and compassion for the world around them,” Clark Hunt, chairman of FC Dallas and CEO of the Kansas City Chiefs, said in a statement.
Hunt’s four children — Sharron Hunt, Lamar Hunt, Jr., Dan Hunt and Clark Hunt (below, with their mother, Norma) — spoke at the announcement to mark the occasion, as did Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who extolled the practical and inspirational benefits of the Hunt sports franchises. As a child growing up in Kansas City, Rawlings said, he’d been inspired by the Chiefs to try out for football. Eventually, he earned a college sports scholarship. Also on hand for the announcement were FC Dallas players Kellyn Acosta, Peter Luccin and George John.
Not all of the talk was about sports, though. Dan Hunt, vice president of Hunt Sports Group, pointed out that his father had been a petroleum geologist before he started in sports. Lamar, his son said, would have happily ditched the naming ceremony to go explore the Perot Museum’s displays of gems and minerals. He also would have appreciated the Perot’s design.
“Lamar would be so proud to have his name associated with such a magnificent building,” Dan Hunt said. “He loved architecture. We often kid that he was not only a sports genius but surely an amateur architect at heart. And I know that he would have loved this building both inside and out.”
Perot officials say the sports hall is already one of the museum’s most popular spots. The space allows visitors to explore the physics and physiology of sports – including running, kicking, dancing and hitting. The hall also showcases sports-related careers with video featuring pediatric orthopedists, sports medicine experts, body-in-motion performance scientists, dietitians and fitness trainers.
The sports hall received unwanted attention last December when an exhibit tore off a visitor’s ring finger. The visitor’s ring got hooked on a button that was part of the exhibit. The visitor, an engineer from Mexico, lost the finger as a result of the incident.