Chiefs Hall of Fame linebacker Willie Lanier received the Lamar Hunt Lifetime Achievement Award last night at the Kansas City Sports Commission’s 38th annual Sport KC Props ceremony last night. Lanier was the one being honored, but he was more interested in praising the Chiefs founder for which the award was named.
“He was one of the special people in my life,” Lanier said. “One thing I did in Richmond (Va.) for many years was a scholarship fund. This was in 1990, and Lamar said he would come to Richmond and be the guest speaker.
“But that year, the Chiefs played the Los Angeles Rams in a preseason game in Berlin, and Lamar had to be there to promote the game. But he flew from Germany to Washington, D.C., drove down to Richmond and spoke at the dinner before taking an early morning flight home to Dallas. He did a wonderful job. He had committed to being there, and he continued on with all the wonderful things in his life.”
Lanier, the first African-American to start at middle linebacker in the NFL, has raised more than $500,000 for college scholarships in the Richmond area and has enjoyed success in the investment business since retiring from the Chiefs.
I’ve heard from a few of you that were able to go to the event and I’m more jealous than you can imagine. It sounds like Lanier’s speech alone was worth the price of admission. His life story — much like Hunt’s — is gripping and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of an award with the great Chiefs owner’s name on it.