2022 HK’s Celebrity Host: Dante HallIn the sports world, INJURY is as good as a four-letter word. However, for former Kansas City Chiefs all-time great wideout and kick returner extraordinaire Dante Hall, a particular injury he faced some 15 years ago
was actually a blessing in disguise.

Without it, he wouldn’t be this year’s celebrity host for HK’s 43rd annual Lake of the Ozarks Open. The annual golf fundraiser, which benefits the Lake Regional Health System, is set for May 19, 2022, at The Cove Golf Club, with day two on May 20, 2022, at the Club at Porto Cima. Just how did a football injury Hall faced in December of 2007 lead to this moment?

Hall, who had never played golf in his life, was in his first season with the St. Louis Rams. After seven spectacular and injury-free years with the Chiefs (2000-06), where he established himself as one of the greatest punt and kick returners in NFL history, Hall suddenly found himself on the NFL’s Injured Reserve due to a high anklesprain that wouldn’t go away.

An avid video gamer, Hall now had lots of free time. He spent most of it competing against his buddy Sylvester Morris in a wide variety of games. Morris, a first-round draft pick by the Chiefs in the same 2000 NFL Draft that saw Hall go in the fifth round, was retired from his playing days but loved competing against his injured pal via video games. Morris was particularly fond of the old EA Sports Tiger Woods golf video game. After being convinced to try the game out, Hall quickly liked it.

“We’re playing the video game, and I started to learn and get into it, and it got to a point where it was real competitive,” said Hall, a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s. “One day he was kicking my butt in this damn game. And I go, ‘you can’t do this in real life, let’s go play for real,’ because at the time we were both living in Houston on a course where they used to play the Shell Houston Open. We went to the range, and of course, we couldn’t come close to doing what we were doing on that video game, but I was hooked on the real thing from that day,” Hall exclaimed.

Cold turkey, Hall put the video controller down and began a love affair with the real-life game of golf that he maintains to this day. He’s taken some lessons but is mostly self-taught, and he’s proud that his index is down to single digits.” I picked up the sticks and haven’t put them down. I fell in love with the game, and that’s just my thing now,” he emphasized.

Now 43 years old, the former human highlight reel with the memorable “X-Factor” nickname is enjoying his life in New Jersey with his wife Katie and four children (bookend boys ages 20 and two, with two girls in the middle, ages six and four).

“I would say the number one thing is, I’m mainly a heavily-involved dad,” said Hall. “I’m very hands-on, and I’m fortunate; my wife has a very successful marketing staffing business she runs. I’m able to still stay involved with sports and athletics but not on a 9 to 5 level, so I just do a lot of different things involving sports, be it an autograph signing, an appearance for the Chiefs, Ambassador work,
car deals, just a plethora of things. Fatherhood is definitely a big chunk of the pie. Every now and then, I help my wife with the business or around the house while she works on the business, and I do my football thing on the side. I’m blessed, that’s for sure,” he stated.

Hall’s oldest daughter is into competitive tennis, and he’s hopeful of getting one of his younger children hooked on golf, the way his buddy Sylvester did with him.

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