Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Hilarious New Heights Podcast Story on How Joe Namath Inspired Bodybuilding Growth

Arnold Schwarzenegger rose to stardom as an actor and bodybuilder, and says his motivation to grow the sport came from NFL legend Joe Namath.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is well-known for both his acting chops and being a famous bodybuilder who helped elevate the sport beyond its once lowly heights. Schwarzenegger recently spoke with the Kelce brothers about drawing inspiration for growing the sport from NFL legend Joe Namath’s success.

Joe Namath Inspired Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Passion for Bodybuilding

Schwarzenegger discussed his inspiration for growing the sport of bodybuilding during this week’s episode of the New Heights podcast, hosted by brothers Travis and Jason Kelce. Travis is a current NFL player for the Kansas City Chiefs, while Jason recently retired after a lengthy NFL career.

Schwarzenegger told the pair that his motivation started from seeing Namath’s fame during the height of his career and the many endorsements he raked in cash from doing compared to Schwarzenegger’s lack of income from bodybuilding.

“In bodybuilding, I had to go and do bricklaying jobs,” Schwarzenegger said. “I made no money in bodybuilding. There was nothing. There were no sponsorships or anything. Joe Namath was on television, this great football player, and I’m watching TV and seeing him advertising and endorsing pantyhose. I said, ‘Are you f—— kidding me?”

Namath, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, was widely known in the 1960s and ’70s as a long-time quarterback for the New York Jets. He famously led the Jets to victory in Super Bowl III, where they beat the then-Baltimore Colts 16-7, just days after guaranteeing New York would win the game.

Schwarzenegger highlighted the lucrative endorsement money earned from many of his pursuits as a driving force behind wanting to increase his own paydays in bodybuilding.

“Way back then, he gets $1 million for an endorsement,” Schwarzenegger said. “Way back then, the early ’70s! So I said to myself, I have to go and do something to build the sport of bodybuilding, build it up so it gets some popularity. It would never get like football, but to get some popularity. This was then my mission.”

The rest is history as Schwarzenegger went on to help popularize the sport of bodybuilding alongside carving out a successful acting career and becoming an iconic figure for generations.

Who knows whether any of that would have happened without Schwarzenegger finding motivation to grow the sport somewhere, and perhaps he would have found another source outside of Namath had the latter not been quite as famous or earned less endorsement money.

But if Schwarzenegger’s story is to be believed, Namath had at least some impact on the rise of Schwarzenegger and bodybuilding as it’s known today.

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