Arnold Schwarzenegger Shares How Joe Namath Was His Inspiration To Promote & Grow Bodybuilding

Arnold speaks on how he was inspired by Joe Namath.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger discussed how a New York football legend had an impact on his career.

Arnold Schwarzenegger had many goals during his bodybuilding career. He reached many and was able to turn into the best of all-time. After a championship-filled career, Schwarzenegger had bigger goals for bodybuilding during his retirement. During a recent appearance on the New Heights podcast, Schwarzenegger shared how New York Jets legend Joe Namath served as an inspiration.

Schwarzenegger joined NFL brothers Jason and Travis Kelce to discuss many topics. The legendary bodybuilder began by talking about his work as an author and in politics.

“You have to go all out. It’s now or never. I always go out and try different things.”

Schwarzenegger has always been about building and growing in whatever area he was in at the time. Of course, bodybuilding has always been a priority and he wanted it to grow.

Early in his career, he was inspired by a Super Bowl winning quarterback.

“Joe Namath. When I came to this country, I was so jealous of him. Because in bodybuilding, I had to go do brick-laying jobs. I made no money in bodybuilding. There was nothing. There was no sponsorships or anything.”

Joe Namath, a five-time Pro Bowl quarterback, led the New York Jets to a victory in Super Bowl III. During his career, Broadway Joe became one of the biggest stars in football. In 1985, Namath was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Arnold Schwarzenegger prize money increase

Arnold Schwarzenegger Works To Grow Bodybuilding

Arnold Schwarzenegger noticed Joe Namath in multiple ads and endorsements once he came to America to venture into bodybuilding.

“Joe Namath was in television. This great football player. I’m watching TV and I’m seeing him endorsing pantyhose. I said ‘are you f*cking kidding me?’ This guy is the Number one football player in America. Everyone watches football, baseball. I’m in a sport that no one watches.”


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This is when Arnold built a goal to grow bodybuilding as a sport — and that is exactly what he has done.

“Way back then, he gets a million dollars for an endorsement. It was amazing. I said to myself, I need to do something to build up the sport of bodybuilding. To build it up so it gets some popularity. That was then my mission.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that the prize for the 2025 Arnold Classic champion will increase to $500,000. He continues to add different sponsors in order to grow the sport that he loves and will continue to do so moving forward.

“When I get out of bodybuilding, to promote bodybuilding competitions and to raise the cash prizes and get sponsorships involved. We now have the number one bodybuilding competition, the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio.”

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Greg Patuto
Greg has covered the four major sports for six years and has been featured on sites such as Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports, SB Nation,, and FanSided. Now, he is transitioning into the world of bodybuilding and strength sports.