This New York Jets moment of the day reminisces about the time Muhammad Ali joined “The Joe Namath Show” on Oct. 13, 1969.
Was Muhammad Ali actively ducking Joe Frazier? Joe Namath really wanted to know. (Or, perhaps the newly-minted talk show host just loved working a room.)
The New York Jets legend’s short-lived talk show lasted just one season, but what a season it was. Granted, The Joe Namath Show was never in-line to take home a boatload of Emmys (much less one), but the word of the day (at that time) was “star.”
The bigger the star, the greater the opportunity, and dishing out a talk show to the man who guaranteed victory as 18-point underdogs in Super Bowl 3 seemed like a fantastic idea.
The star-studded lineup that season included Woody Allen, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Dave DeBusschere, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Tom Seaver, Howard Cosell, Truman Capote, and yes, O.J. Simpson.
On this date, early in the season, Ali accepted the invite and discussed a potential match with Frazier—the eventual “Fight of the Century” that featured Frazier getting the nod after 15 rounds.
Obviously, the two would not meet up and discuss what they both do so well: talk. A quick couple of jabs are exchanged early on and the two get to work with co-host Dick Schaap at Namath’s side.
While Namath’s talk show skills leave a lot to be desired, the world having the ability to see these two men in the same room at the same time was a gift. it was, after all, these two who propelled the idea of the “celebrity athlete” into the mainstream of American entertainment (with great help from Arnold Palmer).