Basketball Quotes

A collection of inspirational basketball quotes listed alphabetically by the person quoted.  Many of the individuals being quoted were not basketball players or coaches, but I have included them in this collection of basketball quotes because they are applicable to the mental and motivational aspects of playing basketball.

Basketball Quotes A

Aaron, Hank “Consistency is what counts; you have to be able to do things over and over again.”

Aaron, Hank “In playing ball, and in life, a person occasionally gets the opportunity to do something great. When that time comes, only two things matter: being prepared to sieze the moment and having the courage to take your best swing.”

Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem “As a parent, I have a job as a role model to my children, and by extension, to other young people.”

Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem “Michael Jordan, Magic, and myself all learned how to play the game in college in programs that emphasized the team.”

Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem “One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.”

Adams, John Quincy “Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.”

Ali, Muhammad “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”

Allen, George “People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don’t know when to quit. Most men succeed because they are determined to.”

Allen, James “People are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves. They therefore remain bound.”

Aristotle “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Aristotle “Dignity consists not in possessing honors, but in the consciousness that we deserve them.”

Ashcroft, Jan “There is no such thing as can’t, only won’t. If you’re qualified, all it takes is a burning desire to accomplish, to make a change. Go forward, go backward. Whatever it takes! But you can’t blame other people or society in general. It all comes from your mind.”

Ashe, Arthur “You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limits, that is real joy.”

Ashe, Arthur “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

Auerbach, Red “Some say you have to use your five best players, but I found out you win with the five that fit together best as a team.”

Auriemma, Geno “Bottom line, you’re either a risk taker, or your not, and if you don’t take risks, you’ll never win big.”

Auriemma, Geno “I don’t hire good coaches, I hire good people. If they turn out to be good coaches, too, that’s a plus.”

Austin, James H. “Chance favors those in motion.”

Basketball Quotes B

Bagehot, Walter “The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”

Bailey, Dan “Champions have no off-season.”

Bannister, Roger “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.”

Barry, Rick “I was taught to play the game from a total team concept–to be able to do everything reasonably well and some things extraordinarily well. If I’m not shooting well, I’ll try to be an asset in other ways-like defense, passing, rebounding, and hustle.”

Barton, Bruce “Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside themselves was superior to circumstance.”

Bee, Claire “Play to win, observe the rules, and act like a gentleman.”

Bennett, Dick “I concluded some time ago that a major part of success of a team, or of an individual, has a great deal to do with the intangible qualities possessed. The real key is how a person sees himself [humility], how he feels about what he does [passion], how he works with others [unity], how he makes others betters [servanthood], and how he deals with frustration and success, truly learning from each situation [thankfulness], I believe those concepts are the essence of a good player, team, coach, or individual in any capacity in life.”

Bennett, Dick “We cannot accept in victory what we would not accept in defeat.”

Bexton, Charles “Experience shows that success is due less to ability than to zeal. The winner is he who gives himself to his work, body and soul.”

Bird, Larry “Leadership is diving for a loose ball…It’s abut being able to take it as well as dish it out. That’s the only way your going to get respect from other players.”

Blair, Gary Ryan “Do more than is required. What is the distance between someone who achieves their goals consistently and those who spend their lives and careers merely following? The extra mile.”

Blanchard, Kenneth “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.”

Bojaxhiu, Agnese Gonxhe (Mother Teresa) “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

Bonaparte, Napoleon “A leader is a dealer in hope.”

Boselli, Tony “You can’t be a good leader without good character.”

Boyd, Ty “Success comes from taking the hand you were dealt and using it to the very best of your ability.”

Bryant, Paul “Bear” “If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semi-good, we did it. If anything goes really good, then they did it. That’s all it takes to get people to win football games.”

Bryant, Paul “Bear” “There’s not substitute for guts.”

Brett, George “I don’t think I can play any other way but all out . . . I enjoy the game so much because I’m putting so much into it.”

Brown, Larry “Failure does not come from losing, but from not trying.”

Brown, Paul “A winner never whines.”

Buchanan, Pat “It’s in the struggle itself that you define yourself.”

Buffett, Warren “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Burke, Edmund “He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill.”

Burns, Laing Jr. “Possession of the ball is the key to winning in football, basketball, and the game of life.”

Bush, Barbara “If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather that dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities.

Basketball Quotes C

Carnegie, Andrew “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what people say. I just watch what they do.”

Carnegie, Andrew “No amount of ability is of the slightest avail without honor.”

Carnegie, Andrew “Do not think a man has done his full duty when he has performed the work assigned him. A man will never rise if he does only this. Promotion comes from exceptional work.”

Carnegie, Dale “All life is a chance. The person who goes farthest is the one who is willing to do and dare.”

Carril, Pete “Winning takes character. Workers get the most out of themselves. When a body has limited talent, it must muster all its resources of character to overcome adversity.”

Click here for more quotes and basketball philosophy from Coach Pete Carril

Carew, Rod “When you’ve learned to believe in yourself, there’s no telling how good a player you can be. That’s because you have the mental edge.”

Chamberlain, Wilt “This is a team game and one man doesn’t win and one man doesn’t lose. In the end, the best team usually wins.”

Chinese proverb “The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”

Chinese proverb “Dig the well before you are thirsty.”

Chinese proverb “The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.”

Churchill, Winston “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never.”

Churchill, Winston “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

Churchill, Winston “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Churchill, Winston “Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence—is the key to unlocking our potential.”

Churchill, Winston “The nose of the bulldog is slanted backwards so he can continue to breathe without letting go.”

Collier, Robert “Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out.”

Coolidge, Calvin “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Cooper, David “The pro is the person who has all the hassles, obstacles, and disappointing frustrations that everyone else has. yet continues to persist, does the job, and makes it look easy.”

Cousy, Bob “I dribbled by the hour with my left hand when I was young. I didn’t have full control, but I got so I could move the ball back and forth from one hand to the other without breaking the cadence of my dribble. I wasn’t dribbling behind my back or setting up any trick stuff, but I was laying the groundwork for it.”

Covey, Stephen “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”

Covey, Stephen “Effective leadership is the only competitive advantage that will endure. That’s because leadership has two sides- what a person is (character) and what a person does- (competence) .”

Crawford, Roger “When you want to encourage a greater sense of responsibility in others (and yourself) emphasize the anticipation of accomplishment, not the penalties for failure.”

Curie, Marie “I was taught that the way of progress is neither swift nor easy.”

Basketball Quotes D

Daly, Chuck “If you’re going to have to beg them to play, it’s not going to work.”

Daugherty, Brad “I never think about missing a free throw. All that goes through my mind when I’m at the line is seeing the ball go through the bottom of the net.”

da Vinci, Leonardo “Obstacles cannot bend me. Every obstacle yields to effort.”

Dempsey, Jack “A champion is one who gets up even when he can’t.”

DePree, Max “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”

DeVos, Richard M. “The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible.”

Dewey, John “Failure is instructive. The perosn who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.”

DeYoung Dennis “Winners are losers who got up and gave it one more try.”

Dierdorf, Dan “I don’t pay attention to what others are doing. I feel strongly that if I have correct goals and the determination to keep pursuing them the best way I know how, everything else falls into line.”

Disney, Walt “The difference in winning and losing is most often… not quitting.”

Disney, Walt “You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”

Ditka, Mike “I don’t think anything is unreasonable if you believe you can do it.”

Dixon, Jack “If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results”

Dreyfack, Raymond “A good leader inspires other people with confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires them with confidence in themselves.”

Drucker, Peter “Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.”

Drucker, Peter “The most important thing in communication is to hear whatisn’t being said.”

Dungy, Tony “I’ve always tried to coach people the way I would like to be coached; positively and encouragingly rather than with criticism and fear … I’ve tried to be as fair as possible.”

Basketball Quotes E

Edison, Thomas “Many of life’s failures are people who do not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Edwards, Tyron “People never improve unless they look to some standard or example higher and better than themselves.”

Einstein, Albert “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”

Einstein, Albert “Don’t look to become a person of success, look to become a person of value.”

Eisenhower, Dwight D. “There are no victories at bargain prices.”

Eisenhower, Dwight D. “We succeed only as we identify in life, or in war, or in anything else, a single overriding objective, and make all other considerations bend to that one objective.”

Eliot, T.S. “If you want it you must obtain it by great labor.”

Elliot, Ellen “Leadership is helping yourself and other people achieve goals. The ability to direct your life to get the results you want is leadership.”

Elway, John “When things go bad, it’s easy to point fingers. People who attempt to switch the blame are afraid to fail. We’ve all been afraid to fail before a game, but it shouldn’t stop us from continuing, and from doing what we have to do to get the job done.”

Emerson, Ralph Waldo “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonesense.”

Emerson, Ralph Waldo “Skill to do comes of doing.”

Elliott, Walter “Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.”

Basketball Quotes F

Faulkner, William “Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.”

Feller, Bob “Every day is a new opportunity; you can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is. With a new game every day.”

Fitzsimmons, Cotton “I have a basic philosophy that I’ve tried to follow during my coaching career. Whether you’re winning or losing, it is important to always be yourself. You can’t change because of the circumstances around you.”

Forbes, BC “Diamonds are only lumps of coal that stuck to their jobs.”

Forbes,BC “It is when things go hardest, when life becomes most trying, that there is greatest need for having a fixed goal.”

Ford, Henry “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

Foster, Bill “Negative thoughts are contagious and they get passed around like a disease. I inoculate myself against the fear of failure.”

Franklin, Benjamin “Well done is better than well said.”

Basketball Quotes G

Galiher, Sean “The mind does not know the difference between a real and an imagined experience.”

Garland, Judy “Always be a first—rate version of yourself, instead of a second—rate version of somebody else.”

Gibbs, Joe “People who enjoy what they do, invariably do it well.”

Gibran, Kahlil “The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose.”

Gladwell, Malcolm “The people at the top don’t work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.”

Graf, Steffi “You can’t measure success if you have never failed. My father has taught me that if you really do want to reach your goals, you can’t spend any time worrying about whether you’re going to win or lose. Focus only on getting better.”

Greenleaf, Robert “Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much.”

Basketball Quotes H

Haley, Jim “Championships & 20 win seasons are won on the road”

Hamilton, Brutus “It is one of the strange ironies of this strange life that those who work the hardest, who subject themselves to the strictest discipline, who give up certain pleasurable things in order to achieve a goal, are the happiest.”

Harrell, Keith “Whether you realize it or not, you are a role model for the people in your life. Your every action is being watched. Someone is looking to you for inspiration, support and leadership.”

Havlicek, John “We win because we play together as a team.”

Havlicek, John “If you are honest with yourself and can look into a mirror and believe that you have given 100 percent, you should feel proud. If you cannot, then there is more work to be done.”

Hayes, Woody “The only thing even in this world is the number of hours in a day. The difference in winning or losing is what you do with those hours.”

Hill, Napolean “The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those, which fail.”

Hogan, Ben “If you can’t outplay them, outwork them.”

Holt, Victoria “Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.”

Holtz, Lou “The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it.”

Holtz, Lou “You’re never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you’re never as bad as they say when you lose.”

Hopper, Grace ” “A ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not what ships were built for.”

Hopper, Grace “You manage things, you lead people.”

Huff, Sam “Discipline is the whole key to being successful. We all get 24 hours each day. That’s the only fair thing; it’s the only thing that’s equal. What we do with those 24 hours is up to us.”

Hurley, Bob “A bad day coaching basketball is better than a good day doing almost anything else.”

Huxley, Aldous “Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.”

Basketball Quotes J

Jackson, Bo “I’ll never worry about not being successful. I’ll just take it one day at a time, one season at a time. And play as hard as I can.”

Jackson, D.N. “The size of a leader is determined by the depth of his convictions, the height of his ambitions, the breadth of his vision, and the reach of his love.”

Jackson, Phil “Good teams become great ones when the members trust each other enough to surrender the Me for the We.”

Jackson, Phil “Once you’ve done the mental work, there comes a point (where) you have to throw yourself into the action and put your heart on the line.”

Jackson, Phil “It’s no accident that things are more likely to go your way when you stop worrying about whether you’re going to win or lose, and focus all your full attention on what’s happening right at this moment.”

James, Lebron “I don’t need too much. Glamour and all that stuff don’t excite me. I am just glad I have the game of basketball in my life.”

James, William “The great use of life is to spend it doing something that will outlast it.”

Jenner, Bruce “I learned that the only way you are going to get anywhere in life is to work hard at it. Whether you’re a musician, a writer, an athlete or a businessman, there is no getting around it. If you do, you’ll win. If you don’t you won’t.”

Johnson, Earvin “Magic” “I never think that there’s something I can’t do, whether it’s beating my opponent one on one or practicing another hour because something about my game is just not right.”

Johnson, Earvin “Magic “My father is my idol, so I always did everything like him.”

Johnson, Jimmy “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little ‘extra’.”

Johnson, Kyle “You have to play so hard that it hurts!”

Johnson, Lyndon “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”

Jones, Charles “Tremendous” You are the same today that you are going to be in five years from now except for two things: the people with whom you associate and the books you read.”

Josephson, Michael S. “A good coach improves your game. A great coach improves your life.”

Joyner-Kersee, Jackie “Achieving success and personal glory in athletics has less to do with wins and losses than it does with learning how to prepare yourself so that at the end of the day, whether on the track or in the office, you know that there was nothing more you could have done to reach your ultimate goal.”
Basketball Quotes
Jordan, Michael “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life, and that is why…I succeed.”

That quote is from a Nike commercial. I have posted a link to it from YouTube on the site along with another one with Michael discussing how it was his fire and not his flash that was another key to his success: Michael Jordan Videos

Basketball Quotes K

Keller, Helen “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

Kennedy, John F. “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”

Kettering, Charles “You can’t have a better tomorrow if you’re thinking about yesterday.”

King, Dr. Martin Luther, Jr. “If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can,t walk, crawl. But, by all means, keep moving.”

King, Dr. Martin Luther, Jr. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the staircase.”

King, Dr. Martin Luther, Jr. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Kiser, Henry J. “Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.”

Knight, Bob “Discipline is doing what has to be done, when it has to be done, as well as it can be done, and doing it that way all the time.”

Knight, Bob “In basketball, the mental is to the physical as four is to one.”

Knight, Bob “I just love the game of basketball so much. The game! I don’t need the 18,000 people screaming and all the peripheral things. To me, the most enjoyable part is the practice and preparation.”

Knight, Bob “The biggest difficulty in getting to the top of the ladder is getting through the crowd at the bottom.”

Korda, Michael “If your position is everywhere, your momentum is zero.”

Kroc, Ray “Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.”

Krzyzewski, Mike “A common mistake among those who work in sport is spending a disproportional amount of time on”x’s and o’s” as compared to time spent learning about people.”

Krzyzewski, Mike “Every season is a journey. Every Journey is a lifetime.”

Krzyzewski, Mike “People want to be on a team. They want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They want to be in a situation where they feel that they are doing something for the greater good.”

Click here for several more quotes on leadership from Coach Mike Krzyzewski

Basketball Quotes L

Lambert, Jack “I was determined to play. I knew all along deep down inside that I could do it, that I was good even though hardly anyone seemed to agree with me. My determination more than made up for any lack of speed, height, or weight.”

Landry, Tom “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan. The key is discipline. Without it, there is no morale.”

Lao Tzu “Failure is the foundation of success, and the means by which it is achieved.”

Larson, Jonathan “Forget regret, or life is yours to miss…”

LaRussa, Tony “Being involved in competition is a privilege and an opportunity. Seek to make the most of that opportunity by pushing yourself to the limit of your abilities. When it is over, you will have earned the respect of your opponents, your coaches, and yourself.”

Lasorda, Tommmy “The difference between the possible and the impossible lies in the man’s determination.”

Lasorda, Tommmy “Pressure is a word that is misused in our vocabulary. When you start thinking of pressure, it’s because you’ve started to think of failure.”

Lewis, C. S. “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”

Lincoln, Abraham “The occasion is piled high with difficulty. We must rise to the occasion.”

Lincoln, Abraham “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.”

Lincoln, Abraham “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”

Lincoln, Abraham “I will prepare, and someday my chance will come.”

Loehr, Jim “The ability to summon positive emotions during periods of intense stress lies at the heart of effective leadership.”

Lombardi, Vince There is only one way to succeed at anything, and that is to give everything.”

Lombardi, Vince “The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.”

Lombardi, Vince “Individual commitment to a group effort. That’s what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Lombardi, Vince “Confidence is contagious.”

Lombardi, Vince “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

Lombardi, Vince “A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive and if you are willing to sacrifice the little thins in life and pay the price for the things that are worthwhile, it can be done.”

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth “He that respects himself is safe from others; he wears a coat of mail that none can pierce.”

Lucas, George “If America is the pursuit of happiness, the best way to pursue happiness is to help other people.”

Lynch, Dr. Jerry “When you believe and think ‘I can,’ you activate your motivation, commitment, confidence, concentration, and excitement–all of which relate directly to achievement.”

Basketball Quotes M

Mackay, Harvey “Leadership does not mean getting people to do their job. It means getting people to do their best.”

Mandela, Nelson “There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

Mandino, Og “I will waste not even a precious second today in anger or hate or jealousy or selfishness. I know that the seeds I sow I will harvest, because every action, good or bad, is always followed by an equal reaction. I will plant only good seeds this day.”

Mansfield, Katherine “Make it a rule of life to never regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can’t build on it, it’s only good for wallowing in.”

Maris, Roger “You hit home runs not by chance, but by preparation.”

Maugham, W. Somerset “It is a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you often get it.”

Maxwell, John C. “Leadership is influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.”

Maxwell, John C. “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”

Maxwell, John C. “A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.”

Maxwell, John C. “Leaders will not experience long-term success unless a lot of people want them to.”

Maxwell, John C. “If a person doesn’t govern his temper, his temper will govern him.”

Maxwell, John C. “When problems confront successful leaders, they get excited about the opportunity.”

Maxwell, John C. ” A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

Maxwell, John C. “Learn to say ‘no’ to the good, so you can say ‘yes’ to the best.”

Maxwell, John C. “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.”

McGannon, Donald “Leadership is action, not position.”

John McKay “You shouldn’t worry about the fans or the press or trying to satisfy the expectations of everyone else. All that matters is whether you can look in the mirror and honestly tell the person you see there that you’ve done your best..”

Mellor, David (Director of Grounds, Fenway Park) “Whatever it takes, that’s what I do.”

Meyer, Don “In practice, don’t just run basketball drills, teach the players how to play basketball.”

Meyer, Don “It is foolish to expect a young man to follow your advice and to ignore your example.”

Meyer, Don “Proper prior planning prevents pitiful poor performance.”

Meyer, Don “Be what ya is, ’cause if ya be what you ain’t, ya ain’t what ya is.”

Meyer, Don “You can have discipline and be demanding without being demeaning.”

Meyer, Paul J. “Ninety percent of all those who fail are not actually defeated. They simply quit.”

Meyer,Ray “Practice does not make the athlete. It is the quality and intensity of practice that makes the athlete, not just repeated practicing.”

Michener, James “Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.”

Millman, Dan “I learned that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything.. at least not at the same time. So think of your priorities not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.”

Basketball Quotes N

Naismith, James “I seek to leave the world a litter better place than I found it.”

Nicklaus, Jack “It’s great to win, but it’s also great fun just to be in the thick of any truly well-and hard-fought contest against opponents you respect, whatever the outcome.”

Nightingale, Earl “Successful people form the habit of doing what failures don’t like to do. They like the results they get by doing what they don’t necessarily enjoy.”

Nightingale, Florence “I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse.

Nightingale, Earl “Successful people form the habit of doing what failures don’t like to do. They like the results they get by doing what they don’t necessarily enjoy.”

Nightingale, Florence “I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse.”

Nightingale, Earl “It’s our attitude in life that determines life’s attitude toward us.”

Noble, Charles C. “You must have long-term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-term failures.”

Norman, Greg “Setting goals for your game is an art. The trick is in setting them at the right level — neither too low nor too high. A good goal should be lofty enough to inspire hard work, yet realistic enough to provide solid hope of attainment.”

Norris, Kathleen “Before you begin a thing remind yourself that difficulties and delays quite impossible to foresee are ahead. You can only see one thing clearly, and that is your goal. Form a mental vision of that and cling to it through thick and thin.”

Nyad, Diana “I am willing to put myself through anything; temporary pain or discomfort means nothing to me as long as I can see that the experience will take me to a new level. I am interested in the unknown, and the only path to the unknown is through breaking barriers, an often painful process.”

Basketball Quotes O

Olsen, Merlin “We need to know where we are going and how we plan to get there. Our dreams and aspirations must be translated into real and tangible goals with priorities and time frames.”

Ortega y Gasset, José “Effort is only effort when it begins to hurt.”

Owen, Ray “Trying times are not the times to stop trying.”

Owens, Jesse “Friendships born on the field of athletic strife are the real gold of competition. Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.”

Basketball Quotes P

Palmer, Arnold “I’ve always made a total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me. I never quit trying; I never felt that I didn’t have a chance to win.”

Parcells, Bill “When you don’t know that you don’t know, it’s a lot different than when you do know that you don’t know.”

Pasteur, Louis “Let me tell you the secret that has led to my goal; my strength lies solely in my tenacity.”

Pasteur, Louis “Chance favors only the prepared mind.”

Patton, George “Accept the challenge so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”

Pele “Enthusiasm is everything. It must be as taut and vibrating as a guitar string.”

Penney, J.C. “I am grateful for all of my problems. After each one was overcome, I became stronger and more able to meet those that were still to come. I grew in all my difficulties.”

Penney, J.C. “Long-range goals keep you from being frustrated by short term failures.”

Phillips, Bum “I’d rather have preparation than motivation. Everyone likes to play, but no one likes to practice.”

Pierce, Ricky “Legends are not born~they are created.”

Pitino, Rick ” Excellence is the unlimited ability to improve the quality of what you have to offer.”

Powell, Colin “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”

Powell, Colin “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

Price, Mark “Due to my size limitation, when I came into the NBA other players tried to test me right away. But once they saw I wasn’t going to be tentative or intimidated, most of that stuff stopped. Now it’s fun to go out there against the league’s best, knowing that you have earned their respect through hard work and dedication.”

Basketball Quotes R

Reeve, Christopher “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”

Rhee, Jhoon “Discipline is the habit of taking consistent action until one can perform with unconscious competence. Discipline weighs ounces but regret weighs tons.

Rice, Condoleezza “Education is of no value and talent is worthless – unless you have an unwavering aim. Never find yourself without a compass.”

Rice, Jerry “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.”

Riis, Jacob “When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it – but all that had gone before.”

Riley, Pat There are only two options regarding commitment; you’re either in or you’re out. There’s no such thing as life in-between.”

Riley, Pat “The true warrior understands and seizes that moment by giving an effort so intense and so intuitive that it could only be called one from the heart. ”

Riley, Pat “Great teamwork is the only way we create the breakthroughs that define our careers.”

Riley, Pat “Excellence is the gradual result of always wanting to do better.”

Riley, Pat “Courage is not the absence of fear, but simply moving on with dignity despite that fear.”

Riley, Pat “Great efforts springs naturally from great attitude.”

Rivers, Glenn “Doc” “Mental toughness, mental toughness, mental toughness!”

Robert, Cavett “Any person who selects a goal in life which can be fully achieved, has already defined his own limitations.”

Robinson, David “You’re always going to face criticism, you’re always going to face challenges, but those things are there to make you stronger and more committed.”

Robinson, Frank “Whether you’re trying to excel in athletics or in any other field, always practice. Look, listen, learn — and practice, practice, practice. There is no substitute for work, no shortcut to the top.”

Robinson, Jackie “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

Rodgers, Jimmy “Don’t ever allow the pressure of competition to be greater than the pleasure of competition.”

Rohn, Jim ” Leaders must learn to discipline their disappointments. It’s not what happens to us, it is what we choose to do about what happens that makes the difference in how our lives turn out. ”

Rohn, Jim “Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become.”

Rohn, Jim “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of didcipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline ways ounces while regret ways tons.”

Rooney, Art Class is an intangible thing. Different people show it in different ways, but it does not take long to surface and it is easily recognizable.

Roosevelt, Theodore “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Roosevelt, Theodore “We cannot do great deeds unless we’re willing to do the small things that make up the sum of greatness.”

Roosevelt Theodore “In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Royal, Darrell “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Russell, Bill “Concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory.”

Ruth, Babe “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but i f they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”

Ruth, Babe “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”.

Basketball Quotes S

Schilling, Ed “It’s not what’s taught, it’s what’s caught that matters.”

SchullerRobert “A great drive, a powerful determination and a consuming desire will easily compensate for a little or limited talent.”

Schulz, Charles “Life is like a 10-speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use.”

Schultz, Howard “Life is a series of near misses. But a lot of what we ascribe to luck is not luck at all. It’s seizing the day and accepting responsibility for your future.”

Schwarzenegger , Arnold “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

Schweitzer, Albert “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

Schweitzer, Albert “Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”

Schweitzer, Albert “Let your life be your argument.”

Shaw, George Bernard “A life spent in making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

Sheets, Jeromy “Coaching is about development and relationships.”

Shula, Don “Some clubs want to win so much they’ll do anything to get it. Our approach has been just the opposite. We’ve tried to do things the right way. And the right way is [abiding by] the rules and regulations … I may not like all of them, but once they are [official], we play by them.”

Singleton, Ken “If you want to hit .300, set your sights on .325. If you want to drive in 100 runs, go for 125. Then, if you fall a little short and hit .304 and drive in 100 runs, you won’t be disappointed.”

Smith, Dean “A team with five individuals thinking ‘team ‘ will defeat a group of superior individuals thinking of themselves.”

Smith, Dean “Basketball is a team game. But that doesn’t mean all five players should have the same amount of shots.”

Smith, Dean “I always mean what I say, but I don’t always say what I’m thinking.”

Smith, Fred “You are the way you are because that’s the way you want to be. If you really wanted to be any different, you would be in the process of changing right now.”

Smuts, Jan Christiaan “A person is not defeated by their opponents but by themselves.”

Sorrell, Mike “You are always getting better, or getting worse. You never stay the same.”

Spanish Proverb “Habits are first cobwebs, then cables.”

Staubach, Roger “Nothing good comes in life or athletics unless a lot of hard work has preceded the effort. Only temporary success is achieved by taking shortcuts.”

Stargell, Willie “Be honest and work hard to get what you want. Don’t take shortcuts; you only cheat yourself in the long run. Success is not measured by money or fame, but by how you feel about your own goals and accomplishments and the time and effort you put into them.”

Stevenson, Robert Louis “Judge each day not by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.”

Summitt, Pat: “The ultimate goal of discipline is to teach self discipline.”

Summitt, Pat “I want to continue to do is to help these young women be successful. .. You don’t just say goodbye at the end of their playing careers and end it there.”

Click here for more quotes and basketball philosophy from Coach Pat Summit

Syrus, Publilius “Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.”

Basketball Quotes T

Thatcher, Margaret “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”

Thatcher, Margaret “Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it.”

Theophrastus “Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.”

Thomas, Kurt “I feel that the most important step in any major accomplishment is setting a specific goal. This enables you to keep your mind focused on your goal and off the many obstacles that will arise while you’re striving to do your best.”

Tomjanovich, Rudy “Never underestimate the heart of a champion.”

Tomlinson, H. M. “We see things not as they are, but as we are.”

Tracy, Brian “There’s only one direction you can coast–downhill..”

Tracy, Brian “Become the kind of person that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position.”

Truman, Harry “I studied the lives of great men and famous women, and I found that the men and women who got to the top were those did the jobs they had in hand, with everything they had of energy and enthusiasm and hard work.”

Basketball Quotes U

Unitas, Johnny “Specialists can never practice their specialties too much. The danger is in not practicing enough. Make that mistake, and soon you may not be in the specialty business anymore.”

United States Navy Seals “I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity… If knocked down, I will get back up, every time.”

Unseld, Wes”I didn’t do anything very pretty. My contributions were in the intangibles. But, they were the type of things that help lead a team..”

Basketball Quotes V

Valvano, Jim “We should do three things every day of our life. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is to think, we should spend some time in thought. And, number three is you should have your emotions moved to tears.”

Van Arsdale, Dick “I’m a firm believer in quiet confidence. By that I mean knowing inwardly that you are good, and not exhibiting a boastful attitude outwardly. If an athlete doesn’t believe in himself, no one else will.”

Vermeil, Dick “If you don’t invest very much, then defeat doesn’t hurt you very much and winning is not very exciting.”

Basketball Quotes W

Waitley, Dennis “There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.”

Walton, Bill “At 49, I can say something I never would have said when I was a player. I am a better person because of my failures and disgraces.”

Walton, Sam “High expectations are the key to everything.”

Ward, William Arthur “Adversity cause some men to break; others to break records.”

Ward, William Arthur “Greatness is not found in possessions, power, position, or prestige. It is discovered in goodness, humility, service, and character.

Ward, William Arthur “It is wise to direct your anger towards problems – not people; to focus your energies on answers – not excuses.”

Ward, William Arthur “The price of excellence is discipline. The cost of mediocrity is disappointment.”Washington, Booker T. “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.

“Washington, Booker T. “The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what thte man or woman is able to do that counts.”

Wayne, John “Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes in to us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands, and hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.”

Wayne, John “True grit is making a decision and standing by it, doing what must be done.”

Basketball Quotes
Weihenmayer, Erik “You don’t just deal with adversity. You use it to propel you forward.”

Welsh, Joan “If you’re coasting, you’re either losing momentum or else you’re headed downhill.”

West, Jerry When time is running out and the score is close, most players are thinking, I don’t want to be the one to lose the game, but I’m thinking, What do I have to do to win?”

West, Jerry “You don’t get much done if you only work on the days when you feel like it.”

Westphal, Paul “Have fun doing whatever it is that you desire to accomplish. Learn it one step at a time, emphasizing the fundamentals, and do it because you love it, not because it’s work.”

Whittier, John Greenleaf “For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been’ ”

Wilkinson, Bud “Remember, ‘Rome was not built in a day.’ Instant success is never possible. Competence results only from sustained, consistent, self-disciplined effort over an extended period of time.”

Williams, Serena “I always believe I can beat the best, achieve the best. I always see myself in the top position.”

Williams, Venus “So what if you fail? At least you’ll know what not to do when you try again.”

Winfield, Dave “A winner is one who is not afraid of the challenge, who rebounds from his setbacks, and who is flexible enough to make adjustments in order to succeed the next time.”

Wooden, John “Success is a peace of mind which is a direct result of knowing that you did your best to become what you are capable of becoming.”

Wooden, John “A player who makes a team great is better than a great player.”

Wooden, John “Our titles would not have been possible without the unselfishness displayed by all our teams, the team wins, not the individuals”

Wooden, John “You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.”

Wooden, John “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

Wooden, John “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

Wooden, John “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

basketball-quotes-john-wooden

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Wooden, John “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”

Wooden, John “Talent is God-given – be humble. Fame is man-given – be thankful. Conceit is self-given – be careful.”

Wooden, John “Never mistake activity for achievement.”

Wooden, John “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

Basketball Quotes Y

Yoda: “There is do and do not, there is no try.”

Basketball Quotes Z

Ziglar, Zig “Evidence is conclusive that your self-talk has a direct bearing on your performance.”

Ziglar, Zig “Most people who fail in their dreams fail not from lack of ability but from lack of commitment.”

Basketball Quotes Unknown Source

“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

“It takes no talent to hustle.”

“Hard head leads to sore rear end” (from sitting on the bench)

“Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that final victory comes.”

“When we have done our best, we should wait the result in peace.”

“You’ve got to believe deep inside yourself that you’re destined to do great things.”

“There are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going.”

“Leadership is a privilege and with privilege comes responsibility.”

“Leadership is the art of mobilizing and energizing the intellectual and creative resources of all people at all levels of the organization.”

“Present choices determine future consequences.”

“The first and perhaps final test of leadership is your ability to attract and keep followers.”

“The highest compliment leaders can receive is the one that is given by the people who work for them.”

“The race is not always to the swift… but to those who keep on running.”

“Trust is the glue that holds everything together.”

“We teach what we know, but we reproduce who we are.”

“You can’t be persuasive and abrasive at the same time.”

“The leader who sells principles for popularity will soon be bankrupt.”

You reap what you sow.

“You have to choose the voice you are going to trust. You can’t listen to everyone.”

“Pride is the sheet anchor of morality. The doer of noble deeds. When love flies and hope fails, Pride still lingers.The savage rear guard of the human soul.”

“Discipline is the refining fire which enables talent to become ability.”

“To handle yourself, use your head, to handle others, use your heart.”

“One of the greatest gifts leaders can give others is hope.”

“The boss depends on authority, the leader depends on good will.”

The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind in other people the convictions and the will to carry on.

“The boss says ‘go,’ the leader says ‘let’s go.’ ”

“A good leader is a guy who can step on your toes without messing up your shine.”

“The man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.”

“You cannot lead anyone else farther than you have been able to go yourself..”

“Be the most enthusiastic person you know.”

“We would accomplish many more things if we id not think them impossible.”

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did.”

“A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”

“Good leaders must first become good servants”.

“Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance.”

A big man is one who makes us feel bigger when we are with him.”

Don’t spend a dollar’s worth of time on a dime decision.”

“We are judged by what we finish, not what we start.”

Advice for dealing with extremely difficult people, “Don’t wrestle with the pigs. You both get mud on you, and the pigs like it.”

Your toughest competition in life is anyone who is willing to work harder than you.”

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”

“When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away; but, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”

“When you’re through improving, you’re through.”

“A person who is successful has simply formed the habit of doing things that unsuccessful people will not do.”

“Your attitude is either the lock or the key to the door of success.”

“It’s OK to lend a helping hand, the challenging part is getting people to let go of it.”

“If you have to tell people you are in charge, you aren’t.”

“Outstanding leaders will appeal to the hearts of their followers, not their minds.”

“There are two quick ways to disaster—taking nobody’s advice and taking everybody’s advice.”

“A wise leader resolves conflicts peaceably, not forcibly.”

“The best way to see the future is to create it.”

“True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not the enrichment of the leaders.”

“To love what you do and feel that it matters—how could anything be more fun?”

“Everybody wants to follow the leader; but, nobody wants to lead the followers.”

“Our patience will achieve more than our force.”

“Leadership is not a role, it is a function.”

“Love and respect do not automatically accompany a position of leadership, they must be earned.”

“You never know who’s right, but you always know who’s in charge.”

“A leader’s success is largely determined by the ability to motivate others.”

“Leaders get out in front and stay there by raising the standards by which they judge themselves—and by which they are willing to be judged.”

“Your attitude is either the lock or the key to the door of success.”

“Shine your stars, work your horses, Fix your problems, Get rid of deadwood.”

“A team consist of not only the players on the court, but also the coaches and the bench. It is a team game and a team wins!”

“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails.”

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

“What you do reflects your attitude, not what you say or even how you say it.”

Life is a grindstone. Whether it grinds you down or polishes you up depends on what you’re made of.”

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.

Prejudice is a great time saver, it enables one to form opinions without bothering to get the facts.

Real leaders have no need to advertise their leadership except by their conduct, sympathy, understanding, and ability.”

As you can see, not all of our basketball quotes came from basketball coaches or basketball players. Send us some of your favorite basketball quotes, and we will include them in our list!

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1 comment for “Basketball Quotes

  1. Graham Jessop
    September 14, 2015 at 3:39 am

    For your quotes:
    Frequently incorrectly attributed to Bobby Kennedy, who used it a lot, as I do whenever suitable, including basketball motivation:

    “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not? ”
    George Bernard Shaw

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