49 Famous NBA Players Quotes

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For many fans, basketball is more than just a game. Some view it as essentially life played out in a rectangular court for 48 minutes. While that perspective is extreme, basketball has spawned some of the best motivational quotes you can apply in life. Whether it’s because of losing, winning, or passion for the game, check out these famous NBA player’s quotes that should inject some spirit into your lethargic day.

15 Famous Basketball Quotes About Winning and Losing 15 Famous Basketball Quotes About Winning and Losing 

The ups and downs of basketball is what makes it fun. Whether teams are winning or losing, there will never be any shortage of quotable quotes from basketball players. Here are 15 inspirational quotes from your favorite NBA players:

1. “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”- Michael Jordan

2. “A lot of late nights in the gym, a lot of early mornings, especially when your friends are going out, you’re going to the gym, those are the sacrifices that you have to make if you want to be an NBA basketball player.”- Jason Kidd

3. “Losing is part of the game. If you never lose, you are never truly tested, and never forced to grow.”- Anonymous

4. “You have no choices about how you lose, but you do have a choice about how you come back and prepare to win again.”- Pat Riley

5. “Losing is only temporary and not all encompassing. You must simply study it, learn from it, and try hard not to lose the same way again. Then you must have the self-control to forget about it.”- John Wooden

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

7. “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.”- Wilt Chamberlain

8. “You can’t win unless you learn how to lose.”- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

9. “Sometimes you learn more from losing than winning. Losing forces you to reexamine.”- Pat Summitt

10. “I try to do the right thing at the right time. They may just be little things, but usually they make the difference between winning and losing.”- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

11. “Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”- John Wooden

12. “Everybody wants to take responsibility when you win, but when you fail, all these fingers are pointing.”- Mike Krzyzewski

13. “Winning is important to me, but what brings me real joy is the experience of being fully engaged in whatever I’m doing.”- Phil Jackson

14. “Success is a result of consistent practice of winning skills and actions. There is nothing miraculous about the process. There is no luck involved.”- Bill Russell

15. “When I was a player, I didn’t expect my teammates to play the way I did. I did expect them to work hard every day and get better. And I never learned anything by losing.”- Larry Bird

11 Motivational Basketball Quotes from NBA Legends11 Motivational Basketball Quotes from NBA Legends

Basketball has become the sport that it is now because of the people who paved the way. Check out these motivational quotes by these NBA legends:

1. “You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.”- Jerry West

2. “It’s the one thing you can control. You are responsible for how people remember you—or don’t. So don’t take it lightly.”- Kobe Bryant

3. “I’ve got a theory that if you give 100 percent all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end.” – Larry Bird

4. “I think someone should explain to the child that it’s OK to make mistakes. That’s how we learn. When we compete, we make mistakes.”- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

5. “When you think you have done enough, do a little more, because someone out there is working harder than you.” – Larry Bird

6. “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”- Michael Jordan

7. “The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle.”- Michael Jordan

8. “If you don’t fall how are you going to know what getting up is like?”- Stephen Curry

9. “The more concerned we become over the things we can’t control, the less we will do with the things we can control.”- John Wooden

10 “Whether I start or come off the bench makes no difference to me. My game has always been go as hard as I can as long as I can.”- John Havlicek

11. “Everyone is born with a certain potential. You may never achieve your full potential, but how close you come depends on how much you want to pay the price.”- Red Auerbach

5 NBA Quotes About Passion for the Game5 NBA Quotes About Passion for the Game

To be successful in everything you do, you need to be passionate about it. To light that fire inside, here are some basketball quotes about passion for the game:

1. “I truly love the game; I wouldn’t be playing if I didn’t love the game. I’m not getting paid astronomical dollars; it’s truly for the love of the game of basketball.”- Michael Jordan

2. “I’d take 12 guys who had a strong passion for the game over 12 guys who don’t respect the game.”- Michael Jordan

3. “The more you love, the harder you play.”- Anonymous

4. “You can’t cheat the grind. It knows how much you’ve invested. It won’t give you nothing you haven’t worked for.”

5. “Many, many times, the kids with the less talent become the better athletes because they’re more dedicated to achieving their full potential.”- Red Auerbach

7 Basketball Quotes on Self-Motivation7 Basketball Quotes on Self-Motivation

A basketball player’s skills and commitment to the game are never in doubt. In addition to constantly proving what the human body is capable of, these athletes often motivate their fans to aim higher and do whatever it takes to reach their goals. Because basketball is such a powerful source of motivation, here are some of your favorite coaches’ and players’ quotes.

1. “Everything negative — pressure, challenges — are all an opportunity for me to rise.”- Kobe Bryant

2. “There is a lot of basketball beyond our control, but a player should never let anyone try harder than he does.”- Dean Smith

3. “I really get motivated when I have doubters.”- Shaquille O’Neal

4. “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”- Michael Jordan

5. “Leadership is diving for a loose ball, getting the crowd involved, getting other players involved. It’s being able to take it as well as dish it out. That’s the only way you’re going to get respect from the players.”- Larry Bird

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

7. “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.”- Bob Knight

11 Funny NBA Players Quotes 11 Funny NBA Players Quotes 

Basketball is truly a reflection of life. Besides the pressure, the ridges, and the valleys, there are also times when ball players provide needed comic relief. Here are the funniest quotes by NBA players

1. “I always laugh when people ask me about rebounding techniques. I’ve got a technique. It’s called just go get the damn ball.”- Charles Barkley

2. “I’m like tax. You’re going to pay, one way or the other.”- Shaquille O’Neal

3. “You got to believe in yourself. Hell, I believe I’m the best-looking guy in the world, and I might be right.”- Charles Barkley

4. “We’re going to start asking people to go to bars and do some stuff. A little street cred would help us.”- Gregg Popovich

5. “We don’t get a gold star for getting close. This isn’t elementary school. It’s professional sports.”- Derek Fisher

6. “Everyone thinks it takes a long time. But it really just takes like three minutes. I just throw the gel in there and spike it up.”- Jeremy Lin on his spiky hairstyle

7. “If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball.”- Phil Jackson

8. “As far as playing, I didn’t care who guarded me – red, yellow, black. I just didn’t want a white guy guarding me, because it’s disrespect to my game.”- Larry Bird

9. “Did we play last night? Then I don’t watch other teams play. I’ve got other things to do in my life. I’ve got a wife. I like to shop. I got fashion. I got other things to do other than watch other teams play.”- Russell Westbrook

10. “Smush Parker was the worst. He shouldn’t have been in the NBA but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard so we let him walk on.”- Kobe Bryant

11. “In my prime, I could’ve handled Michael Jordan. Of course, he would have only been 12 years old.”- Jerry Sloan

Wrapping Things Up: 49 Famous NBA Players Quotes

They always say basketball is a combination of soap opera and reality TV for men. To be frank, that’s an accurate statement. A lot is going on around basketball that the media essentially get famous NBA player’s quotes everyday. Some may be forgotten after a little while, but a bunch of others, like the 49 basketball quotes in this collection will continue to live on. 

We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.

Hoops Addict
Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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