Top 100 Best Sports Quotes of All-Time

    While there’s a good enough dose of classic, inspirational and motivational stuff here, we tried blending it with a few more modern quotes, and those that are a bit less serious in their intentions and nature.

    100. Bob Paisley (Liverpool FC manager) after the club on the 1977 European Cup in Rome: This is the second time I’ve beaten the Germans here… the first time was in 1944. I drove into Rome on a tank when the city was liberated. If anyone had told me I’d be back here to see us win the European Cup 33 years later I’d have told them they were mad! But I want to savour every minute of it… which is why I’m not having a drink tonight. I’m just drinking in the occasion.

    99. Aaron Levenstein, unrelated to sports officially, but making a line that’s very relative: Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.

    98. Michael Jordan during his hall of fame acceptance speech: I can remember a game, we were down with about 5 to 10 points, I go off about 25 points, we come back and win the game, we’re walking off the floor. Tex (Winter) looks at me and says “There’s no “I” in team!” I looked at Tex and say, “There’s not, but there’s an ‘I’ in win!

    Image via NBA.Com
    Image via NBA.Com

    97. A one about Jordan, by his former coach with the Bulls, Doug Collins, referring to The ShotThat play was “Give the ball to Michael and everyone else get the fuck out of the way.”

    96. Muhammad Ali talking about his job as a boxer: It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.

    95. Mary Lou Retton, gold medalist Olympic gymnast: A trophy carries dust. Memories last forever.

    94. Bobby Knight, a College Basketball head coach, speaking to Indiana fans: When my time on Earth is gone, and my activities here are past, I want them to bury me upside down, and my critics can kiss my ass.

    93. Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox legend, about the uniqueness of baseball: Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer.

    92. Jim Courier, multiple Grand Slam tennis champion, on what sportsmanship really is: Sportsmanship for me is when a guy walks off the court and you really can’t tell whether he won or lost, when he carries himself with pride either way.

    91. Emil Zatopek, the Czechoslovak long distance runner with four gold medals: An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.

    90. Paisley again, speaking about one of his players, Alan Kennedy, after he had a very poor performance: I think they shot the wrong Kennedy!

    89. Ken Griffey Jr. on not taking things too seriously: I can’t play being mad. I go out there and have fun. It’s a game, and that’s how I am going to treat it.

    88. Sandy Koufax, maybe the greatest pitcher in the history of baseball: I became a good pitcher when I stopped trying to make them miss the ball and started trying to make them hit it.

    Image via Things Have Changed
    Image via Things Have Changed

    87. Tim Duncan on when a player is made: The time when there is no one there to feel sorry for you or to cheer for you is when a player is made.

    86. Gordie Howe on what kids should focus on: I always tell kids, you have two eyes and one mouth. Keep two open and one closed. You never learn anything if you’re the one talking.

    85. Jimmy Johnson on how to make great players: Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat him as he could be, and he will become what he should be.

    84. Yogi Berra, who really has a lot of gems that will withstand time. This one is his best: Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.

    83. Roger Bannister, on beating the four-minute mile: Doctors and scientists said that breaking the four-minute mile was impossible, that one would die in the attempt. Thus, when I got up from the track after collapsing at the finish line, I figured I was dead.

    82. Bill Shankly, former Liverpool manager, on what’s really important: Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I’m very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.

    81. Martina Navratilova isn’t about ‘just for fun’: Whoever said, ‘It’s not whether you win or lose that counts,’ probably lost.

    80. Randy Moss on what it means to be rich: When you’re rich, you don’t write checks. Straight cash, homey.

    79. Art “Fatso” Donovan of the Baltimore Colts describing how Johnny Unitas runs: He runs like a camel. A really pissed off camel.

    78., Buddy Ryan (Eagles coach) really didn’t think much of Earnest Jackson, a running back he had for just one year: I’d trade him for a six pack; it doesn’t even have to be cold.

    77. Bobby Knight again on what he thinks about watching NBA basketball: If the NBA were on channel 5 and a bunch of frogs making love was on channel 4, I’d watch the frogs even if they were coming in fuzzy.

    Better than the NBA, according to Bobby Knight (Image via Ryan Photographic)
    Better than the NBA, according to Bobby Knight (Image via Ryan Photographic)

    76. Back in the 70’s the Cowboys and Steelers really didn’t like each other. This is what Cowboys linebacker Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson had to say about Terry Bradshaw, Pittsburgh’s quarterback: Terry Bradshaw couldn’t spell cat if you spotted him the c and the t.

    75. Reggie Jackson, a five-time World Series champion, on what he doesn’t like about playing in it: The only reason I don’t like playing in the World Series is I can’t watch myself play.

    74. John McKay, a football head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers among others, “celebrating” his team breaking a 26-game losing streak: Three or four plane crashes and we’re in the playoffs.

    73. Donovan McNabb was a very good quarterback, but he didn’t say the smartest things: Whatever happened in the past, hopefully it`s over.

    72. Steve McMichael (Bears players at the time) offering his teammates to take Joe Montana out of the game: Ten thousand bucks if ya knock him outta the game. I don’t care if ya hit him with a whiskey bottle when he gets off the bus.

    71. Kobe Bryant on the difference between him and everyone else: These young guys are playing checkers. I’m out there playing chess.

    70. Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager, on what his greatest achievement is: My greatest challenge is not what’s happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their fucking perch. And you can print that.

    69. Dick Butkus, legendary linebacker, on hurting other players: When I played pro football, I never set out to hurt anyone deliberately—unless it was, you know, important, like a league game or something.

    68. Mike Tyson with some warm words: I am the most ruthless, brutal champion ever. There is no one who can match me. I want your heart. I want to eat your children.

    67. Boxing trainer on Andrew Golota (Heavyweight boxer): He’s a guy who gets up at six o’clock in the morning regardless of what time it is.

    66. Johnny Unitas never liked Don Shula, the Baltimore Colts & Miami Dolphins’ head coach: I wouldn’t walk across the street to piss down Don Shula’s throat if he was on fire.

    Image via Pinterest
    Image via Pinterest

    65. Matt Stairs, pinch hitter extraordinaire, on Baseball camaraderie: When you get that nice celebration coming into the dugout and you’re getting your ass hammered by guys—there’s no better feeling than to have that done.

    64. John Daly, two-time Major golf champion, and a model to young athletes everywhere: There are probably some things I could do to keep my flexibility up, but I’d rather smoke, drink diet Cokes and eat.

    63. Joe Namath, Alabama and Jets quarterback, with some Astroturf wisdom: I don’t know if I prefer Astroturf to grass. I never smoked Astroturf.

    62. Terry Bradshaw (we’ve talked about him before) not making a lot of sense: I may be dumb, but I’m not stupid.

    61. There have been a lot of special things said about Lionel Messi. Maybe the best of them is by Javier Mascherano, his Barcelona and Argentina teammate: Although he may not be human, it’s good that Messi still thinks he is.

    60. Larry Bird with a short quote on a mentality that works for a lot of successful athletes: I hate to lose more than I like to win.

    59. David Foster Wallace, a writer, speaking about Roger Federer: The metaphysical explanation is that Roger Federer is one of those rare, preternatural athletes who appear to be exempt, at least in part, from certain physical laws.

    58. Shannon Sharpe speaking about Ravens teammate Ray Lewis: Ray Lewis is the type of guy, if he were in a fight with a bear I wouldn’t help him, I’d pour honey on him because he likes to fight. That’s the type of guy Ray Lewis is.

    57. Charles Barkley doesn’t believe in false advertising: These are my new shoes. They’re good shoes. They won’t make you rich like me, they won’t make you rebound like me, they definitely won’t make you handsome like me. They’ll only make you have shoes like me. That’s it.

    56. Wayne Gretzky on taking chances: You miss 100% of the shots you never take.

    Image via The Winsdor Star
    Image via The Winsdor Star

    55. Frank Gifford, a football hall of famer, on the importance of the sport: Pro football is like nuclear warfare. There are no winners, only survivors. 

    54. Geno Smith, Jets quarterback, putting a positive spin on being bad: It’s almost exciting to think about all the room for improvement that we have.

    53. Aaron Rodgers, Packers quarterback, on fans overreacting: Five letters here just for everybody out there in Packer-land: R-E-L-A-X.

    52. Vitas Gerulaitis, a tennis player, after finally beating Jimmy Connors: Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row.

    51. Billie Jean King, like Larry Bird, hated losing: Victory is fleeting. Losing is forever. 

    50. Gary Lineker, English soccer player, on the essence of the sport: Football is a simple game. 22 Men chase a ball for 90 minutes, and in the end Germany win.

    49. Rick Pitino, Louisville head coach, trying to defend his team running up the score, and sounds racist in a sports kind of way: We tried everything. We played four white guys and an Egyptian.

    48. Satchel Paige giving his pitching philosophy: Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Throw strikes. Home plate don’t move.

    47. Lance Armstrong, after being revealed as possibly the greatest cheater in the history of sports: I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times.

    46. Jason Collins, NBA player, coming out of the closet: I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black, and I’m gay.

    45. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Swedish soccer star god, deserves a post of his own regarding his quotes. This one is another example of his self-importance: One thing is for sure, a World Cup without me is nothing to watch so it is not worth while to wait for the World Cup.

    Image via Spiegel online
    Image via Spiegel online

    44. Micky Mantle, Yankee legend, giving us a little bit of a match lesson: During my 18 years I came to bat almost 10,000 times. I struck out about 1,700 times and walked maybe 1,800 times. You figure a ballplayer will average about 500 at bats a season. That means I played seven years without ever hitting the ball.

    43. Boris Johnson, the London mayor, on what goes on in the Olympic village: Inspire a generation’ is our motto. Not necessarily ‘Create a generation’ … which is what they sometimes get up to in the Olympic village.

    42. J. Askenberg on what it’s all about: You win some, you lose some and some get rained out, but you gotta suit up for them all.

    41. Ryan Lochte, swimmer and Olympic gold medalist, with an unconventional quote about peeing in the pool: There’s something about getting into chlorine water that you just automatically go.

    40. Dan Gable, an Olympic wrestler and gold medalist, on what those medals are really made of: Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.

    39. Jack Dempsey, a legendary boxer, on what being a champion is all about: A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.

    38. Ben Ainslie, an English competitive sailor, the most successful one (four gold medals, one silver) in Olympic history, not getting carried away: I didn’t rescue the nation from the depths of Napoleon Bonaparte, but you do the best you can do in your style of racing.

    37. Peyton Manning on what pressure is: Pressure is something you feel when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.

    36. George Best, a great footballer who wasted away too quickly because of a self-damaging lifestyle: I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered. In 1969 I gave up women and alcohol – it was the worst 20 minutes of my life. I used to go missing a lot… Miss Canada, Miss United Kingdom, Miss World. I’ve stopped drinking, but only while I’m asleep.

    35. Wilt Chamberlain speaking about perfection: They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they’d make up their minds.

    34. Bobby Charlton, England & Manchester United player, on those who call footballers slaves: Some people tell me that we professional players are soccer slaves. Well, if this is slavery, give me a life sentence.

    33. Pele, the Brazilian football legend, doesn’t like penalties: A penalty is a cowardly way to score.

    Image via Sportskeeda
    Image via Sportskeeda

    32. Shaquille O’Neal has an impressive list of quotes himself, This one about money and advertisement is the best: I’m tired of hearing about money, money, money, money, money. I just want to play the game, drink Pepsi, wear Reebok.

    31. Eduardo Hughes Galeano, a Uruguayan journalist, on loyalty of fans in sports: In his life, a man can change wives, political parties or religions but he cannot change his favourite soccer team.

    30. Jimmy Johnson, a champion as a coach in both college football and the NFL, on what special is all about: The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.

    29. George Orwell on what international sports are all about: International football is the continuation of war by other means.

    28. Steve Spurrier, South Carolina head coach, on putting things in perspective: The Pope is 77 years old and he’s in charge of a billion people. All I have to do is put 11 on the field.

    27. Hunter S. Thompson, journalist, author and also a Louisville native, had this to say when asked what it means to be born in Kentucky: I am more than just a Serious basketball fan. I am a life-long Addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.

    26. Arsene Wenger, the French manager on Arsenal, comparing soccer to a pretty woman: A football team is like a beautiful woman. When you do not tell her, she forgets she is beautiful.

    25. Bill Bradley making basketball sound very complicated: Basketball can serve as a metaphor for ultimate cooperation. It is a sport where success … requires that the dictates of community prevail over selfish impulses.

    24. John Madden, who was a very successful coach before moving to TV and becoming the name on EA Sports video game franchise: Self-Praise if for losers. Be a winner. Stand for something. Always have class, and be humble.

    23. Babe Ruth on why he strikes out so much: Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.

    22. Scottie Pippen, who played second-fiddle to Michael Jordan on six Chicago Bulls championships, with some wise words on playing with the greatest basketball player of all-time: Sometimes a player’s greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team.

    Image via
    Image via

    21. Vahid Halilhodžic, a soccer player and later manager, on winning big or winning a lot: It is better to win ten times 1-0 than to win once 10-0.

    20. Vlade Divac, former NBA player, on getting older and heavier: We all get heavier as we get older because there’s a lot more information in our heads. Our heads weigh more.

    19. Bum Phillips, a high school, college and NFL head coach, on what’s being a failure about: You fail all the time, but you aren’t a failure until you start blaming someone else.

    18. Leo Durocher, baseball player and manager, comparing the sport to religion: Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand.

    17. Isiah Thomas, NBA hall of famer and less successful coach, owner and executive, with some interesting foreshadowing: If all I’m remembered for is being a good basketball player, then I’ve done a bad job with the rest of my life.

    16. Hugo Sanchez, Mexican soccer star, on likeness to god: Whoever invented soccer should be worshipped as god.

    15. Chuck Noll, former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, on what’s pressure: Pressure is something you feel when you don’t know what you’re doing.

    14. Hank Aaron comparing his baseball skills to his golfing ability: It took me seventeen years to get three thousand hits in baseball. It took one afternoon on the golf course.

    13. Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets general manager and heavy into analytics: Someone created the box score, and he should be shot.

    Visuals via Digital Trends
    Visuals via Digital Trends

    12. Thomas Dooley, former US international soccer player, on the difference between the United States and Europe: In Europe, it’s different – you eat soccer, you breathe soccer, you drink soccer. Everything is about soccer.

    11. Brian Billick, former Baltimore Ravens head coach, with some hunting comparisons: When you go into a lion’s den, you don’t tippy toe in. You carry a spear, you go in screaming like a banshee, you kick whatever doors in, and say, ‘Where’s the son of a bitch!’ If you go in any other way you’re going to lose.

    10. Tommy Lasorda, baseball manager, on the difference between bad and good: No matter how good you are, you’re going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you’re going to win one-third of your games. It’s the other third that makes the difference.

    9. Doctor J on what being a professional is: Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them.

    8. Unknown source: Cricket is a game for gentlemen played by gentlemen, football is a game for gentlemen played by hooligans, Rugby Union is a game for hooligans played by gentlemen, and Rugby League is a game for hooligans played by hooligans.

    7. Paul Brown on nothing and less: When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less.

    6. Fred McMane, author, on the drink of champions in baseball: They say some of my stars drink whiskey. But I have found that the ones who drink milkshakes don’t win many ball games.

    5. Dennis Rodman wasn’t afraid to guard Magic Johnson: I couldn’t care less if the guy I’m guarding has HIV. I’m going to slam him anyway.

    4. James Naismith on why he invented basketball: The invention of basketball was not an accident. It was developed to meet a need. Those boys simply would not play “Drop the Handkerchief.”

    3. Ted Williams liked to keep things simple: If you don’t think too good, don’t think too much.

    2. Machgielis “Max” Euwe, a chess player, with a quote that’s about his sport, other sports, and life itselfStrategy requires thought, tactics require observation.

    1. Don Shula on why there’s more to life than sports: Success is not forever and failure isn’t fatal.