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179+ GREATEST Inspirational Basketball Quotes

179+ GREATEST Inspirational Basketball Quotes

Basketball has become one of the most popular sports in the world since its invention in 1891 by a Canadian American physical educator named James Naismith.

Like the game of life, having the right motivation plays a key role to keep improving your basketball skills.

When you are trying to improve yourself and reach the next level, it can be helpful to have the best inspiring basketball quotes at hand.

These top quotes will inspire you to keep pushing your limits. The collections of workout quotesprogress sayings, and stay strong quotes will encourage you to train harder and to never give up on your dreams.

List of Most Inspirational Basketball Quotes Ever

  • The invention of basketball was not an accident. It was developed to meet a need. Those boys simply would not play ‘Drop the Handkerchief.’ James Naismith
  • I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. Michael Jordan
  • I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. Michael Jordan
  • Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard. Kevin Durant
  • A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals. Larry Bird
  • Do your best when no one is looking. If you do that, then you can be successful in anything that you put your mind to. Bob Cousy
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  • Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, and others make it happen. Michael Jordan
  • Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. you are what you repeatedly do. Shaquille O’Neal
  • Ask not what your teammates can do for you. Ask what you can do for your teammates. Magic Johnson
  • Coaching is easy. Winning is the hard part. Elgin Baylor
  • If you are not intent about what you are doing, you aren’t able to resist the temptation to do something else that might be more fun at the moment. John Wooden
  • There is no such thing as a perfect basketball player, and I don’t believe there is only one greatest player either. Michael Jordan
  • Even when I’m old and grey, I won’t be able to play it, but I’ll still love the game. Michael Jordan
  • I gave everything I had to basketball. The passion is still there, but the desire to play is not. It was a great ride. Allen Iverson
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  • There’s a great quote by Julius Irving that went, ‘Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them.’ David Halberstam
  • Nothing is given. Everything is earned. LeBron James
  • What do you do with a mistake: recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it. Dean Smith
  • Everything negative, pressure, challenges are all an opportunity for me to rise. Kobe Bryant
  • Everybody pulls for David, nobody roots for Goliath. Wilt Chamberlain
  • 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
  • Great players are willing to give up their own personal achievement for the achievement of the group. It enhances everybody. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
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  • Great players are willing to give up their own personal achievement for the achievement of the group. It enhances everybody. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. The conceit is self-given. Be careful. John Wooden
  • 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
  • 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
  • I would tell players to relax and never think about what’s at stake. Just think about the basketball game. If you start to think about who is going to win the championship, you’ve lost your focus. Michael Jordan
  • Concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory. Bill Russell
  • Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships. Michael Jordan
  • Basketball is a beautiful game when the five players on the court play with one heartbeat. Dean Smith
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  • Me shooting 40% at the foul line is just God’s way of saying nobody’s perfect. Shaquille O’Neal
  • My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength. Michael Jordan
  • 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. John Wooden
  • Watching Nash from his early years in Dallas to his prime in Phoenix, it was unbelievable to see a man who many thought would never last in the National Basketball Association, prove all of his doubters wrong. Clayton Geoffreys
  • Practice habits were crucial to my development in basketball. I didn’t play against the toughest competition in high school, but one reason I was able to do well in college was that I mastered the fundamentals. You’ve got to have them down before you can even think about playing. Larry Bird
  • Sometimes a player’s greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team. Scottie Pippen
  • Something just doesn’t pop under your nose; you have to work for it. LeBron James
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  • How good can we expect to be if our best player is not our best teammate? Brad Stevens
  • Once you are labeled the best you want to stay up there, and you can’t do it by loafing around. If I don’t keep changing, I’m history. Larry Bird
  • Create unselfishness as the most important team attribute Bill Russell
  • In basketball, distributing shots among teammates is like dispersing cars across different roadways. Ben Taylor
  • Ability may get you to the top, but it takes a character to keep you there. John Wooden
  • Leadership is diving for a loose ball. It’s about being able to take it as well as dish it out. That’s the only way you are going to get respect from other players Larry Bird
  • You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them. Michael Jordan
  • What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player. John Wooden
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  • Good players want to be coached… Great players want to be told the truth. Doc Rivers
  • Recognize and reward players who put the team first, not just the gifted ones. Don Meyer
  • Basketball is a lifelong game. You continue to learn from the game day in and day out, and all along the way, you get better. Scottie Pippen
  • I think that my God-given physical attributes, big hands, and big feet, the way that I’m built, proportion-wise, just made basketball the most inviting sport for me to play. Julius Erving
  • There is a lot of basketball beyond our control, but a player should never let anyone try harder than he does. Dean Smith
  • Commitment separates those who live their dreams from those who live their lives regretting the opportunities they have squandered. Bill Russell
  • Once you are labeled the best you want to stay up there, and you can’t do it by loafing around. If I don’t keep changing, I’m history. Larry Bird
  • I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. Michael Jordan
  • Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best. Tim Duncan
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  • To inspire the players, I adapted a quote from Walt Whitman and taped it on their lockers before the first game of the playoffs, against the Miami Heat. ‘Henceforth we seek not good fortune, we are ourselves good fortune’. Phil Jackson
  • Remember that basketball is a game of habits. If you make the other guy deviate from his habits, you’ve got him. Bill Russell
  • If you quit ONCE it becomes a habit. Never quit! Michael Jordan
  • The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team. Phil Jackson
  • When I lose the sense of motivation and the sense to prove something as a basketball player, it’s time for me to move away from the game. Michael Jordan
  • Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen. Michael Jordan
  • I really get motivated when I have doubters. Shaquille O’Neal
  • I’ve learned what it feels like to lose, believe me. But I think, in the end, that is just going to make winning that much better. Kevin Durant
  • Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds. Larry Bird
  • You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good. Jerry West
  • Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships. Michael Jordan
  • Research has shown that people who meditate and think about every aspect of the game in their heads are better prepared for the game environment when the moment of truth arrives. Jame Wilson
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  • Teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one. Mike Krzyzewski
  • Put great thought to what and how you practice. Once practice is done you can never get that time back. Did you simulate the game? Kevin Eastman
  • The key is not the ‘will to win’… everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important. Bob Knight
  • Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation. Michael Jordan
  • Please be aware that if you volunteer to coach youth basketball, you’re taking on a very important role. How you approach the season and how you interact with the kids will affect how they feel about themselves, the sport of basketball, and you. Greg Bach
  • I think the reason why I’m the person who I am today is that I went through those tough times when I was younger. LeBron James
  • There’s only one thing we can control, and that is how hard we play. Don Meyer
  • The idea is not to block every shot. The idea is to make your opponent believe that you might block every shot. Bill Russell
  • Basketball, like all sports, is predicated on the execution of fundamentals. The coach is a teacher. His subject: fundamentals. Dr. Jack Ramsay
  • When you think you have done enough, do a little more, because someone out there is working harder than you. Larry Bird
  • The game is my wife. It demands loyalty and responsibility, and it gives me back fulfillment and peace. Michael Jordan
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  • 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
  • If you are afraid of failure you don’t deserve to be successful! Charles Barkley
  • When you’re not practicing, someone else is getting better. Allen Iverson
  • Hall of Fame player and coach John Wooden stated that all players must learn to execute the fundamental skills properly and quickly in order to be successful. Don Meyer
  • The invention of basketball was not an accident. It was developed to meet a need. Those boys simply would not play “Drop the Handkerchief.” James Naismith
  • Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds. Larry Bird
  • You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good. Jerry West
  • Discover your gift, develop your gift, and then give it away every day. Don Meyer
  • I would tell players to relax and never think about what’s at stake. Just think about the basketball game. If you start to think about who is going to win the championship, you’ve lost your focus. Michael Jordan
  • If you are afraid of failure you don’t deserve to be successful! Charles Barkley
  • We’re building a culture of accountability, trust, and togetherness. Entitlement will not be tolerated. Brad Stevens
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  • It takes three things to be a ‘special’ player: talent, character, and competitive fire. Kevin Eastman
  • A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment. John Wooden
  • But that’s the thing about basketball: you don’t play games on paper. Bill Simmons
  • It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit. John Wooden
  • As the game has evolved, the demands upon players have evolved, and practices must evolve to meet these changing demands. Brian McCormick
  • If you don’t do what’s best for your body, you’re the one who comes up on the short end. Julius Erving
  • Instead, he (Michael Jordan) re-directed all of his energies to sports, playing basketball and baseball with the same drive and determination as his siblings and parents had with their work. Charlton Best
  • 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
  • I’m playing; I’m here. I’m going to fight until they tell me they don’t want me anymore. Steve Nash
  • In order to achieve positive results, one must work for them, not hope for them. Bob Knight
  • Don’t mistake activity with achievement. John Wooden
  • There’s no such thing as coulda, shoulda, or woulda. If you shoulda and coulda, you woulda done it. Pat Riley
  • Everybody has talent, but ability takes hard work. Michael Jordan
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  • Most of us spend the bulk of our time caught up in thoughts of the past or the future which can be dangerous if your job is winning basketball games. Basketball takes place at such a lightning pace that it’s easy to make mistakes and get obsessed with what just happened or what might happen next, which distracts you from the only thing that really matters this very moment. Phil Jackson
  • The key to success is the failure. Michael Jordan
  • I’m chasing perfection. Kobe Bryant
  • 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
  • No matter how hard you work at your craft and no matter how successful you become, people just have to find something negative to hang on you. […] The bar is always being raised as you go. The rules are always being rewritten. There’s aggravation that comes with that, but that’s part of what makes triumph so sweet. Charles Barkley
  • I don’t know if I practiced more than anybody, but I sure practiced enough. I still wonder if somebody somewhere was practicing more than me. Larry Bird
  • Approach the game with no preset agendas and you’ll probably come away surprised at your overall efforts. Phil Jackson
  • Sometimes your best effort just isn’t good enough. LeBron James
  • I’ve never lost a game I just ran out of time. Michael Jordan
  • I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I’m like, ‘My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don’t have it. I just want to chill.’ We all have self-doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate to it. You embrace it. Kobe Bryant
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  • Michael Jordan is the greatest player ever because he has the best individual contributions to the team’s success in the regular season and postseason to go along with winning 6 NBA Championships. Johnny Osaki
  • Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion. Michael Jordan
  • The most we can hope for is to create the best possible conditions for success, then let go of the outcome. The ride is a lot more fun that way. Phil Jackson
  • If every basketball player worked as hard as I did, I’d be out of a job. Steve Nash
  • You don’t need great skill to be a tough rebounder; being a rebounder is all about effort, determination, and physicality. Mike Malone
  • Talent does all of the hard work on the court, but a player’s character and demeanor on and off of it are what defines his future as a superstar. Clayton Geoffreys
  • The basketball court for me, during a game, is the most peaceful place I can imagine. On the basketball court, I worry about nothing. When I’m out there, no one can bother me… Michael Jordan
  • The goal is to make practice more difficult, physically/mentally, than anything your players will face during a game. Bob Knight
  • 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. Isiah Thomas
  • Love never fails; Character never quits, and with patience and persistence; dreams do come true. Pete Maravich
  • Your best player has to set a tone of intolerance for anything that gets in the way of winning. Jeff Van Gundy
  • As a leader, your job is to do everything in your power to create the perfect conditions for success by benching your ego and inspiring your team to play the game the right way. But at some point, you need to let go and turn yourself over to the basketball gods. The soul of success is surrendering to what is. Phil Jackson
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  • Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. John Wooden
  • I look at my jersey and see the NBA logo, I’m like, ‘I didn’t think I’d be here.’ Kevin Durant
  • There is nothing wrong with dedication and goals, but if you focus on yourself, all the lights fade away and you become a fleeting moment in life. Pete Maravich
  • The day I stopped worrying about stats is the day I started winning. Shaquille O’Neal
  • There is no I in a team but there is in a win. Michael Jordan
  • The important thing is that your teammates have to know you’re pulling for them and you really want them to be successful. Kobe Bryant
  • Limits, like fears, are often just an illusion. Michael Jordan
  • One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • I’ve always been impressed by Kobe’s resilience and ironclad self-confidence. Unlike Shaq, who was often plagued by self-doubt, Kobe never let such thoughts cross his mind. If someone set the bar at ten feet, he’d jump eleven, even if no one had ever done it before. That’s the attitude he brought with him when he arrived at training camp that fall, and it had a powerful impact on his teammates. Phil Jackson
  • It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. John Wooden
  • If you do the work you get rewarded. There are no shortcuts in life. Michael Jordan
  • People just don’t understand how obsessed I am with winning. Kobe Bryant
  • I would tell players to relax and never think about what’s at stake. Just think about the basketball game. If you start to think about who is going to win the championship, you’ve lost your focus. Michael Jordan
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  • That’s why at the start of every season I always encouraged players to focus on the journey rather than the goal. What matters most is playing the game the right way and having the courage to grow, as human beings as well as basketball players. When you do that, the ring takes care of itself. Phil Jackson
  • Coaches shouldn’t have to push you to work hard, you should push yourself to work hard because you want to be a great player. Bob Knight
  • I always wanted to be a basketball player. Nothing more, nothing less. Dirk Nowitzki
  • You can’t win unless you learn how to lose. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • Good thing in this business is that you just have to make one big shot and that’s enough to make you forget 9 other shots that you missed. Guy Zucker
  • Goals determine what you’re going to be. Julius Erving
  • Once I made a decision, I never thought about it again. Michael Jordan
  • If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But 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. You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them. Michael Jordan
  • Everything is habit forming, so make sure what you do is what you want to be doing. Wilt Chamberlain
  • Failure is acceptable. but not trying is a whole different ballpark. Michael Jordan
  • 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
  • Everything negative pressure, challenges is all an opportunity for me to rise. Kobe Bryant
  • I love seeing my teammates succeed. That’s what I get more excited about than anything. LeBron James
  • It’s OK to make mistakes. That’s how we learn. When we compete, we make mistakes. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
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  • Failure is good. It’s fertilizer. Everything I’ve learned about coaching I’ve learned from making mistakes. Rick Pitino
  • There is no such thing as a perfect basketball player, and I don’t believe there is only one greatest player either. Everyone plays in different eras. I built my talents on the shoulders of someone else’s talent. I believe greatness is an evolutionary process that changes and evolves era to era. Michael Jordan
  • We old athletes carry the disfigurements and markings of contests remembered only by us and no one else. Nothing is more lost than a forgotten game. Pat Conroy
  • They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they’d make up their minds. Wilt Chamberlain
  • The most important measure of how good a game I played was how much better I’d made my teammates play. Bill Russell
  • Playing basketball calls for every part of your body, and every ability to move possessed by the human body. Dre Baldwin
  • What is love? Love is playing every game as if it’s your last! Michael Jordan
  • I think I started learning lessons about being a good person long before I ever knew what basketball was. And that starts in the home, it starts with the parental influence. Julius Erving
  • The only difference between a good shot and a bad shot is if it goes in or not. Charles Barkley
  • One of the things in the back of my mind is that, after my sports experience, I never want to be, totally consumed by anyone endeavor, other than my family life. Julius Erving
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  • I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. No matter what the injury unless it’s completely debilitating I’m going to be the same player I’ve always been. I’ll figure it out. I’ll make some tweaks, some changes, but I’m still coming. Kobe Bryant
  • It was the loss of the varsity spot that caused things to turn around as Jordan took the bad news and made it his motivation to improve for next year and work harder on his basketball skills with the goal to make the varsity team. Clayton Geoffreys
  • Preparation is critical, but sometimes in such moments, the best thing you can do has nothing to do with what’s happening on the court but what is going on inside the players’ heads. Jay Triano
  • Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them. John Wooden
  • To learn to succeed, you must first learn to fail. Michael Jordan
  • I’ve tried to handle winning well so that maybe we’ll win again, but I’ve also tried to handle failure well. If those serve as good examples for teachers and kids, then I hope that would be a contribution I have made to the sport. Mike Krzyzewski
  • Acknowledge the difficult spot you’re in and commence digging out of it. Don’t point fingers, don’t recriminate, and don’t make excuses. Stay positive and get to work. Rick Pitino

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