popular NBA quotes

110+ Best NBA Quotes: Exclusive Selection

The National Basketball Association is an American men’s professional basketball league. NBA is widely considered to be the premier men’s professional basketball league in the world. It teaches you about being a good team player and encourages you to follow your dream. Profoundly inspirational NBA quotes will challenge the way you think, and help guide you through any life experience.

If you’re searching for best sports quotes of all time and popular workout quotes that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of famous hockey quotes, top golf quotes and empowering boxing quotes.

Famous NBA Quotes

Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion. — Michael Jordan

Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen. — Michael Jordan

I always felt that I had to leave a legacy on the African continent. As I was only the third player to come to the NBA from Africa, I felt I had to do my best to recruit more young Africans to come and play in the NBA – and also find a way to bring the NBA to Africa. — Dikembe Mutombo

I guess when people ask what is the biggest transition to the NBA from college, it is definitely defense and the mental part. — Magic Johnson

Everyting negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise. — Kobe Bryant

Once you are labeled ‘the best’ you want to stay up there, and you can’t do it by loafing around. — Larry Bird

NBA quotes

When we go back to New Orleans, this city will get a franchise, I’m convinced. Whether the NBA is smart enough to come here or the NHL or the NFL or baseball, somebody will come here. This market is going to be too good for them to pass up. — George Shinn

I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. — Michael Jordan

I really don’t like talking about money. All I can say is that the Good Lord must have wanted me to have it. — Larry Bird

Every NBA player, every athlete, I think once you get to this level in life, whether you have kids or you’re about to have kids, understands that this is so much bigger than this sport. — Allan Houston

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships. — Michael Jordan

Coaches don’t sleep for a reason. They don’t sleep because it’s a danger zone every night. Very seldom do you ever get two or three days off… The lifestyle of coaching in the NBA is a tremendous challenge that gives you tremendous highs but also tremendous lows. — George Karl

The only reason I’m bringing my condition to your attention now is because the swelling of a lymph node near my left ear has become noticeable to viewers of TNT, and there have been questions asked. My plan is to work the rest of the NBA season and playoffs, go to the beach with my wife, Cheryl, and our four kids, and start a treatment regimen in late June, which will likely include chemotherapy. And then I’ll go back to work. — Ernie Johnson

It’s not about the number of hours you practice, it’s about the number of hours your mind is present during the practice. — Kobe Bryant

popular NBA quotes

I am very happy to be here in the NBA. — Dwyane Wade

Everybody wants to take responsibility when you win, but when you fail, all these fingers are pointing. — Mike Krzyzewski

We’re a ways away from being that next level of NBA team. — Phil Jackson

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

Failure makes me work even harder. — Michael Jordan

When we have these camps, one thing we’re trying to do is give people opportunities. We want to test these kids against some high-level, borderline NBA players. It’s a tough scenario. — Jeff Malone

The accomplishments in college and even in the pros are more in my mind because you constantly see Duke on TV during basketball season. You constantly see the NBA. — Grant Hill

When I was younger, I just thought about playing in the NBA. — Derrick Rose

Sometimes, things may not go your way, but the effort should be there every single night. — Michael Jordan

I play every game like it’s my last game. All that matters is that you go out there and play every game as if it was your last. — Allen Iverson

I expect more people from China and Asia to end up in the NBA. — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

With the NBA thing, I can understand safety issues. But (the student) was not challenging the coach or coming on the floor. He apparently was stating his opinions on the game. — Tim Creamer

Can’t say no one makes money from Twitter now. The NBA does. — Mark Cuban

It’s easy to be a spokesman and ambassador for a great organization like the NBA. I thank Commissioner David Stern for putting that trust in me to serve the NBA around the globe. — Dikembe Mutombo

A lot of people don’t realize that I started my career in sports and was a sports reporter long before I was on television. I used to be an NBA reporter and an NHL reporter. — George Stroumboulopoulos

The only thing wrong with the NBA – or any other professional sport, for that matter – is a wild epidemic of Dumbness and overweening Greed. There is no Mystery about it, and no need to change any rules. — Hunter S. Thompson

Jeremy Lin is the only Asian American in the NBA today and one of the few in any professional U.S. sport. His arrival is surely leading other talented Asian American athletes this week to contemplate a pro career. — Eric Liu

The NBA wasn’t a big deal at that time, so it wasn’t really in my career plans. — Bob Cousy

classic NBA quotes

In many college classes, laptops depict split screens – notes from a class, and then a range of parallel stimulants: NBA playoff statistics on ESPN.com, a flight home on Expedia, a new flirtation on Facebook. — Samantha Power

I wanted a NBA basketball gym at my house and that’s what I worked hard for and I was able to achieve that. — Terrell Owens

But the point of using the number was to show that sex was a great part of my life as basketball was a great part of my life. That’s the reason why I was single. — Wilt Chamberlain

I’m hungrier than those other guys out there. Every rebound is a personal challenge. — Dennis Rodman

We’re in bigger markets now than when we first started, but the right ownership group and the right venue are more important than population size. The NBA hasn’t put a timetable on going to 30 (development league) teams yet. We’re always on the lookout for markets that make sense and we try to fish out and see if there are any interested groups. — Kent Partridge

The first time I stepped on an NBA court I became a businessman. — LeBron James

It’s hard to say if the NBA is hurt by the influx of younger players, but it’s definitely impacted the league. — Michael Jordan

I wanted to do two things when I was growing up, about your age. I wanted to play in the NBA, and I wanted to be a businessman after my basketball career was over, and that is what I am doing now. — Magic Johnson

I can dunk! I can dunk, and not just in NBA Live. — Chris Paul

The NBA and NHL have different agendas: The NBA is much more protective of its players and its brand; the NHL has less to lose, and it’s in their best interest to generate buzz any way they can. — Bill Simmons

We remain convinced that the NBA does not have the right to unilaterally create new ways to punish teams that want to improve by spending on player salaries. The effect of this decision is to continue to undermine player confidence in the NBA’s administration of our collective bargaining agreement. — Billy Hunter

Coaching in the NBA is not easy. It’s like a nervous breakdown with a paycheck. — Pat Williams

After spending more than 17 years playing for the NBA, in the summertime, I always came back to community service and different basketball clinics. — Dikembe Mutombo

There is no question in my mind that Tyrus will be successful. When Tyrus came out of McKinley High School, I don’t think anybody in this room thought he would be one of the top five players in the NBA draft. — John Brady

I’m a competitive player, and I love being on the court. If the NBA cancels the season I’m definitely looking at my options and considering going overseas. — Paul Pierce

If you do things with a certain type of result and cause a certain type of reaction or effect, then you increase your market value. It’s very much a competition for the entertainment dollar, and that’s never been more clearly evident than in today’s NBA game. — Julius Erving

The perception problem was there, and therefore it was real, … We were focusing on that issue even before the brawl, but it certainly was an exclamation point in terms of perceptions of NBA players. We’ve got to do a better job of both acknowledging it and working to correct it. — David Stern

I remember when I was in college, people told me I couldn’t play in the NBA. There’s always somebody saying you can’t do it, and those people have to be ignored. — Bill Cartwright

The NBA’s chosen ones think I’m setting a bad example? I think they need to look around and stop taking themselves so seriously. — Dennis Rodman

Be true to the game, because the game will be true to you. If you try to shortcut the game, then the game will shortcut you. If you put forth the effort, good things will be bestowed upon you. That’s truly about the game, and in some ways that’s about life too. — Michael Jordan

top NBA quotes

The NBA (National Basketball Association) is never just a business. It’s always business. It’s always personal. All good businesses are personal. The best businesses are very personal. — Mark Cuban

We’ve tried to maintain a little bit of flexibility with respect to that decision because we don’t know how NBA teams are going to use it. — Phil Evans

With the NBA scheduling, a lot of times it puts the onus on teams traveling. You play Utah one night and a team like Phoenix is resting and waiting for you the next night. That’s tough. So you run into some circumstances like that more, it seems, on the road than you do at home. — Danny Ainge

NBA games are exciting to watch and have global appeal. They are very popular in China. I do watch NBA games on television when I have time. — Xi Jinping

I love to cook like a mad man. If I could do it all over again? I would be a NBA basketball player. — Henry Zebrowski

What has happened with underclassmen declaring for the NBA draft? It is absolutely wacky, baby! — Dick Vitale

Wherever you go, things change you. I mean, obviously moving to Miami and becoming part of the NBA has given me a different perspective on style than I had when I lived in Chicago or Milwaukee. — Dwyane Wade

The swimming community is really small, but why can’t it be as big as the NBA or the NFL? — Ryan Lochte

There are 30 great jobs in the NBA, and I’ve got one of them. — Scott Brooks

We are pleased to have these renowned franchises represent the NBA in the most ambitious international competition in league history. — David Stern

During my senior year, there were NBA scouts at my games. At some point, I guess, I started hoping I’d get drafted by a team where there would be a great situation for me. As it turned out, Portland was the best situation for me. — Terry Porter

A lot of people look at playing overseas as a step down from the NBA. And, yes it is a step down from the NBA money-wise, but there is just as good of talent overseas as in the NBA. Not better talent. — Udonis Haslem

I grew up on games like Madden and NBA Jam, then moved on to NFL 2K on Dreamcast. The game I really loved was Virtua Tennis. — Chris Paul

Major League Baseball has the best idea of all. Three years before they’ll take a kid out of college, then they have a minor league system that they put the kids in. I’m sure that if the NBA followed the same thing, there would be a lot of kids in a minor league system that still were not good enough to play in the major NBA. — Bobby Knight

I’m a classically trained painter, and I was an illustrator in New York working with Fortune 500s companies as well as the NBA and the Olympics. I first got into sculpting when I created a sculpture based on a painting I had done for the 1984 Olympics. — Richard MacDonald

Because of the makeup of the NBA, it cannot afford for the public to turn on them. — Julius Erving

The NBA has the best point guards in the world, so it is important that I come ready to play every night. — Steve Nash

If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special. — Jim Valvano

No one missed more basketball in the history of NBA than I did. I played 14 seasons, on the roster for 14 years, and I missed more than nine-and-a-half full seasons. — Bill Walton

As a novelist, there are three phone calls you never expect to receive in your lifetime because if you waited for them you would grow despairing – one calling from Stockholm with a Swedish accent, one from the NBA, and one from Oprah Winfrey. — Chris Bohjalian

The NBA has made a real issue about really making these superstars the premium that everybody wants to go to. That’s their calling card and their marketing tool. But the coaches at the other end of the sphere are trying to make everybody on the team, even nine, 10, 11, 12, just as important, and have a real role that’s meaningful. — Phil Jackson

Purchasing the Bobcats is the culmination of my post-playing career goal of becoming the majority owner of an NBA franchise. — Michael Jordan

We’re going to take our resources and spread them across a wider reach. We’ll repay the citizens of Oklahoma City and provide them with their best NBA experience, because this might be their only one. But we’ll try not to lose step with what we were doing in the New Orleans marketplace. We don’t want people (in New Orleans) to ask, ‘Where were you?’ These are our fans. And our fellow citizens. — Paul Mott

The new moron in town is Chad Ford of ESPN.com. — Mark Cuban

A closing team is so important in the NBA. The last seven minutes is what you are always coaching to get to. Now you have your team set, you have the match-ups you want, you have your time-outs, your chance to finish the game, and that’s my job, to get us to that position during the course of the game. — Doug Collins

Free speech is against governments, not against the NBA. So the players and coaches and indeed owners have been fined for their speech, which is costly rather than free. I sort of acknowledge that there is not free speech when you agree to work in the NBA. — David Stern

We’re extremely pleased and fortunate to add someone the caliber of John MacLeod to our coaching staff, … His impressive resume speaks for itself in terms of his success in the NBA and the experience he has gained in this league. We think he’ll make a wonderful addition to our organization and team. — Chris Mullin

So you wake up this morning and find you’re president of the United States. Pretty cool, no? Helicopters and a 747 at your disposal; courtside seats at any NBA playoff game of your choice; everyone stands up and the band plays when you come into the room. — Jeff Greenfield

When I travel around the globe, I try as hard as I can to represent the NBA and the game of basketball to the best of my abilities. I get to go around the world and not only share the game but also my philanthropic work. Building a hospital in the Congo is one of the proudest achievements of my life. — Dikembe Mutombo

The NBA is never just a business. It’s always business. It’s always personal. All good businesses are personal. The best businesses are very personal. — Mark Cuban

The biggest surprise has been making the adjustment after losing a game. In the NBA you could lose tonight and you have to put that game behind you because you have another game the next night. — Dwyane Wade

When I was a little kid, I used to really embarrass my parents. — Russell Crowe

What he said was he had a conversation with a referee. I found that unacceptable and (also) his declining to identify him. … He accepted the fine and acknowledged the statement that he got a call from an NBA referee was, shall I say in error, inaccurate. That makes it over. — David Stern

I’ve been lucky enough to play on NBA teams I really enjoy, teams where I’ve liked everybody and had fun, and had that college kind of experience with an NBA team. When you have that, and I don’t know that everyone does, but when I’ve had it, that’s what it’s all about. — Steve Nash

I had never dreamed about the NBA like some guys did. I was a non-scholarship player at an NAIA college. I played on the Boys and Girls Club team in my freshman and sophomore years of high school before I made the high school team. I was our backup center in college. — Terry Porter

Truthfully, this is how I approach my workout: I want to be the best athlete I can possibly be. If I can out-perform some of the better athletes then I’m happy. When I look at the NFL or the NBA, these guys look how I want to look – it’s useable, functional muscle. — Channing Tatum

I think the NBA will certainly survive without Michael Jordan. — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

What I would say is I’ve only had one injury in my NBA career that was probably was because my core wasn’t strong enough, when I had a stress fracture in my back. — Andrew Bogut

I can’t think of any NBA team over the last few years that lost three starters. And we replaced them basically with three guys who really haven’t played in this league. — Isaiah Thomas

I have a fond place in my heart for Seattle, so I hope that an NBA team comes back to this great city, this great sports city. — Magic Johnson

I really don’t like talking about diets. — Bess Myerson

We’re looking for somebody that can play the two (shooting guard) or the three (small forward). If we find somebody, it’s going to be someone with NBA experience and primarily we’re looking for a three because we have Mobley and Livingston that can play the two. — Elgin Baylor

The public’s got it right, a lot of NBA stars are arrogant and like to spend lots of money and have lots of girlfriends and all that. — Andrew Bogut

I agreed to film after my rookie year in Golden State. I was more used to cameras and felt that my journey to the NBA was a story worth sharing. Little did we know how much bigger the platform and documentary would become after Linsanity. — Jeremy Lin

I still say one of the greatest moments in my whole NBA career was getting drafted. — Kevin Johnson

It’s been a journey, the NBA. It’s taken me a lot farther than I ever expected. — Larry Bird

I didn’t like how my NBA career ended because I wanted to go out on my own terms. But nobody tried to believe in me, that I could go back and play. I can still play at 39. — Tim Hardaway

The NBA has a voice that’s why they have a lockout. The NFL has a voice that’s why they had a lockout. Boxing is the only sport that’s individually represented the individual people – Managers, Promoters and Boxers. — Bernard Hopkins

I’m a numbers guy, and I think numbers sometimes tell stories and sometimes they don’t. When you look at the NBA, when teams shoot 45% or better from the floor, what is their record? And if they shoot under that what is their record? — Doug Collins

Ninety percent of the coaches in the NBA are guards, and there aren’t very many big men people coaching, I happen to be one of them and when I coached, everybody on my team, including the guards, had a hook shot, so that it was their bail out shot. — Tom Heinsohn

Wherever there’s money, there’s drugs, so to say drugs don’t exist in the NBA would be stupid. — Dennis Rodman

I met wonderful people playing in the NBA. Whether it is the officials, the scorekeepers, all the people who work for the NBA, not just for the Lakers, but I’m talking about just for the league itself. — Magic Johnson

Each group and each youngster is different. As a leader or coach, you get to know what they need. — Mike Krzyzewski

I still have my old Nintendo 64 that works. And I hook it up, and I still play the original Goldeneye. Im that geek. I have an NBA Jam arcade machine in my office at SNL. — Taran Killam

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

The one thing that always bothered me when I played in the NBA was I really got irritated when they put a white guy on me. — Larry Bird

So you’re dealing with a coach, and you’re dealing with a guy who’s actually experienced NBA basketball from a player’s perspective and actually goes about it that way. — Kevin Garnett

The NBA needs more of that ‘it’s-about-us-against-them’ mentality. — Scott Brooks

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