150+ Inspirational Basketball Quotes

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Basketball isn’t just about winning the game. If you play with passion and dedication every time, you will always be a winner. Get inspired by these basketball quotes from the world’s famous basketballers and coaches. 

Basketball is enormously popular in many countries around the world today, especially in the US where it was invented. This amusing sport has proven to be a great way to gain strength, coordination skills, team spirit, and muscular endurance. But it is not a simple sport, it takes perseverance, speed, agility, and lots of practice to excel in it.

The National Basketball Association (NBA), founded on 6th June 1946, is an integral part of today’s American basketball culture. However, the NBA only started to gain popularity around the 60s and 70s.

Did you know that the first basketballs were made of brown leather? Interesting huh? So, why the change to the vibrant orange that it is today? Tony Hinkle, coach at Butler University, introduced the iconic orange ball in 1957 to make it more visible to spectators.

Whether you’re a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, or other basketball teams, you know the feeling of anticipation and excitement true fans get when the game comes up.

In this article, we have curated 150+ inspirational basketball quotes to motivate basketball aspirants and enthusiasts. Feel free to share them with your basketball buddies and on social media!

 

SHORT BASKETBALL QUOTES

1. “I treated it like every day was my last day with a basketball.” – LeBron James

2. “Basketball isn’t just a sport. It is an art, one that must be mastered to succeed.” – Steph Curry

3. “Excellence is a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.” – Shaquille O’Neal

4. “We looked like a team at both ends of the court.”― Mike Dunlap

5. “What is love? Love is playing every game like it’s your last.”― Micheal Jordan

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6. “The only difference between a good shot and a bad shot is if it goes in or not”― Charles Barkley

7. “You are responsible for how people remember you—or don’t. So don’t take it lightly.” – Kobe Bryant

8. “Basketball doesn’t build character, it reveals it.” – James Naismith

9. “Basketball is my passion, I love it.” – LeBron James

10. “It´s not how big you are, it´s how big you play.” – Unknown

11. “The only way to get better at basketball is to play basketball.” – Shaquille O´Neal

12. “The only thing that matters is the final score.” – Magic Johnson

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13. Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.”— Michael Jordan

14.“There is no ‘i’ in team but there is in win.”— Michael Jordan

15. “You want what basketball look like… You don’t want what it feels like” hard work is tough and it hurts.” – Unknown

16.“Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.”— Kobe Bryant

17. “I’ll take the contract. He can have the team.”― Herbert Kohl

18. “No alarm clock needed. My passion wakes me up.. !”― Kyrie Irving

19. “Practice hard, train hard, work hard, and play harder.”― Alcurtis Turner

20. “After all, greatness is not for everybody.”— Kobe Bryant

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21.  “I’ve never lost a game I just ran out of time.” – Michael Jordan

22. “If you don’t fall how are you going to know what getting up is like.” – Steph Curry

23. “If you´re afraid to fail, then you´re probably going to fail.” – Kobe Bryant

24. “Coaching is easy. Winning is the hard part.” – Elgin Baylor

25.“I always wanted to be a basketball player. Nothing more, nothing less.” – Dirk Nowitzki

26. “The day I stopped worrying about stats is the day I started winning.” – Shaquille O’Neal

27. “When it gets down to it, basketball is basketball.” – Larry Bird

28. “You can’t win if you don’t play as a unit.” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

29. “Those to whom defense is not important will have the best seat in the game.” – RickSlide9 Majerus

30. “Basketball is a beautiful game when the five players on the court play with one heartbeat.” – Dean Smith

31. “Don’t be afraid of failure. This is the way to succeed.” – Lebron James

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32. “I started playing basketball so late, it just means that anything is possible.” – Joel Embiid

33. “In order to be successful in basketball, you have to be able to adapt and adjust to any situation.” – Chris Bosh

34. “The key to being a great basketball player is to have a strong mental game and to always be focused on the task at hand.” – Steph Curry

35. “Confidence is everything in this game, if you don’t think you can, you won’t.” – Jerry West

36.  “All dreams are crazy. Until they come true.” – Dirk Nowitzki

37. “I think the most important thing in basketball is to have a strong sense of teamwork and to always be willing to help your teammates.” – Paul George

38. “I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win.” ― Michael Jordan

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39. “Me shooting 40% at the foul line is just God’s way to say nobody’s perfect.” – Shaquille O’Neal

40. “The only way to succeed in basketball is to have a strong foundation of skills and to be constantly working on improving them.”  – Kevin Durant

41. “If you look up the definition of greatness in the dictionary, it will say Michael Jordan.” – Elgin Baylor

42. “The only way to improve in basketball is to push yourself to be better every day.” – Jason Kidd

43. “I think, team first. It allows me to succeed, it allows my team to succeed.“ –Lebron James

44. “Sometimes a player’s greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team.” ― Scottie Pippen

45. “You don’t play against opponents, you play against the game of basketball.” — Bobby Knight

46. “Ask not what your teammates can do for you. Ask what you can do for your teammates.“ – Magic Johnson

47. “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

48. “Basketball is a game with winners and losers, but if you play this game with your heart, you’re always a winner.”― C.M.

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49. “… the world needs more roses far more than it needs more basketball players.”― Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline

50. “But that’s the thing about basketball: you don’t play games on paper.”― Bill SimmonsThe Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy

 

INSPIRATION BASKETBALL QUOTES

51. “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.”― Hunter S. Thompson

52.  “The first time I managed to pick up a basketball I knew I was destined to lead the UK to another National Championship.”― Hunter S. Thompson

53. “If you want to be a better player, you have to prepare, prepare, and prepare some more.” ― Kobe Bryant, The Mamba Mentality: How I Play

54. “You see this circle? The size of this circle represents everything that I know about basketball. But the size of this ball represents everything about the game that has never been discovered.” ― Pete Maravich

55. “Champions never sleep, the eternal spirit keep them alert and awake.”― Amit Ray, Enlightenment Step by Step

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56. “The star player must slay his ego and learn teamwork and communication skills before he can achieve the ultimate in sport”
― Walt Frazier, The Game Within the Game

57. “Basketball allowed me to revere my father without him knowing what I was up to. I took up basketball as a form of homage and mimicry.”― Pat Conroy, My Losing Season: A Memoir

58. “Apparently I need shoes with a ‘swoosh’ on the side if I’m to continue playing basketball. ~ Lucius Vladescu”― Beth Fantaskey

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

60. “If handed an actual basketball, I would instantly cry. For me, doing sports was like meeting the Disney characters at Disney World. On TV I loved Mickey Mouse, but when I met the actual real-life Mickey, or rather his impersonator, and he tried to hug me in his warm fuzzy suit, I recoiled in fear.” ― Mindy Kaling, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

61. “Sometimes a player’s greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team.”― Scottie Pippen

62. “It is not over. Champions extend their limits and make things happen.”― Amit Ray

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63. “Elders of the Creedish church made celibacy sound as easy as choosing not to play basketball. Just say no.”― Chuck Palahniuk, Survivor

64. “A key basketball skill is imagery. The best players “see” situations before they happen so they can be prepared” – Dr. Jack Ramsay

65. “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.” – Red Auerbach

66. “I can’t stand a ballplayer who plays in fear. Any fellow who has a good shot has got to take it and keep taking it. So he misses – so what?” – Red Auerbach

67. “Every time you compete, try harder to improve on your last performance. Give nothing short of your very best effort.” – Elgin Baylor

68. “I’ve missed more than 9,000 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 and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

69. “The most important measure of how good a game I played was how much better I’d made my teammates play.” – Bill Russell

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70. “If you love the game and you love playing, just have fun and enjoy it. Work hard and don’t get bogged down by it.” – Blake Griffin

71. “From the beginning, I wanted to be the best. I had a constant craving, a yearning, to improve and be the best. I never needed any external forces to motivate me.” ― Kobe Bryant, The Mamba Mentality: How I Play

72. “In basketball, as in life, true joy comes from being fully present in each and every moment, not just when things are going your way.” – Phil Jackson

73. “Basketball is a game of runs, and if you´re playing with a lead, you have to be able to withstand the other team´s run.” – Doc Rivers

74.”I´m not a role model… Just because I dunk a basketball doesn´t mean I should raise your kids.” – Charles Barkley

75. “From the beginning, I wanted to be the best. I had a constant craving, a yearning, to improve and be the best.” – Kobe Bryant

76. “They don’t need a ticket to watch you sitting on a bench. They can go to your house for that.” – Michael Jordan

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77. “In order to be successful in basketball, you have to have a strong work ethic and be willing to put in the time and effort.” – Russell Westbrook

78. “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

79. 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

80.“I’ve played with IVs before, during and after games. I’ve played with a broken hand, a sprained ankle, a torn shoulder, a fractured tooth, a severed lip, and a knee the size of a softball. I don’t miss 15 games because of a toe injury that everybody knows wasn’t that serious in the first place.” – Kobe Bryant

81. “The most important thing in basketball is to have a positive attitude and to stay motivated.” – Magic Johnson

82. “There is no such thing as a perfect basketball player, & I don’t believe there is only one greatest player either.” – Michael Jordan

83. “You need to work as hard to be a great teammate as you do to be a great player” – Jon Gordon

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84.“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” – Michael Jordan

85. “I think the most important thing in basketball is to have a strong foundation and to be well-rounded as a player.” – LeBron James

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

87. “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

88. “Not only is there more to life than basketball, there’s a lot more to basketball than basketball.” – Phil Jackson

89. “Basketball is a game of mental toughness. It´s about being able to stay focused and not getting rattled under pressure.” – James Harden

90. “This is basketball, not figure skating. You don’t get extra points for degree of difficulty.” – Bob Hurley

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91. “I’m looking for players who make their teammates better. You do that with enthusiasm and passion.” – Mike Krzyzewski

92. “Remember that basketball is a game of habits. If you make the other guy deviate from his habits, you’ve got him.” – Bill Russell

93. “You should always want your coach to be critical. It gives you an opportunity to learn and to overcome adversity.” – Steve Nash

94. “You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.” – Michael Jordan

95. “If the only reason I coached was to win basketball games, my life would be pretty shallow.” – Mike Krzyzewski

96. “It’s better to have a good player with the basketball in late game situations than to have plays.” – Rick Pitino

97. “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.” – John Wooden

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98.“The most important measure of how good a game I played was how much better I’d made my teammates play.” – Bill Russell

99. “I´ve always felt that I could play basketball, but I just had to work a little harder than the next guy to get it done.” – Jason Kidd

100. “Players that learn the value of hard work, commitment, teamwork, and sacrifice are the ones that make their teams great” – Tom Crean

101. “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.” – Red Auerbach

102. “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

103. “They said playing basketball would kill me. Well, not playing basketball was killing me.” ― Magic Johnson

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104. “The best basketball players have a keen sense of where they are on the court, and they use this awareness to anticipate where they need to be in order to be successful.” – John Calipari

105. “The beauty of coaching is growing the players from the ground up. That journey continues.” – Kobe Bryant

106. “I can’t relate to lazy people. We don’t speak the same language. I don’t understand you. I don’t want to understand you.” –Kobe Bryant

107. “The most important thing in basketball is to have a positive attitude and to always believe in yourself and your abilities.” – Dwight Howard

108. “I don’t complain about playing time. My job is to play so well that my coach can’t sit me.” – Shane Battier

109. “Teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one.”— Mike Krzyzewski

110.   “The greatness of Michael Jordan is his competitive drive. The weakness of Michael Jordan is his competitive drive.” – Phil Jackson

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111. “The only way to be successful in basketball is to work hard, play together, and trust each other.” – Chris Paul

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

113. “A key basketball skill is imagery. The best players “see” situations before they happen so they can be prepared.” ― Dr. Jack Ramsay

114. “The key to being a great basketball player is to never stop learning and to always be willing to get better.” – Kobe Bryant

115. “People ask me if I could fly, I said, ‘yeah…. for a little while.” – Michael Jordan

116. “I play basketball to win a championship. That championship is everything to me. And that’s what gets people to buy in to your brand – being a winner.” — Chris Paul

117. “Believe that the loose ball that you are chasing has your name wirtten on it” – Mike Krzyzewski

118. “The most important thing in basketball is to believe in yourself, and that´s what I try to do.” – Kevin Durant

119. “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

120. “Losing is losing. There aren’t different degrees of losing. You either win a championship or you’re shit. It’s very black and white to me.” – Kobe Bryant

121. “I’m not out there sweating for three hours every day just to find out what it feels like to sweat.” – Michael Jordan

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122. “Basketball is a game of mental toughness. It´s about being able to push through adversity and never giving up.” – Blake Griffin

123. “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

124. “All the successful teams I’ve ever seen have three characteristics: They play unselfish, they play together, and they play hard.“ –Larry Brown

125. “Pressure works, not by stealing the ball, but by changing momentum” – Donnie Jones

126. “The key to being a great basketball player is to have a strong foundation of skills and to be constantly working on improving them.” – DeMar DeRozan

127. “Use different basketball offensive alignments to cause confusion for the other team” – Hubie Brown

128. “To win the big games you must get to the free throw line, and then you must make them” – Rick Majerus

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

130. “The only way to get better at basketball is to put in the work and practice consistently.” – Stephen Curry

131. “There is a direct correlation between the number of ball reversals and defensive breakdowns.” ― Kevin Eastman

132.  “If I had been playing for money I would have complained a long time ago that I was underpaid.” – Michael Jordan

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133. The greatest sin a coach can commit is to allow kids to slide by. This goes for the classroom as well as the court” – Hubie Brown

134. “I tell kids to pursue their basketball dreams, but I tell them not to let that be their only dream” – Kareem Abdul Jabbar

135. “Shooting percentage is just as much about decision making as it is about technique” – Jeff Van Gundy

136. “Basketball is a team game, and the only way to be successful is to work together and trust each other.” – Dwayne Wade

137. “Scoring 100 points is a lot, but I maybe could have scored 140 if they had played straight-up basketball.” ― Wilt Chamberlain

138. “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

139. “Basketball is a game of discipline and focus. If you´re not focused and disciplined, you´re not going to be successful.” – Larry Bird

140. “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

141. “You need your best players to play their best when their best is needed” – Jeff van Gundy

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142. “I think the key to basketball is to have fun and enjoy the game. If you´re not having fun, then what´s the point?” – Scottie Pippen

143.  “The game of basketball has been everything to me. My place of refuge, place I’ve always gone where I needed comfort and peace. It’s been the site of intense pain and the most intense feelings of joy and satisfaction. It’s a relationship that has evolved over time, given me the greatest respect and love for the game.” – Michael Jordan

144. “Your best players have to unite and inspire the group… otherwise, they’ll divide the group” – Jeff Van Gundy

145.  “Best evaluation I can make of a player is to look in his eyes and see how scared they are.” – Michael Jordan

146. “The key to being successful in basketball is to have a strong work ethic and to never give up.” – Tim Duncan

147. “A lot of people told me I couldn’t do it because of my size. I was determined to prove those people wrong.” – Ben Wallace

148.  “Champions do not become champions when they win an event, but in the hours, weeks, and months, and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely a demonstration of their championship character.” – Michael Jordan

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

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150. “In order to be successful in basketball, you have to be able to think on your feet and make quick decisions.” – Shaquille O´Neal

151. “If you’re a basketball player, you’ve got to shoot.” ― Oscar Robertson

152. “Over coaching is the worst thing you can do to a player.” – Dean Smith

153. “The two ingredients for success in basketball are playing hard and playing intelligently.” – Pete Carril

154. “The coach should be the absolute boss, but he still should maintain an open mind” – Red Auerbach

155.  “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

 

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