basketball quotes

60 Timeless Basketball Quotes: Wisdom from the Court

Basketball is more than just a game; it’s a testament to human spirit, perseverance, and teamwork. These “basketball quotes” crystallize the essence of the game, offering timeless wisdom from the court that has inspired many.

Quotes from Basketball Legends


1. “I’ve missed more than 9,000 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

2. “I never think about the next shot. It’s always this shot.” – Larry Bird

3. “The game has its ups and downs, but you can never lose focus of your individual goals and you can’t let yourself be beaten because of lack of effort.” – Michael Jordan

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

5. “Every time I rise up, I have confidence that I’m going to make it.” – Stephen Curry

6. “Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds.” – Larry Bird

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

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

9. “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

10. “Success is not an accident, success is actually a choice.” – Stephen Curry

11. “I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come. I don’t do things half-heartedly. Because I know if I do, then I can expect half-hearted results.” – Michael Jordan

Inspirational Basketball Quotes


12. “Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.” – Mia Hamm

13. “If you are afraid of failure, you don’t deserve to be successful.” – Charles Barkley

14. “Winning is about having the whole team on the same page.” – Bill Walton

15. “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.” – Vince Lombardi

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

17. “Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.” – Pat Riley

18. “To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don’t isolate.” – Morgan Wootten

19. “It’s what you get from games you lose that is extremely important.” – Pat Riley

20. “You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.” – Chris Paul

21. “If you can’t outplay them, outwork them.” – Ben Hogan

22. “Opportunities may come to people who are at the right place at the right time, but success comes to people who persist.” – Rose Marie

23. “It’s what you do before the season starts that makes a champion.” – Bobby Knight

24. “Your biggest opponent isn’t the other guy. It’s human nature.” – Bobby Knight

25. “You were born to be a player. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours.” – Herb Brooks

26. “The best teams have chemistry. They communicate with each other and they sacrifice personal glory for the common goal.” – Dave DeBusschere

27. “Talent is God-given; be humble. Fame is man-given; be thankful. Conceit is self-given; be careful.” – John Wooden

28. “There may be people with more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” – John Wooden

Funny and Light-Hearted Quotes


Even in the intense world of basketball, there’s always room for humor. These quotes remind us to take a step back, laugh, and enjoy the lighter side of the game.

29. “I’m not against taking shots, but I am against taking bad shots.” – Hakeem Olajuwon

30. “I’d rather shoot 0 for 30 than 0 for 9 because 0 for 9 means you stopped shooting. That means you lost confidence.” – Kobe Bryant

31. “We’re shooting 100 percent – 60 percent from the field and 40 percent from the free-throw line.” – Norm Sloan

32. “I can’t teach you how to dunk, but I can teach you how to dress.” – Dennis Rodman

33. “When I dunk, I put something on it. I want the ball to hit the floor before I do.” – Darryl Dawkins

34. “I told Steve Kerr he could have my minutes. Now, it seems he’s taking them.” – Jalen Rose on Kerr’s unexpected rise in playing time

35. “I’ll do whatever it takes to win games, whether it’s sitting on a bench waving a towel, handing a cup of water to a teammate, or hitting the game-winning shot.” – Kyle Lowry

36. “I’ve never been dunked on. I’m very prideful. I don’t think it’ll happen. If I get dunked on, it won’t be a good day for the other person. I’ll be waiting in the locker room.” – Myles Turner

37. “You can’t just assume they’re going to give you big hugs and kisses.” – Nikola Jokić about playing against his teammates in international games

38. “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

39. “Basketball doesn’t build character. It reveals it.” – Bill Walton

40. “I got a family to feed. And for real, if there was a league out there that offered $15 more than I was making in the NBA, I’d go. I’ve got to feed my family.” – Latrell Sprewell, joking about his large NBA salary

41. “I don’t hate anyone, at least not for more than 48 minutes, barring overtime.” – Charles Barkley

Basketball Quotes from Modern Era and the New Generation


Basketball continues to evolve, and with it comes a fresh batch of voices offering their own unique perspective on the game. These quotes capture the zeitgeist of the new generation of players.

42. “If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will.” – Joel Embiid

43. “Our job is not to panic but to play.” – Luka Dončić

44. “It’s a brotherhood. We’re always together; on the road, off the road. That helps on the basketball court.” – Zion Williamson

45. “I’m not going to lie; I surprise myself too.” – Ja Morant on his spectacular plays

50. “I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan; I only want to be Luka Dončić.” – Luka Dončić

51. “It doesn’t matter how you play the game; it’s if you win or lose. And whoever plays the best game, wins.” – Trae Young

52. “Trust the process.” – Joel Embiid

53. “I don’t play hero basketball. I’m not playing for stats. I just play to win.” – Giannis Antetokounmpo

54. “I always say if you’re not learning, you’re dying.” – Karl-Anthony Towns

55. “You’ve got to be confident in who you are and what you’re doing. Of course, you want to listen and be coachable, but you’ve got to trust your instincts.” – Jayson Tatum

56. “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 Barnes

57. “When you are not practicing, someone else is getting better.” – Allen Iverson

58. “I don’t listen to the critics. I go out there, strive, and do the best I can.” – John Wall

59. “It’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.” – James Harden

60. “I want to be a player who makes a difference. Every single night.” – Karl-Anthony Towns

Both the humor and the fresh voices from the current stars add depth to the world of basketball quotes. Whether it’s a chuckle or an introspective nod, these words remain a testament to the ever-evolving and fascinating world of basketball.


Basketball quotes, whether humorous or profound, capture the game’s essence. From legends to the new stars, their words encapsulate the sport’s heart and soul. Beyond the court, these quotes offer life lessons, reminding us to pursue our dreams with passion and resilience.

AboutCorinne Switzer

Corinne is an avid reader and takes a keen interest in conspiracy theories. When not busy with her day job, she likes to indulge the writer in her and pens columns on a wide range of topics that cover everything from entertainment, healthy living to healthcare and more.