25 of the Best Quotes from Basketball's All-Time Greats

Insight from the best to ever play the game

If you are a true competitor, chances are you won’t need bulletin board material to get ready for your next opponent. Here are some bits of wisdom that will get any competitor fired up anyway.


1 hakeem olajuwon.png

“It’s not up to anyone else to make me give my best”

- Hakeem Olajuwon

2 coach k.png

“If what you did yesterday still looks big to you… You haven’t done much today” 

- Mike Krzyzewski

3 doc rivers.png

“Do you want to choose winning over standing out? It’s a choice every player on every championship team has to do” 

- Doc Rivers

4 dean smith.png

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

- Dean Smith

5 coach calipari.png

“It’s not just about working hard, it’s about working together. You have to care more about the team than you do about yourself” 

-  John Calipari

6 michael jordan.png

“I don’t do things half-heartedly. Because I know if I do, then I can expect half-hearted results”

 — Michael Jordan

7 bill russell.png

“Concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory”

 - Bill Russell

8 charles barkley.png

“If you are afraid of failure you don’t deserve to be successful” 

- Charles Barkley

9 tim duncan.png

“You’ve got to stay ready, especially around here. That’s what we preach, you’ll get your opportunity whether it comes at the beginning or in the middle or in the end whenever it may be. When your time comes, you need to be ready to go because you’re going to earn your minutes” 

- Tim Duncan

10 tex winter.png

“There is no substitution for hustle, and if you don’t hustle there will be substitution” 

- Tex Winter

11 jay bilas.png

“Hard work is not punishment. Hard work is the price of admission for the opportunity to reach sustained excellence” — Jay Bilas

- Jay Bilas

12 kobe bryant.png

“You always have to be on edge. You always have to take every practice, every game, like it is your last” 

- Kobe Bryant

13 elgin baylor.png

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

- Elgin Baylor

14 doug collins.png

“When your teammate looks you in the eye and holds you accountable, that’s the greatest kind of leadership there is” 

- Doug Collins

15 larry bird.png

“Don’t let winning make you soft. Don’t let losing make you quit. Don’t let your teammates down in any situation” 

- Larry Bird

16 magic johnson.png

“Everybody on a championship team doesn’t get publicity, but everyone can say they are a champion” 

- Magic Johnson

17 pat riley.png

“The true warrior understands and seizes that moment by giving an effort so intense and so intuitive that it could only be called one from the heart” 

- Pat Riley

18 shaquille oneal.png

“The day I stopped worrying about stats is the day I started winning” 

- Shaquille O’Neal

19 jerry west.png

“Don’t let talent get in way of team performance. Great players do what’s outstanding for team, not what makes them stand out”

- Jerry West

20 tom izzo.png

“Discipline is the greatest form of love you can show someone. Great players crave discipline” 

- Tom Izzo

21 jason kidd.png

“Championship teams are built on being prepared, playing unselfishly and being held accountable” 

- Jason Kidd

22 dale brown.png

“Leadership is difficult. It is a lonely responsibility. The best leaders are servants. It is always about others” 

- Dale Brown

23 john havlicek.png

“If you are honest with yourself and can look into a mirror and believe that you have given 100 percent, you should feel proud. If you cannot, then there is more work to be done” 

- John Havlicek

24 bo ryan.png

“I’m still waiting for perfection. In the meantime, I’ll settle for persistence” 

- Bo Ryan

25 billy donovan.png

“If you don’t feel you have something to prove every day, you’ll never improve” 

- Billy Donovan

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Matt Michaux