Great Basketball Quotes to Up Your Game

March Madness Inspiration


It’s March.

In the United States, that means basketball.

March Madness was born on March 27, 1939. The record for the most successful team ever is still held by UCLA with eleven championships. How many of those were directly under the leadership of legendary basketball coach John Wooden? An astounding ten. Still amazing. Pat Summit’s record is also one for the history books with six championships for Tennessee (and 1,098 career wins!).

As someone who collects inspiring quotes, there is an unending supply of great ones from outstanding players and coaches.


Here are a few of my favorites:


Quotes from Basketball Greats


“Confidence is what happens when you’ve done the hard work that entitles you to succeed.” –Pat Summitt


“Those who work the hardest are the last to surrender.” –Rick Pitino


“What to do with a mistake: 1. Recognize it. 2. Admit it. 3. Learn from it. 4. Forget it.” –Dean Smith


“Sports do not build character, they reveal it.” –John Wooden


“In order to achieve positive results, one must work for them, not hope for them.” –Bobby Knight


“Commitment separates those who live their dreams from those who live their lives regretting the opportunities they have squandered.” –Bill Russell


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


“Coaches win practices, players win games.” –Pete Carril


“Good players want to be coached. Great players want to be told the truth.” –Doc Rivers


“Shout praise and whisper criticism.” –Don Meyer


“Don’t act like you’re too good to use other ideas.” –Hubie Brown


“No one is bigger than the team.” –Gregg Popovich


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


“Your decisions reveal your priorities.” –Jeff Van Gundy


“When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.” –John Wooden


“Always keep an open mind and a compassionate heart.” –Phil Jackson


“Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” –Jim Valvano


“It takes three things to be a special player: talent, character, and competitive fire.” –Kevin Eastman


“It is as big a mistake to turn down a good shot as it is to take a bad one.” –Ed Murphy


“Don’t let what other people think decide who you are.” -Dennis Rodman


“It’s okay to make mistakes. That’s how we learn. When we compete, we make mistakes.” –Kareem Abdul-Jabbar


“Limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.” –Michael Jordan


“Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds.” –Larry Bird


“Play and practice like you’re trying to make the team.” –Mike Krzyzewski


“Heart is what separates the good from the great.” –Michael Jordan


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


“Success is determined by your daily choices and habits.” –Rick Pitino


“A lot of people notice when you succeed; they don’t see what it takes to get there.” –Dawn Staley


“All successful teams have 3 characteristics: they play unselfish; they play together, and they play hard.” –Larry Brown


“Leadership starts at the top.” –Morgan Wooten







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