Top 10 Best Sports Quotes of All Time
Some think sports are all action, but it’s important to remember that athletes have unique personalities and thoughts. In some cases, athletes’ perspectives on the game have been perfectly captured by phrases they shared with the media. Listed below are the top ten best sports quotes of all time.
What are the best sports quotes of all time?
- “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” - Wayne Gretzky
- “I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed” - Michael Jordan
- "What's that? Ah – Playoffs? Don't talk about – playoffs?! You kidding me?! Playoffs?! I just hope we can win a game! Another game!" - Jim Mora
- "Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer." - Ted Williams
- "You play to win the game...Hello. You play to win the game." - Herman Edwards
- “If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough.” - Mario Andretti
- "There are only two options regarding commitment. You're either IN or you're OUT. There is no such thing as life in-between." - Pat Riley
- “Any time Detroit scores more than 100 points and holds the other team below 100 points, they almost always win.” - Doug Collins
- ”Goaltending is a normal job, sure. How would you like it in your job if every time you made a small mistake, a red light went on over your desk and 15,000 people stood up and yelled at you?” - Jacques Plante
- "The more I practice, the luckier I get." - Gary Player
1. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” - Wayne Gretzky
This Wayne Gretzky quote is arguably the most quoted line from any professional athlete. When Gretzky said these words, he was talking about the importance of putting the puck on net, as you have to do so in order to score in a hockey game. However, this quote is often applied much more broadly. For example, someone might justify buying a lottery ticket or taking a similar sort of chance by reciting this quote. If you don’t try to do something, you will never succeed!
2. “I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed” - Michael Jordan,
Michael Jordan said this quote in a 1997 Nike advertisement, and likely didn’t realize just how often his words would be recited. Jordan started by saying: “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.” After these words, he ends with the quote: “I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
This Michael Jordan quote serves as a reminder that failure leads to improvement. All the best athletes have lost and disappointed themselves on the road to their greatest success. These words are meant to make athletes feel better when they fail to achieve their goals, and it urges them to keep their eye on the bigger picture.
3. "What's that? Ah – Playoffs? Don't talk about – playoffs?! You kidding me?! Playoffs?! I just hope we can win a game! Another game!" - Jim Mora,
In 2001, Jim Mora created this legendary quote during a postgame interview. Following a loss to the 49ers, which dipped Mora’s Colts down to a 4-5 record on the season, reporters were all over Jim Mora about the turbulence of his team’s season. One such reporter, Tim Bragg, asked Mora if there was any chance his team was going to recover from losing five of the past seven games and still make the playoffs. Mora, unsurprisingly, didn’t love that question.
This quote is so famous, in part, because of the hilarious delivery Mora gave. His anger at the question still humors sports fans over two decades later. Mora also was expressing an emotion that many sports fans can relate to: frustration. He’s not ready to think about the playoffs; he wants to start by winning a game!
4. "Baseball is the only field of endeavor where a man can succeed three times out of ten and be considered a good performer." - Ted Williams,
Theodore Samuel Williams, more often known as Ted Williams, played for the Boston Red Sox for 19 years. Williams was a great ball player, and understood much like Michael Jordan, that even the great athletes’ careers are filled with failures.
In baseball, hitters are often judged by their batting average. The best baseball players boast a batting average north of .300, meaning they get hits in 30% of their at-bats. Williams plays on this standard, by pointing out that the best ball players fail to get on base 70% of the times they hit.
5. "You play to win the game...Hello. You play to win the game." - Herman Edwards,
In 2002, Herman Edwards coined this instantly classic quote. Edwards was responding to New York Times reporter Judy Battista, who had asked him if he was confident in his team’s ability to win games. This quote, equal parts anger and humor, draws similarities to Jim Mora’s words of wisdom, when he too emphasized the importance of simply winning football games.
6. “If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough.” - Mario Andretti
Mario Andretti is an Italian-born former race car driver. Andretti has a massive racing resume, as one of just two drivers to win races in Formula One, IndyCar, the World Sportscar Championship, and NASCAR.
His famous quote shows the difference between professionals and amateurs: most people strive to just keep things under control, but pro athletes don’t have that luxury. As a racer, Andretti always had to keep his foot on the pedal– while also watching out for his own safety on the course.
7. "There are only two options regarding commitment. You're either IN or you're OUT. There is no such thing as life in-between" - Pat Riley,
Pat Riley has done it all in the NBA: he’s played for the Suns and Lakers, been an NBA coach, and now is the president of the Miami Heat. Regarding commitment, it is safe to say that Pat Riley is IN. According to Riley, you’re either in or out.
In this quote, Riley is getting at the absolute energy you need to succeed in sports. If you don’t give everything you have got, you will likely be filled with regret when you don’t come out on top.
8. “Any time Detroit scores more than 100 points and holds the other team below 100 points, they almost always win” - Doug Collins,
This Doug Collins quote definitely falls into the category of funny things that probably were never meant to be said. What Collins is saying doesn’t actually make sense, which is exactly what makes it funny. If Detroit scores more than 100 points, and allows less than 100, there is no way for them to ever lose.
Doug Collins was the coach for the Detroit Pistons from 1995 to 1998 so he, more than anyone else, would understand that the Pistons tended to win when they outscored their opponents. Collins also coached for the Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards, and Philadelphia 76ers from 1987 to 2013.
9. ”Goaltending is a normal job, sure. How would you like it in your job if every time you made a small mistake, a red light went on over your desk and 15,000 people stood up and yelled at you?” - Jacques Plante
Playing from 1947 to 1975, Jacques Plante is one of the oldest, most notable hockey goalies ever. He played back when goaltenders wore very little equipment. For the first half of Plante’s career, goalies didn’t even wear helmets! Needless to say Plante was a tough guy who went through the ringer while innovating the goaltender position in ice hockey.
When goalies let a goal in, a goal horn sounds and a bright red light shines on the goaltender. Should the goalie be playing on the road, they will also have their fair share of fans taunting them following a goal. Plante said this quote to humorously highlight how intense this experience can be.
10. "The more I practice, the luckier I get." - Gary Player
The final quote on this list speaks to the importance of practice. Gary Player, who coined this quote, is as old as almost anybody on this list: he was born in 1935. A retired professional golfer, Player knows a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in sports.
When Player says that he gets luckier as he practices more, he is getting at the age-old debate: is it better to be good or lucky? Though golf, like any sport, can rely a bit on luck, practice and skill will always be the deal-breaker in an athlete’s success.