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Quotes about Sports, Motivation and Victory
quotes about sport

Quotes about Sports, Motivation and Victory

Pick yourself up with some motivational sports quotes.

Playing a sport, no matter which one, requires energy, passion, focus and a lot of hard work. No sports personality that has experienced extraordinary achievement has earned their name by chance.

They have all endured years of extreme training, made a lot of sacrifices and knew that they couldn’t have achieved success or hit the game-winning shot without having gone through failure.

For some, failure is what they fear most; it can paralyze them before they have a chance to succeed. And when failure does occur, they get so discouraged that they stop having faith in themselves. The same can be true for us. We think that we don’t have what it takes, so we stop trying.   

Sports legends know how easy it is to give up and that’s exactly what they don’t do. They know motivation. They get back to the field/court/gym and try even harder after learning important lessons from their previous failure. It motivates and makes them wiser because each failure teaches them what mistakes to avoid in the future.

We searched the web for the best quotes about sport to inspire athletes of all ages to continue to do what they love and become the best they can be.

Here’s our list of 115 inspirational sports quotes. Enjoy!

Best sports quotes of all time to get you going

Being consistent and not giving up when the going gets tough or when you experience failure is never an easy task. In sports, talent fades in front of a great desire to become the best. 

If you find yourself in a slump and feel like you need some inspiring words to get you back on track, you’re in the right place. Check out our list of best sports quotes of all time to get you going. 

There are certain basic qualities and characteristics you’ve got to have. Number one: you’ve got to have a will to win.

Bob Richards

Pain doesn’t tell you when you ought to stop. Pain is the little voice in your head that tries to hold you back because it knows if you continue you will change.

Kobe Bryant

I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.

Muhammad Ali

So many people along the way, whatever it is you aspire to do, will tell you it can’t be done. But all it takes is imagination. You dream. You plan. You reach.

Michael Phelps

Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time.

Lou Brock

You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.

Wayne Gretzky

There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do. 

Derek Jeter

Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way.

Satchel Paige

Never give up, never give in, and when the upper hand is ours, may we have the ability to handle the win with the dignity that we absorbed the loss.

Doug Williams

If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat. 

Herschel Walker

It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.

Vince Lombardi

I’ve learned that something constructive comes from every defeat.

Tom Landry

The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done.

Arnold Palmer

Believe me, the reward is not so great without the struggle.

Wilma Rudolph

Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there.

Wilma Rudolph

What you lack in talent can be made up with desire, hustle, and giving 110 percent all the time.

Don Zimmer

Passion first and everything will fall into place.

Holly Holm
inspirational sports quotes
(Quinn Rooney / Staff / Getty)

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

This is a job and we want to have fun. But it’s a job and we should look like we’re going to work. 

LeBron James

I’ve always believed that success for anyone is all about drive, dedication, and desire, but for me, it’s also been about confidence and faith. 

Stephen Curry

Just keep going. Everybody gets better if they keep at it. 

Ted Williams

Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… play for her.

Mia Hamm

Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.

Pat Riley

Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential.

Liane Cardes

Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds.

Larry Bird

Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.

Mike Singletary

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

Tim Notke

The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital.

Joe Paterno

If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.

Mark Spitz

The five S’s of sports training are: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit; but the greatest of these is spirit.

Ken Doherty

You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.

Michael Phelps

Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts foreve.

Lance Armstrong

If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?

Joe Namath

Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.

Marv Levy

Some people say I have an attitude – maybe I do…but I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does – that makes you a winner right there.

Venus Williams

You’re never a loser until you quit trying.

Mike Ditka

The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning.


My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.

Hank Aaron

You’ve got to take the initiative and play your game. In a decisive set, confidence is the difference.

Chris Evert

Win if you can, lose if you must, but never quit!

Cameron Trammell

It’s heavy duty to try to do everything and please everybody. My job was to go out there and play the game of basketball as best I can. People may not agree with that. I can’t live with everyone's impression of what I should or what I shouldn’t do. 

Michael Jordan

Inspirational sports quotes about becoming legendary and mindset

Most of us can’t even begin to imagine a sports legend’s drive and work ethic. They are experts at motivating themselves and their team to go beyond limits and reach new levels of performance.

They know what they want and they’ll do whatever they can to achieve it. From some of the most famous sportsmen out there, here are the top inspirational sports quotes about becoming legendary and mindset.

One day, you might look up and see me playing the game at 50. Don't laugh. Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion. 

Michael Jordan

I think, team first. It allows me to succeed; it allows my team to succeed. 

LeBron James

The day I stopped worrying about stats is the day I started winning. 

Shaquille O’Neal

I’ve never been afraid of big moments. I get butterflies… I get nervous and anxious, but I think those are all good signs that I’m ready for the moment. 

Stephen Curry

You find that you have peace of mind and can enjoy yourself, get more sleep, and rest when you know that it was a one hundred percent effort that you gave–win or lose.

Gordie Howe

Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength.

Phil Jackson

I realized that intimidation didn’t really exist if you’re in the right frame of mind. 

Kobe Bryant

I play to win, whether during practice or a real game. And I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win. 

Michael Jordan

A trophy carries dust. Memories last forever.

Mary Lou Retton

It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe. 

Muhammad Ali

You can motivate by fear, and you can motivate by reward. But both those methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self motivation.

Homer Rice

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships. 

Michael Jordan

Pressure is a word that is misused in our vocabulary. When you start thinking of pressure, it’s because you’ve started to think of failure.

Tommy Lasorda

Only he who can see the invisible can do the impossible.

Frank L. Gaines

An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.

Emil Zatopek

I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.

Mia Hamm

Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears.

Laird Hamilton

How you respond to the challenge in the second half will determine what you become after the game, whether you are a winner or a loser.

Lou Holtz

If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win.

Carl Lewis

Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.

Jimmy Valvano

One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than 50 preaching it.

Knute Rockne

I am no genius; I just worked hard like my other teammates, and I believe all my teammates can win the title as they work hard, too.

Lin Dan

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

A champion is someone who does not settle for that day’s practice, that day’s competition, that day’s performance. They are always striving to be better. They don’t live in the past.

Briana Scurry

Just be patient. Let the game come to you. Don’t rush. Be quick, but don’t hurry.

Earl Monroe

Nothing is black-and-white, except for winning and losing, and maybe that’s why people gravitate to that so much.

Steve Nash

The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

It is not the size of a man but the size of his heart that matters.

Evander Holyfield

Life is gonna throw you curveballs and it’s how you deal with them and your attitude and your work ethic.

Kerri Strug

For me, winning isn’t something that happens suddenly on the field when the whistle blows and the crowds roar. Winning is something that builds physically and mentally every day that you train and every night that you dream.

Emmitt Smith

Champions keep playing until they get it right.

Billie Jean King

I didn’t believe in team motivation. I believe in getting a team prepared so it knows it will have the necessary confidence when it steps on the field and be prepared to play a good game.

Tom Landry

If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough.

Mario Andretti

I became a good pitcher when I stopped trying to make them miss the ball and started trying to make them hit it.

Sandy Koufax

The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I work hard every day, that I never dog it.

Wayne Gretzky
sports motivational quotes
(B Bennett / Contributor / Getty)

Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.

Dan Gable

Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.

William James

I never left the field saying I could have done more to get ready and that gives me peace of mind.

Peyton Manning

When you win, say nothing, when you lose, say less.

Paul Brown

Most talented players don’t always succeed. Some don’t even make the team. It’s more what’s inside.

Brett Favre

I don’t know how it is for you earthlings, but where I’m from, strength is mental. 

Shaquille O’Neal

Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill. 

Muhammad Ali

The minute you get away from fundamentals – whether it’s proper technique, work ethic or mental preparation – the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, your job, whatever you’re doing. 

Michael Jordan

To uncover your true potential you must first find your own limits and then you have to have the courage to blow past them.

Picabo Street

At a young age winning is not the most important thing… the important thing is to develop creative and skilled players with good confidence.

Arsene Wenger

The only way to prove you are a good sport is to lose.

Ernie Banks

Everything happens for a reason. I’m used to it, I prepare for it. Like I say, at the end of the day, those in charge of their own destiny are going to do what’s right for them and their family. 

Shaquille O’Neal

One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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

Hall of fame athletes

Every successful athlete or sports star is a master motivator. Only the race towards greatness can get them going, and they use the right words and lead by example. And this is what we truly need to feel motivated – people who talk with passion about effort and hard work, and who we’ve actually seen grow and earn their place among the stars.

Here are the best motivational sports quotes from Hall of Fame athletes, and click here if you want more motivational quotes!

If you quit once it becomes a habit. Never quit! 

Michael Jordan

You just can’t beat the person who never gives up. 

Babe Ruth

The only person who can really motivate you is you. 

Shaquille O’Neal

Be the best version of yourself in anything that you do. You don’t have to live anybody else’s story. 

Stephen Curry

Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise. 

Kobe Bryant 

Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing. 

Muhammad Ali

If you can’t outplay them, outwork them.

Ben Hogan

I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. 

Michael Jordan

Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period. 

Lou Holtz

It’s not the will to win that matters — everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.

Paul “Bear” Bryant

You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limits, that is real joy.

Arthur Ashe
motivational sports quotes
(Bettmann / Contributor / Getty)

What makes something special is not just what you have to gain, but what you feel there is to lose.

Andre Agassi

You were born to be a player. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours.

Herb Brooks

If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I've had them; everybody has had them. But 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

I had to learn at an early age to turn criticism into motivation. 

Shaquille O’Neal

The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before.

Steve Young

You win a few, you lose a few. Some get rained out. But you got to dress for all of them.

Satchel Paige

Never give up! Failure and rejection are only the first step to succeeding.

Jim Valvano

Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind. 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee

A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.

Jack Dempsey

When you’ve got something to prove, there’s nothing greater than a challenge.

Terry Bradshaw

The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.

Tommy Lasorda

Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you.

Arnold Palmer

Your biggest opponent isn’t the other guy. It’s human nature.

Bobby Knight

If you can believe it, the mind can achieve it.

Ronnie Lott

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