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90 Most Inspirational Sports Quotes Of All Time

Yes, we watch sports for the excitement, but even moreso, we watch it for the drama. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing a team come back to win that 4th series game after being down 0-3, or a fighter getting off the canvas to score a come from behind knock-out. Sports are about those incredible moments where sheer human will and desire overcomes the odds. These are the moments we remember.

rocky balboa statue

Given the nature of sports, its not surprising that athletes have had some inspiring and motivational things to say about hard work, leadership, perseverance, winning, and much more. Here are the top 90 most motivational sports quotes in history:

90. “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
89. “One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than 50 preaching it.”– Knute Rockne
88. “The five S’s of sports training are: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit; but the greatest of these is spirit.”– Ken Doherty
87. “An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.”– Emil Zatopek
86. “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
85. “When you’ve got something to prove, there’s nothing greater than a challenge.”– Terry Bradshaw
84. “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
83. “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
82. “Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.”– Marv Levy

“I've learned that something constructive comes from every defeat.” - Tom Landry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

81. “I’ve learned that something constructive comes from every defeat.”– Tom Landry
80. “Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears.”– Laird Hamilton
79. “Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there.”– Bo Jackson
78. “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
77. “If you can’t outplay them, outwork them.”– Ben Hogan
76. “People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”– Rogers Hornsby
75. “Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.”– William James
74. “Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.”– Mike Singletary
73. “If at first you don’t succeed, you are running about average.”– M.H. Alderson
72. “Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential.”– Liane Cardes
71. “Good is not good when better is expected.”– Vin Scully
70. “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.”– Tommy Lasorda
69. “Champions keep playing until they get it right.”– Billie Jean King

Herb Brooks

68. “You were born to be a player. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours.”– Herb Brooks
67. “What you lack in talent can be made up with desire, hustle, and giving 110 percent all the time.”– Don Zimmer
66. “If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.”– Mark Spitz
65.“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
64. “Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.”– Matt Biondi
63. “Sports serve society by providing vivid examples of excellence.”– George F. Will
62. “The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before.”– Steve Young

John Madden

61. “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”– John Madden
60. “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
59. “What makes something special is not just what you have to gain, but what you feel there is to lose.”– Andre Agassi
58. “The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning.”– Pele
57. “One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team. ”– Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
56. “Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.”– George Halas

Cal Ripken Jr

55. “Stubbornness usually is considered a negative; but I think that trait has been a positive for me.”– Cal Ripken Jr.
54. “You’ve got to take the initiative and play your game. In a decisive set, confidence is the difference.”– Chris Evert
53. “When you win, say nothing, when you lose, say less.”– Paul Brown
52. “The hardest skill to acquire in this sport is the one where you compete all out, give it all you have, and you are still getting beat no matter what you do. When you have the killer instinct to fight through that, it is very special.”– Eddie Reese
51. “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

 Joe Frazier

50. “When I go out there, I have no pity on my brother. I am out there to win.”– Joe Frazier
49. “During my 18 years I came to bat almost 10,000 times. I struck out about 1,700 times and walked maybe 1,800 times. You figure a ballplayer will average about 500 at bats a season. That means I played seven years without ever hitting the ball.”– Mickey Mantle
48. “I never left the field saying I could have done more to get ready and that gives me piece of mind.”– Peyton Manning
47. “Leadership, like coaching, is fighting for the hearts and souls of men and getting them to believe in you.”– Eddie Robinson
46. “You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out, but you gotta suit up for them all.”– J. Askenberg
45. “Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you.”– Arnold Palmer

Brett Favre

44. “Most talented players don’t always succeed. Some don’t even make the team. It’s more what’s inside.”– Brett Favre
43. “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.”– Michael Jordan
42. “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
41. “Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time.”– Lou Brock
40. “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

Gordie Howe

39. “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
38. “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
37. “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
36. “If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat.”– Herschel Walker
35. “Your biggest opponent isn’t the other guy. It’s human nature.”– Bobby Knight

Carl Lewis

34. “If you can believe it, the mind can achieve it.”– Ronnie Lott
33. “Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period.”– Lou Holtz
32. “If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win.”– Carl Lewis
31. “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
30. “Make each day your masterpiece.”– John Wooden

Pat Riley

29. “Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.”– Pat Riley
28. “Win If You Can, Lose If You Must, But NEVER QUIT!”– Cameron Trammell
27. “Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.”– Mike Singletary
26. “If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough.”– Mario Andretti
25. “Just keep going. Everybody gets better if they keep at it.”– Ted Williams
24. “What do do with a mistake: recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it.”– Dean Smith

Larry Bird

23. “Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds.”– Larry Bird
22. “If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?”– Joe Namath
21. “You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.”– Michael Phelps
20. “Do not let what you can not do interfere with what you can do.”– John Wooden
19. “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 forever.”– Lance Armstrong
18. “Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength.”– Phil Jackson
17. “The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital.”– Joe Paterno
16. “Adversity cause some men to break; others to break records.”– William A. Ward
15. “Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way.”– Satchel Paige
14. “Some people say I have 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
13. “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”– Babe Ruth
12. “It is not the size of a man but the size of his heart that matters.”– Evander Holyfield

Muhammad Ali

11. “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

10. “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
9. “A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.”– Jack Dempsey
8. “It ain’t over till it’s over.”– Yogi Berra
7. “You’re never a loser until you quit trying.”– Mike Ditka
6. “Never give up! Failure and rejection are only the first step to succeeding.”– Jim Valvano

Michael Jordan

5. “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”– Wayne Gretzky
4. “The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I work hard every day, that I never dog it.”– Wayne Gretzky

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

2. “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
1. “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.”– Vince Lombardi

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