51 Basketball Team Quotes On Sacrifice, Teamwork & Chemistry

motivational quotes Mar 20, 2024
basketball team quotes

Inspirational basketball quotes on what makes a team great:

In the world of basketball, individual players often get the spotlight. Who's the GOAT? Who's the MVP? Who's the best scorer?

Individual success is attainable in basketball, but team success is a lot harder to come by. Team success requires things that are hard to measure. 

Success in basketball as a team requires intangibles like teamwork, chemistry, sacrifice, and unselfishness.

It's things like communication, the extra pass, bringing the energy despite not scoring many points - these are the intangibles that don't show up in the box score yet are crucial to having team success in basketball.

This collection of motivational team quotes brings together the wisdom of legendary coaches and players about these under-appreciated aspects of basketball.

They remind us that while individual talent can win games, it's things like teamwork, chemistry, unselfishness, and sacrifice that win championships. 

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Basketball Teamwork Quotes

Teamwork in basketball isn't just a strategy, it's a necessity for teams that want to go far. Great individual performances can only take teams so far. 

Teams that play as one - that share the ball, that don't care who scores the most points, that are willing to make the right play - are the ones that have the most success.

These motivational quotes from some of the top basketball coaches and players shed a light on just how important teamwork is.



1. "The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." - Phil Jackson

2. "Teamwork is what makes common people capable of uncommon results." - Coach Pat Summitt

3. "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships." - Michael Jordan

4. "I hate letting my teammates down. I know I'm not going to make every shot. Sometimes I try to make the right play, and if it results in a loss, I feel awful. I don't feel awful because I have to answer questions about it. I feel awful in that locker room because I could have done something more to help my teammates win." - LeBron James

5. “The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.” - Coach John Wooden

6. "Five guys on the court working together can achieve more than five talented individuals who come and go as individuals." - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

7. "The key to teamwork is to learn a role, accept a role, and strive to become excellent playing it." - Pat Riley

8. "We’re just in this together. Everything we do is together. We win together, we lose together, and we love being around one another. I think that’s what makes us special is through the ups and through the downs, we always got each other’s back." - Jimmy Butler

9. "I’m here to be a leader and show younger people the way." - Damian Lillard



10. "To me, teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one. You become selfless." - Mike Krzyzewski

11. "Basketball, more than any other sport, is a team game…about the thousands of small, unselfish acts, the sacrifices on the part of the players that result in team building." - Dean Smith

12. "This is a team game and one man doesn’t win and one man doesn’t lose. In the end, the best team usually wins." - Wilt Chamberlain

13. "I know to win a championship, you're not going to do it alone. You're going to have to have a great supporting cast." - Klay Thompson

14. "No team works out teamwork." - Dwyane Wade

15. "It's not about any one person. You've got to get over yourself and realize that it takes a group to get this thing done." - Gregg Popovich 

16. "I am because we are." - Doc Rivers

More quotes: 73 Coach John Wooden Quotes And Sayings About Basketball And Life >>


Quotes About Sacrifice

Another characteristic of a great team in basketball is one full of players who are willing to sacrifice.

Understandably, many players get caught up in individual success at the cost of the team's success. Many players are focused on scoring and having good individual performances, but that isn't always what's best for the team. 

Great teams have players who are okay sacrificing their individual success for the greater good of the team.

Common sacrifices in basketball include passing up a shot to setup a teammate for a better shot, diving on the floor for a loose ball or taking a charge, and coming off the bench if that's what's best for the team.

Here are some quotes from coaches and players about the importance of sacrifice.


17. "Happiness begins where selfishness ends." - Coach John Wooden

18. "I think, team first. It allows me to succeed, it allows my team to succeed." - LeBron James

19. "Leadership is getting players to believe in you. If you tell a teammate you're ready to play as tough as you're able to, you'd better go out there and do it. Players will see right through a phony. And they can tell when you're not giving it all you've got." - Larry Bird

20. "Good teams become great ones when the members trust each other enough to surrender the ‘Me’ for the ‘We.’" - Phil Jackson

21. "The day I stopped worrying about stats is the day I started winning." - Shaquille O'Neal

22. "If you want to be great, it's going to hurt a little bit. It's not going to be easy." - Giannis Antetokounmpo

23. "I think that the good and the great are only separated by the willingness to sacrifice." - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

24. "Being a part of success is more important than being personally indispensable." - Pat Riley

25. "You have to adjust to what your team needs and what you're able to do." - Tim Duncan



26. "...greatness is repeatedly getting up and doing something because you know that that's going to get you where you want to go, even when you don't feel like it." -  Candace Parker

27. "If it's playmaking, I'll do that. If it's scoring I'll do that. I'm trying to figure out that balance." - Devin Booker

28. "I gotta make sure we all eat." - Trae Young

29. "Whatever I have to do to help us win, I’ll do." - Chris Paul

30. "A guy that's going to do all of the dirty work, that guy that is willing to defend anyone and do the little things and not really care about all of that other stuff. I think every championship team needs that. - Draymond Green

Read also: 56 Nikola Jokic Quotes About Passing, IQ, Being Humble, And Basketball >>


Basketball Quotes On Being Unselfish

Scoring in basketball often gets the most praise and attention, but it isn't the only aspect of a great basketball player. Great basketball players are also unselfish and it is that unselfishness that leads to greater team success.

Unselfish players in basketball are happy when other players on their team do well and they are just as happy with an assist as they are scoring on their own.

Here are some quotes from basketball players and coaches that exemplify an unselfish attitude. 

31.  "It doesn’t matter who scores the points, it’s who can get the ball to the scorer." - Larry Bird

32. "One of the things you have to learn is that you don’t have to have the ball all the time to be effective." - Allen Iverson



33. "A point makes you happy; an assist makes you and your teammate happy. An assist makes two people happy." - Nikola Jokic

34. "I've just got to let my teammates know in practice, without even telling them, that I don't think I'm ahead of anybody." - Kevin Durant

35. "Your biggest opponent isn't the other guy. It's human nature." - Bob Knight

36. "If I can't score, I do whatever I can to support my teammates." - Giannis Antetokounmpo

37. "Basketball is a team sport. Individual success means nothing without the team's success." - Luka Doncic



38. "Assists is what Earvin is all about. That's what my whole life has been, assisting others." - Magic Johnson

39. "You can't be selfish in this game. You've got to know, at the end of the day, that it's all about winning. And when you win, everybody looks good." - Jimmy Butler

40. "I love making my teammates' jobs easier, putting them in spots where they can score. Just to see them with smiles on their faces, giving them confidence - that makes me feel much better than scoring the ball." - Ja Morant

You might like: 50 Best Coach Pat Summitt Quotes On Basketball, Leadership and More >>  


Quotes About Team Chemistry 

Team chemistry in basketball is an invisible bond that teammates have with each other.

It's knowing where a teammate is going to be before they're even there. It's knowing which types of passes they like and where they like it passed to when going to shoot. 

Chemistry is something you truly can't quantify when analyzing a team, but it's what separates good teams from championship teams.

The following quotes talk about and give examples of good team chemistry in basketball.

41. "Chemistry is important. If you like teammates, it is going to be easier to play with them on the court." - Kevin Durant

42. “Two are better than one if two act as one.” - Mike Krzyzewski

43. "Man, I'm always going to back up my teammates." - Jayson Tatum



44. "It's not about me, it's about us." - Kevin Garnett

45. "When a team is functioning on all cylinders, listening is an essential component of success. A team, whether it’s a sports team, a business, or a family, cannot function effectively unless you and everyone else are prepared to drop the filters that get in the way of effective listening." - Bill Russell

46. "Sometimes you gotta scream at [your teammates] and get on them, but the reason that you go vibe with them is so they know it's genuine and you got love for them." - Anthony Edwards

47. "When everybody is sharing the ball, everybody makes everybody happy." - Nikola Jokic

48.  "The most important thing is team morale." - Dean Smith

49. "When our assists lead to baskets, that's us playing our best, and we begin knocking down shots." - Tim Duncan

50. "Chemistry is a very important element for any team that wants to be serious about winning." - Scottie Pippen

51. "I've been on extremely talented teams that just don't click, and I've also been on team with a little bit less talent, but they clicked, and because they clicked, they did better than other talented teams I've been on." - Sue Bird

More motivational basketball quotes:

• Kobe Bryant | Michael Jordan | Steph Curry | LeBron James | Kyrie Irving | Kevin Durant Allen Iverson | Shaq | Larry Bird Phil Jackson | John Wooden | Coach Pat Summitt | Coach Jim Valvano All

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