47 Larry Bird Quotes And Sayings About Basketball, Hard Work, And More

motivational quotes Nov 09, 2023
larry bird quotes

Motivational quotes from the legendary Larry Bird

Larry Bird was one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA. He was known for his exceptional skills, fierce competitiveness, and unwavering confidence.

Bird played for the Boston Celtics from 1979 to 1992 and was a coach for the Indiana Pacers from 1997 to 2000.

He won three NBA championships with the Celtics in 1981, 1984, and 1986. Bird was a twelve-time NBA All-Star, a three-time NBA MVP, and a two-time NBA Finals MVP.

He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998.

Beyond his accolades, Larry Bird's impact on the game extended beyond the court. He had a relentless work ethic, mental toughness, and unshakeable confidence as a player.

This collection of Larry Bird quotes offers insight into the mindset of an NBA legend. Get inspiration about basketball, leadership, hard work, determination, success and winning, and more.

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Top Larry Bird Basketball Quotes

On the basketball court, Bird was known as a sharpshooter. He averaged over 24 points per game and 10 rebounds per game.

Bird could score from anywhere on the court but he was also a skilled and willing passer. He averaged over 6 assists per game which is above average for a forward.

Larry was also known for being a clutch basketball player. He hit countless game-winning shots throughout his career and other big shots in pressure moments.

1. "A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals."

2. "I hate to lose more than I like to win."



3. "Basketball has been my life and I worked at it so hard because I enjoyed it so much."

4. "I always know what’s happening on the court. I see a situation occur, and I respond."

5. "It doesn’t matter who scores the points, it’s who can get the ball to the scorer."

6. "lt takes guts to play defense, because you can loaf out on the court and nobody will know it. Only you will know if you did your best to grab a loose ball, or stop your man from scoring."

7. "I was always driven on the basketball court. I always wanted to win every game I played in, sometimes too much. When you're out on the playground just playing, and you're scraping, fighting, and do whatever you can to win the game. When it's all over with, you're friends, and I'd think, 'Why did I get like that?' That's the way I've always been."

8. "I wasn't real quick, and I wasn't real strong. Some guys will just take off and it's like, whoa. So I beat them with my mind and my fundamentals."

9. "There are many times when you are better off practicing than playing; but most people just don’t understand that."

10. "My opinion about basketball, the way I was taught, was when you step on the court, you play to win."

11. "There is nothing better than being out there when the game is on the line."



12. "When I go to the line, I’m thinking ‘All net.’ When I don’t think that, I’m likely to miss."

13. "My thoughts were always that that night was the most important game in the world. Everybody in the world was watching that one game. And I had to be the best player on the court and win that game that night. That was my mentality, and it stuck with me all the way through my career."

14. "The key to being a good shooter is balance. Everything follows balance."

15. "In the closing seconds of every game, I want the ball in my hands for the last shot—not in anybody else’s, not in anybody else’s in the world."

16. "Basketball was always a game to me. One of the greatest things in life for me was to be able to play what I loved dearly and get paid for it. So it was always a game to me and that’s how I perceived everything."

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Quotes From Larry Bird About Hard Work

Bird was known for having a strong work ethic.

He was committed to working on his game and improving in any area he could. He placed a big emphasis on mastering the fundamentals of the game.

Larry understood the importance of working hard to achieve your goals and he did just that.

17. "Once you are labeled 'the best' you want to stay up there, and you can't do it by loafing around. If I don't keep changing, I'm history."

18. "I don't know if I practiced more than anybody, but I sure practiced enough. I still wonder if somebody - somewhere - was practicing more than me."

19. "I've got a theory that if you give 100% all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end."



20. "Push yourself again and again. Don't give an inch until the final buzzer sounds."

21. "I don’t know if I practiced more than anybody, but I sure practiced enough. I still wonder if somebody – somewhere – was practicing more than me."

22. "I don’t think that once you get to one level, you can relax. You’ve got to keep pushing."

23. "When I was young, I never wanted to leave the court until I got things exactly correct. My dream was to become a pro."

24. "Practice habits were crucial to my development in basketball. I didn’t play against the toughest competition in high school, but one reason I was able to do well in college was that I mastered the fundamentals. You’ve got to have them down before you can even think about playing."

25. "I learned what my weaknesses were and I went out the next day to turn those weaknesses intro strengths."

26. "My coach told me, “Larry, no matter how much you work at it, there’s always someone out there who’s working just a little harder – if you take 150 practice shots, he’s taking 200.” And that drove me."

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Larry Bird On Leadership

Bird was not just a great player, but a great leader.

His leadership style was all about leading by example, as you'll see from the quotes below. 

He was a believer in the idea that if you want people to follow you, you must first show them how it's done. He knew that in order to get trust from his teammates, he would have to lead by example. He did just that through his work ethic and performance on the court.

27. "Leadership is diving for a loose ball, getting the crowd involved, getting other players involved. It's being able to take it as well as dish it out. That's the only way you're going to get respect from the players."

28. "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."

29. "Coaches can talk and talk and talk about something, but if you get it on tape and show it to them, it is so much more effective."

30. "When I was a player, I didn’t expect my teammates to play the way I did. I did expect them to work hard every day and get better."

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More Larry Bird Sayings

Besides being a great player and scorer, Larry Bird was known for his high level of confidence.

Larry believed in himself and knew that he could become the player he ultimately developed into.

He had that confidence because of all the work he put in. He drew his confidence from his work ethic.

31. "I knew I was as good as anybody. That’s not really bragging; it’s just that I’d put the time in."



32. "When I was a kid, I never thought about anything. Never had to think about where I was going to school or what I was going to do. I just lived minute to minute."

33. "While day by day the overzealous student stores up facts for future use, he who has learned to trust nature finds need for ever fewer external directions. He will discard formula after formula, until he reaches the conclusion: Let nature take its course."

34. "It makes me sick when I see a guy just stare at a loose ball and watch it go out of bounds."

35. "The more you win, the better you’re gonna get. It grows on itself."

36. "I like being by myself."

37. "You can make all the excuses you want, but if you're not mentally tough and you're not prepared to play every night, you're not going to win."

38. "I have always been confident in my skills and once the game got going; I knew I was probably the best player on the floor most of the time, whether it was junior high, high school, or college. I knew I had control of the game."

39. "Strength is not nearly as important as desire. I don’t think you can teach anyone desire. I think it’s a gift. I don’t know why I have it, but I do."

40. "Don’t let winning make you soft. Don’t let losing make you quit. Don’t let your teammates down in any situation."

41. "I’m a firm believer in that you play the way you practice."

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Funny Larry Bird Quotes

42. "You never make any of the shots you never take. 87% of the ones you do take, you’ll miss too. I make 110% of my shots."

43. "Eminem. My son was listening to that and I was like, “What is that junk?” Then I started listening and I thought, You know, that kid is pretty good. It's the storytelling."

44. "I used to love the feeling of running, of running too far. It made my skin tingle."

45. "You're all playin' for second place."

46. "What's better? Dogs or broomsticks? I mean will the world really ever know?"

47. "Michael Jordan is God disguised as a basketball player."

More motivational basketball quotes:

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

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