75 Greatest NBA Player Quotes On Basketball, Success, Hard Work & Life

motivational quotes Mar 21, 2024
nba player quotes

Famous motivational quotes from NBA players, past and present:

Welcome to the ultimate collection of motivation and wisdom from some of the top basketball players throughout NBA history.

Get a glimpse into the mindsets of basketball legends like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and more.

These inspirational quotes from the top players in basketball history will shed light on the game of basketball, what it takes to succeed (in basketball and in life), the importance of a strong work ethic, and other life lessons.

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Basketball Quotes From NBA Players

Here's what some of the greatest basketball players have to say about the game itself.

1. "Pressure, nah, this is just playing ball. Pressure is the homeless man, who doesn’t know where his next meal is coming from. Pressure is the single mom who is trying to scuffle and pay her rent. We get paid a lot of money to play a game. Don't get me wrong - there are challenges. But to call it pressure is almost an insult to regular people." - Damian Lillard

2. "That's the part of basketball that we have to understand. You can never look at it as an individual sport. You rely on so many other people." - Clyde Drexler



3. "An assist makes two people happy. A point makes one guy happy." - Nikola Jokic

4. On "settling" for jumpers: "That's what you call it? 'Settling?' I call it playing basketball. If I want to take a jumper, I'm going to take a jumper. If I want to go to the rim, I'll go to the rim. I don't call it 'settling.'" - Anthony Edwards

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

6. "Every time you compete, try harder to improve on your last performance. Give nothing short of your very best effort." - Elgin Baylor

7. "Basketball is an art form, not a game. You master the fundamentals so you can forget about them, so you can improvise and focus on what matters most: scoring buckets." - Kyrie Irving

8. "When you get to that level, it's not a matter of talent anymore - because all the players are so talented - it's about preparation, about playing smart and making good decisions." - Hakeem Olajuwon



9. "I’d rather have more heart than talent any day." - Allen Iverson

10. "I think that everyone should be able to dribble. Everyone should be able to pass. Otherwise, why are you out there?" - Oscar Robertson

11. "I never really thought about records or anything like that, the only thing I thought about were championships." - John Havlicek

12. "Basketball players, the good ones, are no one-shot specialisls. This is a game which puts a premium on your ability to hit that hoop consistently, and to excel in it you've got to have a variety of shots." - George Mikan

More quotes: 24 Best Kobe Bryant Mamba Mentality Quotes >>


Motivational NBA Quotes About Success

Success is not an easy road. Adversity and failure are necessary parts of the path to success. Successful players have resilience, perseverance and a strong work ethic to get through the tough times and come out on top. 

The following quotes share some of the keys to success, not just in basketball, but in life.



13. “I’ve missed more than 9000 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

14. "There's no failure in sports. It's not a failure, it's steps to success. There's good days, bad days. Some days you are able to be successful, some days you are not...and that's what sports is about. You don't always win." - Giannis Antetokounmpo 

15. "The key to success is to keep growing in all areas of life - mental, emotional, spiritual, as well as physical." - Julius Erving

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

17. "Success is a result of consistent practice of winning skills and actions. There is nothing miraculous about the process. There is no luck involved." - Bill Russell

18. "Winning a ring is everybody's goal, whether you're a player or a coach." - Patrick Ewing

19. "Championship teams are built on being prepared, playing unselfishly and being held accountable." - Jason Kidd



20. "If you don’t fall how are you going to know what getting up is like." - Steph Curry 

21. "Trust the process." - Joel Embiid

22. "Do your best when no one is looking. If you do that, then you can be successful in anything that you put your mind to." - Bob Cousy

23. "It may sound simple, but both winning and losing can become a mindset, and I won't accept losing - ever." - Scottie Pippen

24. "The star player must slay his ego and learn teamwork and communication skills before he can achieve the ultimate in sport." - Walt Frazier

25. "You are only as good as your team." - Dominique Wilkins

You might like: Top 50 Michael Jordan Quotes About Basketball and Life >>


NBA Player Quotes On Confidence

Succeeding at the highest level of basketball takes a tremendous amount of confidence. One thing that all successful NBA players share in common is self-belief and confidence in themselves that they are the best at what they do. 

The following quotes show just how confident some of the top NBA players are.

26. "I don't care if I miss 100 shots in a row. I'm never gonna stop shooting the ball." - Klay Thompson

27. "Shooters shoot." - Reggie Miller



28. "My belief is stronger than your doubt." - Dwyane Wade

29. "My confidence level never varies." - Trae Young

30. "I've always believed no matter how many shots I miss, I'm going to make the next one." - Isaiah Thomas

31. "I wouldn't limit myself to nothing. I feel like I am limitless." - Devin Booker

32. "I have fears, but I do not fear anything or anybody on the court." - Russell Westbrook

33. "You gotta have confidence in yourself first before anybody else will. I've always had that." - Jayson Tatum 



34. "Before you can ever reach anything you have to believe it. You don’t just mistakenly become great at something." - Draymond Green

35. "I never let anybody else put limits on my game." - Ja Morant

36. "It doesn't matter who you're playing against. It's what you can do with your ability and what you believe in." - Jamal Murray

37. "Determination over negativity is a belief that anything is possible no matter who you are or where you come from." - Donovan Mitchell

You might like: 36 Steph Curry Quotes On Shooting Confidence and Basketball >>


Inspirational NBA Player Quotes About Life

Basketball is one of the greatest teachers of life lessons. In basketball, you go through ups and downs and experience successes and failures, just like in life. Your attitude and mindset towards that rollercoaster of a journey has a direct impact on how things turn out for you.

Here are some of the best quotes from NBA players that teach us life lessons.

38. "No matter what the haters say, no matter when people doubt you, focus on what you want to do, and go out there and achieve it." - James Harden



39. "Anything is possible!" - Kevin Garnett

40. "Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best." - Tim Duncan

41. "Every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and chase them." - Carmelo Anthony

42. "People will hate you, rate you, shake you, and break you. But how strong you stand is what makes you." - LeBron James

43. "Sometimes, you follow your dreams. I say to the young people, 'If you have a dream, chase it.'" - Karl Malone

44. "The only advice I would give young guys is to keep your ears and eyes open. Never see yourself as a finished product." - Dirk Nowitzki

45. "Go for the moon. If you don't get it, you'll still be heading for a star." - Willis Reed

46. "I think everybody should have the attitude that you can't allow yourself to be hurt. You avoid a lot just with that attitude." - John Stockton

47. "Maybe the world would be a better place if everyone took time to thank God for things they have, instead of coveting everything they don't." - Rick Barry

48. "If I can help you understand what life is all about and help you understand what the morals and principles and values of life are, that's what I want to be known for." - George Gervin



49. "I think in every lesson there's a blessing, and there's so many blessings from all the lessons I've had to go through in life." - Alonzo Mourning

50. "I've noticed that throughout my experience, when you keep positive energy, positive things happen." - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

51. "If they're not talking about you, you're not doing something; you're not doing anything. So if they're talking about you, you may be doing something right. And when they talk bad about you, you just use it for motivation." - Paul Pierce

52. "I always tried so hard to fit in, and then I figured out that I didn't want to fit." - Anthony Davis

53. "I think - you know, I'm a guy that - I don't live on the earth just to walk it. I live on here to make a difference." - Tracy McGrady

54. "Everybody is different. Everybody has different styles. Just do it the best way you know how." - Vince Carter

55. "Don't let what other people think decide who you are." - Dennis Rodman

Read also: 73 Coach John Wooden Quotes And Sayings About Basketball And Life >>


Famous Hard Work Quotes By NBA Players

Only 450 basketball players get to play in the NBA each season. Out of all the basketball players in the world, that is an extremely small number.

Needless to say, to be one of the top 450 requires elite basketball talent, but also an elite work ethic.

56. "Keep practicing. Never let someone tell you you’re too small or too slow." - Chris Paul


57. "I never tried to prove anything to someone else. I wanted to prove something to myself." - Kobe Bryant

58. "It is said that good things come to those who wait. I believe that good things come to those who work." - Wilt Chamberlain

59. "You can't get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good." - Jerry West

60. "Now I embrace the hard. I want that every single day. I don't ever want anything to be easy." - Jimmy Butler

61. "You got to work hard whatever you're doing and try to be number one and take pride in what you're doing. You want to be at the best at your spot then you got to work hard, man. A lot of guys don't work as hard as it gonna take." - Moses Malone

62. "It’s hard to play well, but it’s easy to work hard." - Kevin Durant

63. "I don't care what other people say. I fight every day to be the best player I can." - Steve Nash

64. "Preparation is everything." - David Robinson



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

66. "I feel like every year I get better, every year I learn something new, and I don't plan on stopping." - Paul George

67. "You make sacrifices. You sacrifice yourself. Do you want to possibly win a championship? Or do you want to be the same person you were when you were 20 and get those same numbers?" - Gary Payton

68. "When people say God blessed me with a beautiful jump shot, it really pisses me off. I tell those people, 'Don't undermine the work I've put in every day.' Not some days. Every day." Ray Allen

69. "I got by on talent. That was my fatal mistake." - Pistol Pete Maravich

Read also: Famous LeBron James Quotes On Basketball, Success, Life & Work Ethic >> 


Funny NBA Player Quotes

70. "Board man gets paid." - Kawhi Leonard

71. "I'm known as the ankle bully, and I'm the CEO of it because I've made a lot of people fall during my lifetime." - LaMelo Ball

72. "You gotta believe in yourself…I believe I’m the best-looking guy in the world and I might be right." - Charles Barkley

73. "I would play fast if I was fast, but I'm slow, so." - Luka Doncic

74. "If you don’t like me, there must be something wrong with you." - Shaquille O'Neal

75. "But you have to understand, my beard is so nasty. I mean, it's the only beard in the history of Western civilization that makes Bob Dylan's beard look good." - Bill Walton

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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