200 Best Basketball Quotes | Basketball Quotes For Coaches

Basketball Quotes:This page of motivational and inspirational basketball quotations feature quotes specifically from those involved in the game of basketball. Some are funny, some are wise, and some are just plain crazy!

Basketball Quotations:Collection of 200 famous basketball motivational quotes by players and coaches

Bill Russell Basketball Quotes

➦ “Create unselfishness as the most important team attribute” – Bill Russell

➦ “Concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory” – Bill Russell

➦ “The most important thing to me is the friends that I’ve made” – Bill Russell

➦ “The most important measure of how good a game I played was how much better I’d made my teammates play” – Bill Russell

➦ “Remember that basketball is a game of habits. If you make the other guy deviate from his habits, you’ve got him” – Bill Russell

➦ “Commitment separates those who live their dreams from those who live their lives regretting the opportunities they have squandered” – Bill

Bob Knight Basketball Quotes

➦ “The single most important aspect of coaching is running effective practices” – Bob Knight

➦ “The key is not the ‘will to win’… everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important” – Bob Knight

➦ “You don’t play against opponents; you play against the game of basketball” – Bob Knight

➦ “The goal is to make practice more difficult, physically/mentally, than anything your players will face during a game” – Bob Knight

➦ “Basketball is a full court game, so every drill must be done full court” – Bob Knight

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➦ “I always designed my practice plans the night before and then made tweaks a few hours before practice began” – Bob Knight

➦ “I hate casual shooting. Every shot is preceded by working to get open and catch and shoot under game like conditions” – Bob Knight

Brad Stevens Basketball Quotes

➦ “The key is to maintain an evenness. Try to play one possession at a time, regardless of what happened on the last possession” – Brad Stevens

➦ “You have a choice to make when you’re not playing. Either you’re invested and a great teammate, or your not” – Brad Stevens

➦ “The game honors toughness” – Brad Stevens/span>

➦ “We’re building a culture of accountability, trust, and togetherness. Entitlement will not be tolerated” – Brad Stevens

➦ “The difference between a good defensive team and a bad defensive team is as little as three possessions” – Brad Stevens

➦ “You have to earn your right to win the game with effort and togetherness” – Brad Stevens

➦ “How good can we expect to be if our best player is not our best teammate” – Brad Stevens

➦ “My goal is to win the next game one possession at a time. That’s it. I don’t have any other goals” – Brad Stevens

Dean Smith Basketball Quotes

➦ “You should always sub a player out when you see them not going full speed or they’re playing selfish basketball” – Dean Smith

➦ “What do you do with a mistake: recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it” – Dean Smith

➦ “I always mean what I say, but I don’t always say what I’m thinking” – Dean Smith

➦ “I would never recruit a player who yells at his teammates, disrespected his high school coach, or scores 33 points a game and his team goes 10-10” – Dean Smith

➦ “One player’s selfish attitude can poison a locker room and make it hard, if not impossible, to establish team work” – Dean Smith

➦ “There is a lot of basketball beyond our control, but a player should never let anyone try harder than he does” – Dean Smith

➦ “Basketball is a beautiful game when the five players on the court play with one heartbeat” – Dean Smith

➦ “If you make every game a life and death proposition, you’re going to have problems. For one thing, you’ll be dead a lot”– Dean Smith

➦ “Basketball is a team game. But that doesn’t mean all five players should take the same amount of shots” – Dean Smith

Doc Rivers Quotes

➦ “Sometimes you will hate me because I will tell you the truth about your game. And the truth can hurt/humble you” – Doc Rivers

➦ “Encourage ‘random’ picks on the ball because they cannot be scouted” – Doc Rivers

➦ “I’m looking for activity. I put players in and take them out based on effort and defense, not making or missing shots” – Doc Rivers

➦ “Do you want to choose winning over standing out? It’s a choice every player on every championship team has to do” – Doc Rivers

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➦ “If you’re not talking, you’re not playing defense” – Doc Rivers

➦ “Good players want to be coached… Great players want to be told the truth” Doc Rivers

➦ “How competitive can you be without losing your discipline?” – Doc Rivers

Don Meyer Quotes

➦ “You can pick captains, but you can’t pick leaders. Whoever controls the locker room controls the team” – Don Meyer

➦ “Positioning, anticipation and technique create quickness. Therefore, you can always get quicker” – Don Meyer

➦ “Plays are not as important as players, and players are not as important as teammates” – Don Meyer

➦ “I have learned that peace is not the absence of trial, trouble, or torment but the presence of calm in the midst of them” – Coach Don Meyer

➦ “If you want to thank me, go do something for somebody else” – Don Meyer

➦ “Sometimes the best recruits are the ones you don’t get” – Don Meyer

Dr. Jack Ramsay Quotes

➦ “Basketball, like all sports, is predicated on the execution of fundamentals. The coach is a teacher. His subject: fundamentals” – Dr Jack Ramsay

➦ “Teams that play together beat those teams with superior players who play more as individuals” – Dr. Jack Ramsay

➦ “Even the greatest players accept coaching and value the need for discipline and the order that it brings to the team” – Dr. Jack Ramsay

➦ “I believe you win games by what you do from your first practice until your first game” – Dr. Jack Ramsay

➦ “Players draw confidence from a poised, alert coach who anticipates changing in game conditions” – Dr. Jack Ramsay

Gregg Popovich Quotes

➦ “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

➦ “‘Play the right way’ means play unselfishly, respect each other’s achievements, play hard, fulfill your role” – Gregg Popovich

➦ “I can’t make every decision for you. I don’t have 14 timeouts. You guys got to get together and talk” – Gregg Popovich

➦ “Stop by stop by stop. Play aggressively. Sprint back on ‘D’ and pay attention to how we’re supposed to guard as a team” – Gregg Popovich

➦ “We believe in people executing their role and caring about the team more than anything individually” – Gregg Popovich

➦ “No one is bigger than the team. If you can’t do things our way, you’re not getting time here and we don’t care who you are” – Gregg Popovich

Hubie Brown Quotes

➦ “X & O’s aren’t worth a damn without a team. If your team isn’t with you it doesn’t matter what you draw up. The team must respect what the coach is asking them to do” – Hubie Brown

➦ “Winning teams at the NBA level, the college level, and the high school level all play team basketball. Championship teams have 5 players on the same page at all times” – Hubie Brown

➦ “Don’t try to imitate other coaches. Be your own person with your own style and do your own thing” – Hubie Brown

➦ “The greatest sin a coach can commit is to allow kids to slide by. This goes for the classroom as well as the court” – Hubie Brown

Jeff Van Gundy Basketball Quotes

➦ “Your decisions reveal your priorities” – Jeff Van Gundy

➦ “Your best player has to set a tone of intolerance for anything that gets in the way of winning” – Jeff Van Gundy

➦ “Just concentrate on what you’re supposed to do” – Jeff Van Gundy

➦ “Shooting percentage is just as much about decision making as it is about technique” – Jeff Van Gundy

➦ “Your best players have to unite and inspire the group… otherwise, they’ll divide the group” – Jeff Van Gundy

➦ “I think coaches sometimes foul their own players out of game by benching them too long when in foul trouble” – Jeff Van Gundy

Jim Valvano Basketball Quotes

➦ “Other people go to the office. I get to coach. I know I’ve been blessed” – Jim Valvano

➦ “A person really doesn’t become whole, until he becomes a part of something that’s bigger than himself” – Jim Valvano

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➦ “To go from where you are to where you want to be: you have to have a dream, a goal, and you have to be willing to work for it” – Jim Valvano

➦ “Never give up. Failure and rejection are just the first steps to succeeding” – Jim Valvano

➦ “Be a dreamer. If you don’t know how to dream, you’re dead” – Jim Valvano

John Calipari Basketball Quotes

➦ “What type of teammates do you want to play with? Be that teammate yourself” – John Calipari

➦ “I’m playing the guys who are going to fight. If you’re not into this, I’m going to someone else” – Coach Calipari

➦ “You have to lose yourself in the team and you have to lose yourself in the game” – John Calipari

➦ “If I walk in a home and a kid disrespects a woman, his mother or grandmother, then I am out… I wont recruit them” – John Calipari

➦ “Practice gotta be harder than the games and it never is unless you want it to be as a player. The coach can’t drive that” – John Calipari

John Wooden Quotes

➦ “The most important key to achieving great success is to decide upon your goal and launch, get started, take action, move” – John Wooden

➦ “When the legs go, the heart soon follows” – John Wooden

➦ “Young men need more models, not critics” – John Wooden

➦ “1. Be on time. 2. Never criticize a teammate.3. Never use profanity” – John Wooden

➦ “You’d like to see your team reasonably happy, but that’s not your job. Gain their respect and get them to accept their roles” – John Wooden

➦ “I do not judge success based on championships; rather, I judge it on how close we came to realizing our potential” – John Wooden

➦ “My philosophy of defense is to keep the pressure on an opponent until you get to his emotions” – John Wooden

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Basketball Quotes

➦ “When you’re a coach you’ve got to go up the ladder, you’ve got to be ready to travel. That’s the nature of coaching” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

➦ “Great players are willing to give up their own personal achievement for the achievement of the group. It enhances everybody” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

➦ “As a parent, I have a job as a role model to my children, and by extension, to other young people” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

➦ “One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team” – Kareem Abdul Jabbar

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➦ “The extra pass and the extra effort on defense always get the job done” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

➦ “You have to be able to center yourself, to let all of your emotions go. Don’t ever forget that you play with your soul as well as your body” – Kareem Abdul Jabbar

➦ “I tell kids to pursue their basketball dreams, but I tell them not to let that be their only dream” – Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Kevin Eastman Basketball Quotes

➦ “It takes three things to be a ‘special’ player: talent, character, and competitive fire” – Kevin Eastman

➦ “The pass is a very powerful team builder; whereas the dribble can destroy the spirit of teams and crack the foundation of team play” – Kevin Eastman

➦ “Cutting is so important to great offense. Players must understand that every cut you make is not always for you. Hard cuts often get others open” – Kevin Eastman

➦ “Put great thought to what and how you practice. Once practice is done you can never get that time back. Did you simulate the game?” – Kevin Eastman

➦ “Most important ingredient to winning: no personal agendas. The commitment has to be ‘us’ driven not ‘me’ driven” – Kevin Eastman

➦ “There is a direct correlation between the number of ball reversals and defensive breakdowns” – Kevin Eastman

Larry Bird Basketball Quotes

➦ “Leadership is diving for a loose ball. It’s about being able to take it as well as dish it out. That’s the only way your going to get respect from other players” – Larry Bird

➦ “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” – Larry Bird

➦ “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” – Larry Bird

➦ “Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds” – Larry Bird

➦ “When I was young, I never wanted to leave the court until I got things exactly correct. My dream was to become a pro” – Larry Bird

➦ “It doesn’t matter who scores the points. It’s who gets the ball to the scorer” – Larry Bi

➦ “Once you are labeled ‘the best’ you want to stay up there, and you can’t do it by loafing around” – Larry Bird

Larry Brown Basketball Quotes

➦ “Failure does not come from losing, but from not trying” – Larry BrownLarry Brown Quotes

➦ “The point guard is there to serve others; to keep them involved and organised” – Larry Brown

➦ “As a coach, I feel if you can get your players to play hard and together on the defensive end, they will automatically be unselfish at the offensive end” – Larry Brown

➦ “I feel all great teams have two things in common: defense and rebounding. So, we stress defense and rebounding every day as the most important aspects in the game to win” – Larry Brown

➦ “Kids today don’t know the difference between instruction and criticism” – Larry Brown

Michael Jordan Quotes

➦ “Limits, like fears, are often just an illusion” – Michael Jordan

➦ “I’m a firm believer in goal setting. Step by step. I can’t see any other way of accomplishing anything” – Michael Jordan

➦ “Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise” – Michael Jordan

➦ “Accept a loss as a learning experience, and never point fingers at your teammates” – Michael Jordan

➦ “Success doesn’t stop when you get there”

Mike Krzyzewski Quotes

“Defense is one man guarding the ball and four others helping him” – Mike Krzyzewski

“Everyone wants to be on a team. They want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They want to be in a situation where they feel that they are doing something for the greater good” – Mike Krzyzewski

➦ “I’m looking for players who make their teammates better. You do that with enthusiasm and passion” – Mike Krzyzewski

➦ “Everybody wants to take responsibility when you win, but when you fail, all these fingers are pointing” – Mike Krzyzewski

➦ “Every season is a journey. Every journey is a lifetime” – Mike Krzyzewski

➦ “A common mistake among those who work in sport is spending a disproportional amount of time on “x’s and o’s” as compared to time spent learning about people” – Mike Krzyzewski

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➦ “In developing teams, I don’t believe in rules. I believe in standards. Rules don’t promote teamwork, standards do” – Mike Krzyzewski

➦ “If what you have did yesterday still looks big to you… You haven’t done much today” – Mike Krzyzewski

Pat Riley Basket Ball Quotes

➦ “Great players and great teams want to be driven. They want to be pushed to the edge. They don’t want to be cheated. Ordinary players and average teams want it to be easy” – Pat Riley

➦ “The true warrior understands and seizes that moment by giving an effort so intense and so intuitive that it could only be called one from the heart” – Pat Riley

➦ “Great teamwork is the only way we create the breakthroughs that define our careers” – Pat Riley

➦ “In all the research you do as a coach, studying other coaches and championship-type situations, you find that all those teams combined talent with great defense. You’ve got to stop other teams to win” – Pat Riley

➦ “It’s what you get from games you lose that is extremely important” – Pat Riley

➦ “No rebounds – no rings” – Pat Riley

➦ “If you get tough mentally, you can get tough physically and overcome fatigue” – Pat Riley

Pat Summitt Basketball Quotes

➦ “I want to continue to do is to help these young women be successful. You don’t just say goodbye at the end of their playing careers and end it there” – Pat Summitt

➦ “You can’t always be the most talented person in the room. But you can be the most competitive” – Pat Summitt

➦ “Admit to and make yourself accountable for mistakes. How can you improve if you’re never wrong?” – Pat Summitt

➦ “We communicate all the time, even when we don’t realize it. Be aware of body language”

➦ “Discipline is the only sure way I know to convince people to believe in themselves” – Pat Summitt

➦ “Teamwork doesn’t come naturally. It must be taught” – Pat Summitt

➦ “Confidence is what happens when you’ve done the hard work that entitles you to succeed” – Pat Summitt

Pete Carril Basketball Quotes

➦ “I don’t recruit players who are nasty to their parents. I look for players who realize the world doesn’t revolve around them” – Pete Carril

➦ “A guy who gives you less than what he has to give is, one, telling you what he thinks of you, and two, telling you what he thinks of himself” – Pete Carril

➦ “Coaches win practices, players win games” – Pete Carril

➦ “Bad shooters are always open” – Pete Carril

➦ “The quality of the pass leads directly to the quality of the shot” – Pete Carril

➦ “Get the kids to understand that they shouldn’t worry about who makes the shot, only whether or not the shot is made” – Pete Carril

➦ “The two ingredients for success in basketball are playing hard and playing intelligently” – Pete Carril

Pete Carril Basketball Quotes

➦ “I don’t recruit players who are nasty to their parents. I look for players who realize the world doesn’t revolve around them” – Pete Carril

➦ “A guy who gives you less than what he has to give is, one, telling you what he thinks of you, and two, telling you what he thinks of himself” – Pete Carril

➦ “Coaches win practices, players win games” – Pete Carril

➦ “Bad shooters are always open” – Pete Carril

➦ “The quality of the pass leads directly to the quality of the shot” – Pete Carril

➦ “Get the kids to understand that they shouldn’t worry about who makes the shot, only whether or not the shot is made” – Pete Carril

➦ “The two ingredients for success in basketball are playing hard and playing intelligently” – Pete Carril

Phil Jackson Basketball Quotes

➦ “You can’t force your will on people. If you want them to act differently, you need to inspire them to change themselves” – Phil Jackson

➦ “I thrive on challenges, and there is no more imposing challenge for someone in my profession than winning an NBA title” – Phil Jackson

➦ “Always keep an open mind and a compassionate heart” – Phil Jackson

➦ “Once you’ve done the mental work, there comes a point where you have to throw yourself into the action and put your heart on the line” – Phil Jackson

➦ “Maturity begins to grow when you can sense your concern for others out-weighing your concern for yourself” – Phil Jackson

➦ “Winning is important to me, but what brings me real joy is the experience of being fully engaged in whatever I’m doing” – Phil Jackson

➦ “Basketball is a simple game. Your goal is penetration, get the ball close to the basket, and there are three ways to do that. Pass, dribble and offensive rebound” – Phil Jackson

➦ “Good teams become great ones when the members trust each other enough to surrender the Me for the We” – Phil Jackson

Red Auerbach Basketball Quotes

➦ “Basketball is like war in that offensive weapons are developed first, and it always takes a while for the defense to catch up” – Red Auerbach

➦ “You don’t win games as a coach during games. You win games as a coach before games. Players win during games, not coaches” – Red Auerbach

➦ “Everyone is born with a certain potential. You may never achieve your full potential, but how close you come depends on how much you’re willing to pay the price” – Red Auerbach

➦ “I can’t stand a ballplayer who plays in fear. Any fellow who has a good shot has got to take it and keep taking it. So he misses – so what?” – Red Auerbach

Rick Majerus Basketball Quotes

➦ “Most lay-ups and two foot jump shots around the goal are missed by not putting the ball up high enough on the backboard” – Rick Majerus

➦ “To win the big games you must get to the free throw line, and then you must make them” – Rick Majerus

➦ “One of the biggest reasons I like coaching college ball is the kids. I feel I can impact players’ lives” – Rick Majerus

➦ “Switch if you have to! It’s not the mismatch that beats you, it’s the open shot!” – Rick Majerus

➦ “My players on defense must have a hand-up on every shot. If not, they run sprints” – Rick Majerus

Rick Pitino Basketball Quotes

➦ “Failure is good. It’s fertilizer. Everything I’ve learned about coaching, I’ve learned from making mistakes” – Rick Pitino

➦ “If you are not willing to work hard and establish discipline in your life, then all your dreams are merely pipe dreams” – Rick Pitino

➦ “Set higher standards for your own performance than anyone else around you, and your only competition will be with yourself” – Rick Pitino

➦ “The basic premise of my system is to fatigue your opponents with constant pressure defensively and constant movement offensively” – Rick Pitino

➦ “Success is determined by your daily choices and habits” – Rick Pitino

➦ “Excellence is the unlimited ability to improve the quality of what you have to offer” – Rick Pitino

Tim Grover Basketball Quotes

➦ “No trainer or coach or expert can make you good or great or unstoppable if you’re not going to do the work” – Tim Grover

➦ “Success isn’t the same as talent. The world is full of incredibly talented people who never succeed at anything” – Tim Grover

➦ “Mental toughness is believing, without a doubt, that whatever happens, you got this” – Tim Grover

➦ “Bottom line – if you want success of any kind; you have to be comfortable being uncomfortable” – Tim Grover

➦ “When you’re tired, sore, and can’t do more, that’s the time to do more” – Tim Grover

Tom Crean Basket Quotes

➦ “One of the biggest keys to offense is eliminating the weakside help that allows defenders to stop penetration from the wing” – Tom Crean

➦ “You’ve got to get a toughness and a level of basketball IQ that matchup because that’s what the best teams have” – Tom Crean

➦ “Never let fundamentals and building skills take a backseat to game planning. Game plans win games. Fundamentals win championships” – Tom Crean

➦ “Players that learn the value of hard work, commitment, teamwork, and sacrifice are the ones that make their teams great” – Tom Crean

➦ “As a coach, I’m never going to do anything to embarrass you. As a player, you can never do anything to embarrass the program” – Tom Crean

Tom Izzo Basketball Quotes

➦ “I haven’t always recruited for the best talent. I’ve taken a few guys who would fit for different reasons. Leadership. Toughness” – Tom Izzo

➦ “Today’s society wants to skip the process. And I hate that” – Tom Izzo>

➦ “We are in the trophy generation.Give them a trophy for 23rd place.That makes the parents happy” – Tom Izzo

➦ “We want men here, not just players. Players are a dime a dozen” – Tom Izzo

➦ “Discipline is the greatest form of love you can show someone. Great players crave discipline” – Tom Izzo

Tom Thibodeau Basketball Quotes

➦ “You have to have a mentality. This is a business. This ain’t hanging out having a good time” – Tom Thibodeau

➦ “You learn from everybody. You learn from the players. You learn from great coaches. You learn from great teams” – Tom Thibodeau

➦ “People always talk about going on offensive runs. But you can go on defensive runs too” – Tom Thibodeau

➦ “The guys who take shortcuts, who aren’t ready, they fail when their opportunity comes” – Tom Thibodeau

➦ “In all my years one thing has never changed; You win with serious, tough-minded players. That never changes” – Tom Thibodeau

Miscellaneous Basketball Quotes

➦ “He who controlleth the backboard, controlleth the game” – Adolph Rupp

➦ “Your defense will save you on the nights that your offense isn’t working” – Adolph Rupp

➦ “Help one kid at a time. He’ll maybe go back and help a few more” – Al McGuire

➦ “Winning is overemphasized. The only time it is really important is in surgery and war” – Al McGuire

➦ “It doesn’t matter how athletic or skilled a player is, if they have a low I.Q., they won’t be very good” – Alan Stein

➦ “People do not differ in their desire to win; they differ in the price they are willing to pay to win” – Alan Stein

➦ “Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do, long after the mood you said it in has left you” – Anonymous

➦ “Talent sets the floor, character sets the ceiling” – Bill Belichick

➦ Chuck Daly Quotes“On a team it’s not the strength of the individual players, but the strength of the unit and how they all function together” – Bill Belichick

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