There’s no shortage of list with famous quotes on the web. So why another list of the best sports quotes?

Most of these lists are more or less the same phrases. I’ve chosen a good number of quotes you probably aren’t familiar with to make this listed worth scrolling through.

They’re mostly inspirational and motivational quotes with a mix of funny quotes from male and female sports personalities.

1. “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.” – Nelson Mandela

The greatest sports quote of all time. Here’s the full speech from the Inaugural Laureus Sports Awards.

2. “Passion first and everything will fall into place” – Holly Holm

3. “But I think when we play so often in finals, I think it adds something to the game, you know, because people sometimes miss it and sometimes they don’t have it and they want it, and when they have it, they don’t want it. It’s kind of very strange how that goes.” – Roger Federer

4. “We get what we deserve. When we allow dirty players to be sanitized and called ‘intense competitors,’ when we accept classless gestures and taunting as healthy enthusiasm, when we cheer for the barbaric, eye-for-an-eye mentality of players throwing baseballs at each other, we get what we deserve.” – Phil Taylor

5. “I am no genius; I just worked hard like my other teammates, and I believe all my teammates can win the title as they work hard, too.” – Lin Dan

6. “I just want people to see me as a hard-working footballer and someone who is passionate about the game.” – David Beckham

7. “I could never have gotten back into my career without the undying support of my husband, who works full time at a stressful job!” – Lindsay Davenport

8. “I don’t have to wait for nobody, I move when I wanna move.” – Floyd Mayweather

9. “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” – Wayne Gretsky

10. “Never limit yourself, never be satisfied, and smile… It’s free!” – Jenny Finch

11. “I look into their eyes, shake their hand, pat their back, and wish them luck, but I am thinking, ‘I am going to bury you.” – Seve Ballesteros

12. “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” – Babe Ruth

13. “Kill them with success and bury them with a smile.” – Usain Bolt

short sports quotes that instil being a nice person


14. “One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than 50 preaching it.” – Knute Rockne

15. “In the end, it’s extra effort that separates a winner from second place. But winning takes a lot more that, too. It starts with complete command of the fundamentals. Then it takes desire, determination, discipline, and self-sacrifice. And finally, it takes a great deal of love, fairness, and respect for your fellow man. Put all these together, and even if you don’t win, how can you lose?” – Jesse Owens

16. “The time when there is no one there to feel sorry for you or to cheer for you is when a player is made.” – Tim Duncan

17. “There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” – Derek Jeter

18. “I’ll get over it, we got a silver medal, no doubt we are stoked it’s just gut wrenching.” – Portia Woodman

19. “Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.” – Matt Biondi

20. “The Spirit of Sports: The spirit of sports gives each of us who participate an opportunity to be creative. Sports knows no sex, age, race or religion. Sports gives us all the ability to test ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally in a way no other aspect of life can. For many of us who struggle with ‘fitting in’ or our identity – sports gives us our first face of confidence. That first bit of confidence can be a gateway to many other great things!” – Dan O’Brien

21. “I always tell kids, you have two eyes and one mouth. Keep two open and one closed. You never learn anything if you’re the one talking.” – Gordie Howe

22. “I’ve had to learn to fight all my life – got to learn to keep smiling. If you smile things will work out.” – Serena Williams

23. “I want to be a giving woman and just a nice person in general.” – Serena Williams

Just be a nice person. That’s what was said on my home page before the current edition was changed in mid-2017.

24. “Every kid around the world who plays soccer wants to be Pele. I have a great responsibility to show them not just how to be like a soccer player, but how to be like a man.” – Pele

25. “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. That surrender, even the smallest act of giving up, stays with me. So when I feel like quitting, I ask myself, which would I rather live with?” ― Lance Armstrong

Lance devastated the world when he confessed to cheating with drugs. But he has continued on with life, not quitting and now I really enjoy his podcast.


greatest sports quote when you are at rock bottom

26. Worrying gets you nowhere. if you turn up worrying about how you’re going to perform, you’ve already lost. Train hard, turn up, run your best and the rest will take care of itself.” – Usain Bolt

27. “Negativity and Hulkamania – 2 things that don’t go together.” – Hollywood Hulk Hogan

28. “The coaching team put a lot of effort into growing us as people, and developing our leadership and decision-making skills.The only way of doing that is by giving us players real power over our own systems and protocols, and by integrating them into all the major decisions.” ― Richie McCaw

29. “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

30. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see.” – Muhammad Ali

31. “The one thing I said all along in the build-up (to game three when the ages of many Maroons players were heavily questioned) is you cannot buy understanding. It either exists or it doesn’t.” – Wally Lewis

32. “I want to be a dad, first and foremost. I want to be a good father. I’ve spent so much of my life on the move and travelling around the world that just to set up a home for my family and be a good dad is something that motivates me. – Ricky Ponting

33. “For me to get through the toughest periods in my life, I had to look within to find the energy to do it. I don’t give up. Never have. Never will.” – Jonah Lomu

34. “After what I did yesterday, you feel quite embarrassed … It was a very weird, surreal feeling this morning,” – Ernie Els

This was the day after Ernie Els six-putted the first green at The Masters. Even the best in the world can do things amateurs assumed was impossible.

35. “In baseball and in business, there are three types of people. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened.” – Tommy Lasorda

36. “I met a young kid who was undergoing chemotherapy, and Dad would tell me he was on his deathbed. I called him and spoke to him and he’d been watching the races. Then seven months later he was at school, and that’s powered him through. I don’t understand it, but there is power in what we are doing, and power in families being together.” – Lewis Hamiltion

37. “You can’t always control circumstances. However, you can always control your attitude, approach, and response. Your options are to complain or to look ahead and figure out how to make the situation better.” ― Tony Dungy

38. “The most we can hope for is to create the best possible conditions for success, then let go of the outcome. The ride is a lot more fun that way.” ― Phil Jackson

39. “Talking to past players, they all say it is not easy retiring. I don’t think for one minute this is going to be easy for me. There is going to be times where there is a void in my life … the challenge for me is to find other avenues in my life to substitute for that.” – Darren Lockyer

40. “Excellence is not a singular act but a habit. You are what you do repeatedly.” – Shaquille O’Neal

41. “Luck? Sure. But only after long practice and only with the ability to think under pressure.” – Babe Zaharias

42. “I think he broke his face in the first play of the game, and then he got surgery at half-time and came back to finish the game and they won.” — Marshawn Lynch

Sam Burgess broke his jaw in the first play of the grand final which is what Lynch is attempting to desribe. Check out the video below! Rugby League is a brutal sport.

43. “I wouldn’t let the boys down, no way. If my arm came off I’d still play” — Jack Bird

44. “My dad has always taught me these words: care and share. That’s why we put on clinics. The only thing I can do is try to give back. If it works, it works.” – Tiger Woods

45. “If you can believe it, the mind can achieve it.” – Ronnie Lott

47. “Now that I’ve won a slam, I know something very few people on earth are permitted to know. A win doesn’t feel as good as a loss feels bad, and the good feeling doesn’t last long as the bad. Not even close.” ― Andre Agassi

48. “Ask not what your teammates can do for you. Ask what you can do for your teammates.” – Magic Johnson

49. “I figure practice puts your brains in your muscles.” – Sam Snead

50. “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

51. “When you lose a couple of times, it makes you realize how difficult it is to win.” – Steffi Graf

52. “I learned that if you want to make it bad enough, no matter how bad it is, you can make it.” – Gale Sayers

53. “Statistics are like bikinis—they show a lot but not everything.” – Lou Piniella


54. “For me once I go out there to America I’m pretty much representing all of New Zealand because most people haven’t met New Zealand people, so I have to take that into consideration. If I’m a dick, then they’re like New Zealand guys are dicks.” – Steve Adams

55. “It doesn’t matter where you come from and no matter where you are or who you are, you can still make it.” – Gift Ngoepe

56. “When I first came on tour, I was playing for money. Now I’m playing to win golf tournaments and the money is more than I ever dreamed I could make.” – Annika Sorenstam

57. “No one wants to hear my perspective on politics, but I think honestly as you get older, you get more interested in it.” – Danica Patrick

58. “I was very against pink and purple when I was young, because they were girls’ colors. But that was only because I didn’t want people to write me off for what I can do. When I got into my 20s, I decided that was stupid.” – Danica Parick

59. “I try not to look too far ahead. I could retire as an anchor, but I see myself as always being busy, and I want that connection to sports.” – Linda Cohn

60. “I train so hard to make sure failure doesn’t happen. If I do everything I can, and run as fast as I possibly can and someone still beats me, I don’t think of that as failure.” – Marion Jones

61. “Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose-it teaches you about life. – Billie jean king

62. “I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion.” – Billie Jean King

63. “Labels are for filing. Labels are for clothing. Labels are not for people.” ― Martina Navratilova

awesome motivational sports quotes from a tennis player

64. “Moment of victory is much too short to live for that and nothing else.” ― Martina Navratilova

65. “My purpose is to go over there and to see if I can keep bringing sports. I’m hoping it opens doors for us.” – Dennis Rodman

He is talking about North Korea here. While his visits are often controversial, in my opinion, he really is trying to do some good in the world. Nelson Mandela believes it’s possible!

66. “I believe golf can solve the worlds problems and stop war” – Arnold Palmer

best golf quotes

67. “I’m in trouble because I’m normal and slightly arrogant. A lot of people don’t like themselves and I happen to be totally in love with myself. – Mike Tyson

68. “And your mind still goes, but the body doesn’t react.” – Irene Vandyk

69. “You’re always going to be criticized to a degree. Some people didn’t like Mother Teresa as well.” – Brendan McCullum

70. “Irrespective of whether you have the talent or not, one has to work hard. Just being talented doesn’t mean anything; you can end up wasting it before you realize.” – Virat Kohli

71. “I hate saying the old cliches. I like to make my own ones up. You’ve just got to take each game as it comes.” – Cory Jane

72. “He was white-baiting when I talked to him today. He’s been running up and down the side of a river. One of the criteria of selection was two pound of white bait. So there’s always some benefits.” – Graham Henry

73. “Yes, it’s pretty freakish, a story which has changed my life in so many ways. But it’s just me. To my family and friends and to Waiuku, I’m still the same guy, just an ordinary Kiwi,” – Stephen Donald

74. “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” – Gary Player

A classic New Zealand quote here, keeping it short, sweet and modest. These past two quotes related to each other. Graham Henry is referencing Stephen Donald who ended up kicking the winning points in the Rugby World Cup. Just days earlier he wasn’t in the squad until a bunch of injuries ruled players out.

75. “Character, character, character. First, second and third … we were pretty rusty initially. When you have a break for a few weeks you get a bit of rust.” – Graham Henry

76. “I feel like I’m the best, but you’re not going to get me to say that.” – Jerry Rice

77. “You don’t like to see hookers going down on players like that.” – Murray Mexted

78. “The drivers have one foot on the brake, one on the clutch and one on the throttle.” – Bob Varsha

79. “I’m glad I don’t play anymore. I could never learn all of those handshakes.” – Phil Rizzuto

80. “Golf and sex are the only things you can enjoy without being good at them.” – Jimmy Demaret

81. “I start early and I stay late, day after day, year after year. It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success.” – Lionel Messi

82. “Well, we knocked the bastard off!” – Sir Edmund Hillary

After becoming the first man to the top of Mt. Everest, that’s all Sir Ed had to say. He referenced his team of course, who without, he could not have made the journey.

83. “When the mind is controlled and spirit aligned with purpose, the body is capable of so much more than we realize.” ― Rich Roll

84. “One of the greatest experiences in life is achieving personal goals that others said would be, ‘impossible to attain.’ Be proud of your success and share your story with others.” – Robert Cheeke

85. “There are no shortcuts—everything is reps, reps, reps.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

86. “I enjoy all the oohs! and ahhs! from the gallery when I hit my drives. But I’m getting pretty tired of the awws! and uhhs! when I miss a putt.” – John Daly

87. “I am from the poor people; I represent the poor people. I like workers. I like people that suffer because these people have a different approach to life from the people that have everything and don’t know what suffering is.” – Roberto Clemente

88. “I’m always having fun in training and in boxing. I think it’s because boxing is my passion.” – Manny Pacquiao

89. “People want to project their own insecurities on others, but I refuse to allow them to put that on me. Just because you don’t think that you could be the best in the world doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t have the confidence to believe I can do anything.” ― Ronda Rousey, My Fight / Your Fight

90. “I get nervous about performing 90% of the time. There’s always that little self-doubt, but I don’t let it get to me.” – Torrie Wilson

92. “When you do something good, the Argentine people really attach themselves to you. They have so many problems back there that they’re looking for somebody to be proud of. I think about that, and I won’t forget it.” – Manu Ginobili

93. “Fans still talk about my big white scrunchie, which became iconic in its own right. I loved that scrunchie and its little sparkles that Peggy glued on herself. Without my scrunchie, I wouldn’t have felt ready to compete. (Yes, I still have it.)” ― Shannon Miller

94. “Leading a healthy, active lifestyle is all about momentum. If I’m in the middle of training it’s easy for me to keep that up. It gets tough when I’m on a break. I just try to start my day with a good breakfast and a quick walk, something simple that gets the day off on the right foot. The more I do that, the more I make healthy choices that reflect the good choices made earlier.” — Natalie Coughlin

95. “I say this a lot, but every single day I’m living a dream come true.” – Michael Phelps


96. “You can either stick to your goals, or you can just go through the motions and rest on your status. But it’s all about work.” – Kristine Lilly

97. “I wanted to get the fans pumped for the second half, so I sent this tweet: “Need two more dunks on home court for the best crowd ever! #BaylorNation.” – Brittney Griner

98. “Football in Brazil is seen as a masculine sport, even with a lot of people accepting the female sport.” – Marta

99. “When you fail you learn from the mistakes you made and it motivates you to work even harder.” – Natalie Gulbis

100. “You take a crash, you get back up and next time you succeed and that’s a great feeling.” – Shaun White

101. “I’ve had a lot of drawbacks and setbacks in my career, but no matter what anyone says about me, I’m determined to be the best skier in the world, and no one is going to stop me.” – Lindsey Vonn

102. “I think the hard part is over. Now it’s time for us to play.” — Kerri Walsh

103. “My parents always told me to be the same person no matter if you’re No.1 in the world or No. 1000. It doesn’t matter. Always be polite and always be respectful towards others. If people don’t want to be respectful towards me I can’t do anything about it. I’m just going to smile and say ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’, but at the end of the day you can’t make everyone happy.” – Caroline Wozniacki

104. “Sports is the best means of communication between people from different religions and countries”. – Yao Ming

105. “Friendships first, competition second.” – Yao Ming

This is a short sports quote yet is a principle we should all abide by. I’ve always admired athletes who can hate their opposition on the field, but as soon as they get off the court, field or pitch can be friends and have a beer.

106. “The country is full of good coaches. What it takes to win is a bunch of interested players.” – Don Coryell

107. “This whole journey was never about making a roster or being on a team. It was about giving myself an opportunity. I wanted to take a risk, put myself out there and put my faith in action. Faith without action is dead. This whole journey, I’ve never felt so alive.” – Jarryd Hayne

108. “When my time on earth is gone, and my activities here are passed, I want them to bury me upside down and my critics can kiss my ass!” – Bob Knight

109. “The way I’ve been brought up to is take critiques and turn them into positives in my game.” – Alex Morgan

110. “All you can do is be your best self. I’m representing more than just me. I think every person should think that way.” – Misty Copeland

111. “Take your victories, whatever the may be, cherish them, use them, but don’t settle for them.” – Mia Hamm

112. “Believe me, the reward is not so great without the struggle.” – Wilma Rudolph

113. “Aim high and don’t sell yourself short. Know that you’re capable. Understand that a lot of people battle with a lot of things – depression, body image or whatever else – so know that it’s not just you. You’re not alone.” – Holly Holm

Personally, I’ve never been fond of cheesy quotes about travel. Because they sound too cheesy! Yet I can apply pretty much all the above quotes to many of my past journeys and ones I will have going forward.

Which sports personality has the most inspirational quote for you?