Top 20 Greatest Sports Quotes

Just as every sport has its inspirational moments, so every sport has its inspirational figures who both do and say memorable things which the sporting world will never forget. From Tiger Woods to Muhammad Ali, here's the pick of some of the best sports quotes ever said.

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Hockey is a sport for white men. Basketball is a sport for black men. Golf is a sport for white men dressed like black pimps.
-Tiger Woods

  • "Some people think football is a matter of life and death... I can assure them it is much more serious than that."  - Bill Shankly
  • "They think it’s all over; it is now."  - Kenneth Wolstenholme, before and after England went 4-2 up against West Germany in 1966

People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.
-Rogers Hornsby

  • "Doctors and scientists said breaking the four-minute mile was impossible, that one would die in the attempt. Thus, when I got up from the track after collapsing at the finish line, I figured I was dead."  - Roger Bannister
  • "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."  - George Best

I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six 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

  • "Pressure? I'll tell you what pressure is. Pressure is a Messerschmitt up your ****. Playing cricket is not."  - Keith Miller
  • "There is water in every lane, so it is OK."  - Swimmer Ian Thorpe on being drawn in lane five

Whoever said 'It's not whether you win or lose that counts' probably lost.
-Martina Navratilova

  • "The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses − behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights."  - One of many from boxing legend Muhammad Ali
  • "You can make a lot of money in this game. Just ask my ex-wives. Both of them are so rich that neither of their husbands work."  - Lee Trevino

When considering the stature of an athlete or for that matter any person, I set great store in certain qualities which I believe to be essential in addition to skill. They are that the person conducts his or her life with dignity, with integrity, courage, and perhaps most of all, with modesty. These virtues are totally compatible with pride, ambition, and competitiveness.
-Don Bradman

  • "The bowler's Holding the batsman’s Willey."  - A true but hilarious piece of commentary from the BBC's Brian Johnston
  • "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog."  - Archie Griffen

The difference between the old ballplayer and the new ballplayer is the jersey. The old ballplayer cared about the name on the front.The new ballplayer cares about the name on the back.
-Steve Garvey

  • "That's great, tell him he's Pele and get him back on."  - John Lambie, when told his concussed striker Colin McGlashan could not remember who he was
  • "We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."  - The indomitable Brian Clough

I think my favorite sport in the Olympics is the one in which you make your way through the snow, you stop, you shoot a gun, and then you continue on. In most of the world, it is known as the biathlon, except in New York City, where it is known as winter.
-Michael Ventre

  • "Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust."  - Jesse Owens