Sports stars are inspirational for many things they do on the field or court. But sometimes it is what they say that last long in the memory. There are some quotes that live on in sporting culture and will be brought out time and time again, as they sum up what it means to be an athlete or a fan.
We’ve collected five of the most memorable sports quotes of all time from five athletes or coaches that are featured regularly on the sports pages and on sportsbooks such as Bovada LV. Sometimes these quotes are misinterpreted to fit other agendas – but that doesn’t make them any less memorable.
Wayne Gretzky – “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”
If your nickname is “The Great One” it is clear that you are doing something right in your chosen profession. New hockey stars come and go over the years but they are always compared with Wayne Gretzky – and they always come off second best. The nickname is simply the most apt in all of sports.
That is why this inspirational quote also hits home so well. It is a message from the biggest name in hockey to everyone else scared of trying, because of the possibility of failing. As with every truly great sports quote, it can also be applied to every person’s life, while offering unique access into how the mind of a sporting great really works.
Wilt Chamberlain – “Nobody roots for Goliath”
For anyone unfamiliar with the Bible story of David and Goliath, Goliath was the giant – while David was the ordinary man who took him on in a fight. Standing at 7ft 1, Wilt Chamberlain could probably be regarded as a giant, even in the confines of the NBA. But he was talking about something much deeper than just height.
Chamberlain is regarded as one of the best basketball players of all time and broke plenty of records in a trophy-strewn career. But he also played the role of the villain – many times justifiably – because of his attitude and record of outspokenness. Goliath was the villain, as was Chamberlain. But the hoops star ended up coming out on top.
Billie Jean King – “Champions keep playing until they get it right”
This is another famous inspirational sports quote that can be used in every walk of life. Billie Jean King is considered one of the best female tennis players in history and won 39 major titles over her long and distinguished career. She was also an activist for women’s rights and famously beat Bobby Riggs in the ‘Battle of the Sexes’ tennis match in 1973.
But with this quote, King sums up succinctly what it takes to be a champion. Even with all her championships and prize money, she kept on playing because she consistently believed that she could be better. That is why champions are champions. They know that you can always improve.
Figure 2 Mark Spitz explained his approach to winning in sports
Mark Spitz – “If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail”
It is not fair to say that Mark Spitz burst onto the scene at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. He had already won two gold medals four years previously in Mexico City. But it was at the latter games that he fulfilled his prophecy to win six golds – and then went even further.
Spitz won seven gold medals in Munich, all in world record time. He then retired straight after at the age of just 22. His famous quote works on two levels. It firstly shows the importance of training to any athlete. But it also shows the ‘second place is nothing’ attitude. If you are already considering that you might not be able to win, you have already lost.
Bill Shankly – “Some people think that football is a matter of life and death. I can assure them that it is far more serious than that”
We’ll finish off with one of the most famous soccer quotes of all time. The ‘football’ that he is referring to is not the football beloved by most in the US – but the quote still applies. The humor of what Shankly is saying reflects the seriousness that many people invest in their love for sports.
It is widely believed that what Shankly said was in jest. But for decades after, his famous quote has been used as a criticism when people take sports too far. Whatever the true meaning, it has definitely lived on in the public consciousness for all the years.