Our latest collection of basketball quotes that will remind you of the importance of teamwork and collaborative effort.
Basketball is one of the most loved sports the world over.
Invented more than a hundred years ago, the game has grown to become one of the most successful sports.
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A survey by the National Federation of State High School Associations found that 73% of high school coaches believe that quotes are effective for inspiring and motivating their teams.
The findings suggest that coaches and players can benefit from incorporating basketball quotes into their pre-game rituals to create a sense of shared motivation and purpose.
Throughout the years, basketball has produced many great players who have entertained and inspired us in different ways.
Besides the pleasure we derive from watching the game, there are lots of lessons from basketball that we can apply in our lives.
One of the biggest lessons basketball teaches us is the importance of teamwork and collaboration.
Being a team sport, the game requires collaboration and co-operation from teammates in order to win.
Every member must focus, work as a unit, and listen to each other for the common good of the team.
Although Michael Jordan was one of the greatest basketball players in history, he couldn’t win any championships without involving his teammates.
He had to learn to trust and to work together with them.
In that respect, here are inspirational basketball quotes to highlight the importance of teamwork and collaborative effort.
If you like this article, we suggest you explore our most popular quotes article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily encouragement.
Read more related content on our inspirational quotes category page.
Basketball quotes for players and coaches about teamwork
Research by MIT Sloan School of Management revealed that teams with higher levels of “collective intelligence” – the ability to work together effectively – are more likely to win games.
The study findings affirm the importance of applying basketball quotes to foster teamwork and collaboration among players and coaches.
1. “I think, team first. It allows me to succeed, it allows my team to succeed.“- Lebron James
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2. “A basketball team is like the five fingers on your hand. If you can get them all together, you have a fist. That’s how I want you to play.” – Mike Krzyzewski
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3. “Ask not what your teammates can do for you. Ask what you can do for your teammates.”— Magic Johnson
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4. “Michael Jordan may have been the best basketball player in history, but he couldn’t have won six NBA titles without a team.” – Mark E. Hyman
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5. “Create unselfishness as the most important team attribute.”– Bill Russell
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6. “You have to earn your right to win the game with effort and togetherness” – Brad Stevens
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7. “All the successful teams I’ve ever seen have three characteristics: They play unselfish, they play together, and they play hard.” – Larry Brown
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8. “Teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one.”— Mike Krzyzewski
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9. “Basketball is a team game. But that doesn’t mean all five players should have the same amount of shots.” – Dean Smith
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10. “Some say you have to use your five best players, but I found out you win with the five that fit together best as a team.” – Red Auerbach
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11. “When a gifted team dedicates itself to unselfish trust and combines instinct with boldness and effort–it is ready to climb“-Pat Riley
Basketball quotes to inspire self-motivation and teamwork
A poll by ESPN found that 68% of NBA players use motivational quotes to stay focused and motivated during games.
The poll results affirm that basketball quotes can be an effective tool for players to overcome challenges and remain focused on their goals.
12. “One player’s selfish attitude can poison the locker room and make it hard, if not impossible, to establish teamwork” – Dean Smith
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13. “When I lose the sense of motivation and the sense to prove something as a basketball player, it’s time for me to move away from the game.” – Michael Jordan
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14. “Everything negative — pressure, challenges — are all an opportunity for me to rise.”— Kobe Bryant
15. “I know that I’m never as good or bad as any single performance. I’ve never believed my critics or my worshippers, and I’ve always been able to leave the game at the arena.” – Charles Barkley
16. “You have no choices about how you lose, but you do have a choice about how you come back and prepare to win again.” – Pat Riley
17. “You don’t play against opponents, you play against the game of basketball.”—Bobby Knight
18. “Great players are willing to give up their own personal achievement for the achievement of the group. It enhances everybody.” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
19. “I don’t complain about playing time. My job is to play so well that my coach can’t sit me.” – Shane Battier
20. “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
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Basketball quotes to encourage and inspire you to always give your best
21. “I treated it like every day was my last day with a basketball.” – LeBron James
22. “Once you are labeled the best you want to stay up there, and you can’t do it by loafing around. If I don’t keep changing, I’m history.” – Larry Bird
23. “The key is not the ‘will to win’… everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important” – Bob Knight
24. “If you are afraid of failure you don’t deserve to be successful!”— Charles Barkley
25. “Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds.” – Larry Bird
26. “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan
27. “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”― Phil Jackson
28. “You can’t win unless you learn how to lose.” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
29. “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” – Kevin Durant
30. “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.― John Wooden
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Basketball quotes to motivate and inspire coaches and athletes
31. “The idea is not to block every shot. The idea is to make your opponent believe that you might block every shot” – Bill Russell
32. “Losing is part of the game. If you never lose, you are never truly tested, and never forced to grow.” – David Sirlin
33. “Failure does not come from losing, but from not trying.” – Larry Brown
34. “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
35. “Discover your gift, develop your gift, and then give it away every day.” – Don Meyer
36. “The two ingredients in success in basketball are playing hard and playing intelligently.” – Pete Carroll
37. “Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.” – John Wooden
38. “You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.” – Jerry West
39. “Nothing is given. Everything is earned.” – LeBron James
40. “Keep practicing. Never let anyone tell you’re too small or too slow.” – Chris Paul
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Motivational basketball quotes
41. “Create unselfishness as the most important team attribute” – Bill Russell
42. “Bad things do happen; how you respond to them defines your character and the quality of your life. You can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of your loss or you can choose to rise from the pain…” – Walter Anderson
43. “Basketball is a lifelong game. You continue to learn from the game day in and day out, and all along the way, you get better.” – Scottie Pippen
44. “You can have discipline and be demanding without being demeaning” – Don Meyer
45. “Not only is there more to life than basketball, there’s a lot more to basketball than basketball.” – Phil Jackson
46. “Remember that basketball is a game of habits. If you make the other guy deviate from his habits, you’ve got him” – Bill Russell
47. “Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise” – Michael Jordan
48. “The hardest skill to acquire in this sport is the one where you compete all out, give it all you have, and you are still getting beat no matter what you do. When you have the killer instinct to fight through that, it is very special.” – Eddie Reese
49. “Basketball is a beautiful game when the five players on the court play with one heartbeat.” – Dean Smith
50. “Never give up, never give in, and when the upper hand is ours, may we have the ability to handle the win with the dignity with which we absorbed this loss.” – Doug Williams
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Basketball quotes to inspire success
51. “I really get motivated when I have doubters.” — Shaquille O’Neal
52. “The game honors toughness.” – Brad Stevens
53. “There is a lot of basketball beyond our control, but a player should never let anyone try harder than he does.” – Dean Smith
54. “Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.” – Mike Singletary
55. “What distinguishes a great player is his presence. When he goes on to the court, his presence dominates the atmosphere.” – Bill Russell
56. “Plays are not as important as players, and players are not as important as teammates.” – Don Meyer
57. “Passing is your best weapon against man to man. Dribble penetration is your best weapon against zone.” – Bob Knight
58. “The highest level of achievement is attained by the teams with the best conditioned players.” – Dr. Jack Ramsay
59. “Commitment separates those who live their dreams from those who live their lives regretting the opportunities they have squandered.” – Bill Russell
60. “We believe in people executing their role and caring about the team more than anything individually.” – Gregg Popovich
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More basketball quotes
61. “To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don’t isolate.” – Michael Jordan
62. “Nervous means you want to play. Scared means you don’t want to play.” – Sherman Alexie
63. “Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them.” Julius Erving
64. “Losing is only temporary and not all-encompassing. You must simply study it, learn from it, and try hard not to lose the same way again. Then you must have the self-control to forget about it.” – John Wooden
65. “Sometimes a player’s greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team.” – Scottie Pippen
66. “Everyone has the fire, but the champions know when to ignite the spark.” – Amit Ray
67. “One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
68. “Basketball is a game with winners and losers, but if you play this game with your heart, you’re always a winner.” – C.M.
69. “Practice hard, train hard, work hard and play harder.” – Alcurtis Turner
Basketball quotes to make you want to get out on the court
71. “I am more than just a Serious basketball fan. I am a life-long Addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.” – Hunter S. Thompson
72. “But that’s the thing about basketball: you don’t play games on paper.” – Bill Simmons
73. “Good thing in this business is that you just have to make one big shot and that’s enough to make you forget 9 other shots that you missed.” – Guy Zucker
74. “Good coaches tell you where the fish are, great coaches teach you how to find them.”
― Kobe Bryant
75. “If you want to be a better player, you have to prepare, prepare, and prepare some more.”
― Kobe Bryant
76. “Coaches shouldn’t have to push you to work hard, you should push yourself to work hard because you want to be a great player” – Bob Knight
77. “You have a choice to make when you’re not playing. Either you’re invested and a great teammate, or your not” – Brad Stevens
78. “How competitive can you be without losing your discipline?” – Doc Rivers
79. “Players draw confidence from a poised, alert coach who anticipates changing in game conditions” – Dr. Jack Ramsay
80. “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
Basketball quotes about playing basketball
81. “I really don’t do much. I play basketball.” — Brandon Ingram
82. “You need to possess more than a little nastiness to play basketball at the highest level.” — Jerry West
83. “As a kid, my favorite subject was recess. Why? Because I could go play basketball.” — Donovan Mitchell
84. “I just go out there and play basketball. I’m not worried about missing. I just got to be thinking about the next shot.” — Jamal Murray
85. “I might go my whole life stealing money. I got paid to play basketball, which is a scam. I get paid to watch basketball, which is a scam.” — Charles Barkley
86. “I play basketball to win a championship. That championship is everything to me. And that’s what gets people to buy in to your brand – being a winner.” — Chris Paul
87. “When you want to play basketball and you get paid for playing basketball, you want to do it every single day. So I don’t think I’ll get tired of doing it.” — Brandon Ingram
88. “I was born to play basketball. There’s no question about it. That’s it. And I’m saying this in my humblest opinion, I do feel that I was born to play this game. I breathe it, I live it.” — Jamal Crawford
89. “Charles and I go back since college. None of us thought this would happen, we just wanted to play basketball. This is the highest honor that can ever be paid, and it’s mind-blowing.” — Dominique Wilkins
90. “I’m not really a big X’s and O’s guy, but if you want to go there, I’m more of a space-the-floor type of coach: Five out, zero in, and that’s the way we play basketball, screen and roll here and there, pocket passes everywhere; it’s what it’s about.” — Kyrie Irving
Basketball quotes by famous basketball players
91. “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan
92. “We can have no progress without change, whether it be basketball or anything else.” – John Wooden
93. “I started playing basketball so late, it just means that anything is possible.” – Joel Embiid
94. “I believe the only muscles you need in basketball are the ones in your brain.” – Nikola Jokic
95. “When it gets down to it, basketball is basketball.” – Larry Bird
96. “If you quit once it becomes a habit. Never quit!” – Michael Jordan
97. “I tell kids to pursue their basketball dreams, but I tell them to not let that be their only dream.” – Kareem Abdul- Jabbar
98. “I know how hard it is to shoot the basketball, so I’ve got great appreciation for it.” – Reggie Jackson
99. “I’ve been playing basketball since I was five.” – C.J. McCollum
100. “I have no desire to coach basketball.” – Kevin Johnson
Basketball quotes about learning the fundamentals
101. “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
102. “You can have all the physical ability in the world, but you still have to know the fundamentals.” – Michael Jordan
103. “You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.” – Michael Jordan
104. “Have fun doing whatever it is that you desire to accomplish. Learn it one step at a time, emphasizing the fundamentals, and do it because you love it, not because it’s work.” – Paul Westphal
105. “Basketball isn’t a game; It’s an art form. You master the fundamentals so you can forget ’em, so you can improvise and just concentrate on what really matters: getting buckets.” – Kyrie Irving
106. “There’s so many young peoople who start to play basketball and never learn the fundamentals.” – Oscar Robertson
107. “Success lies in a masterful consistency around the fundamentals.” – Robin Sharma
108. “The fundamentals of the game are the same wherever you go: pass, dribble, shoot, defend, rebound, screen, play hard and together.” – Terry Stotts
109. “First master the fundamentals.” – Larry Bird
110. “Morale and attitude are the fundamentals to success.” – Bud Wilkinson
Basketball Quotes To To Celebrate Players Passion For The Game
111. “In practice, don’t just run basketball drills, teach the players how to play basketball.” ― Don Meyer
112. “The more your players have to think on the basketball court, the slower their feet get.” ― Jerry Tarkanian
113. “You can have fun playing by yourself or one-on-one with another person. Basketball is for everyone.” ― Red Auerbach
114. “Basketball is the MTV of sports.” ― Sara Levinson
115. “I started out as a football player. I liked to inflict pain. In basketball, it was the same thing.” ― Shaquille O’Neal
116. “Basketball is like photography, if you don’t focus, all you have is the negative.” ― Dan Frisby
117. “Basketball is like a war in that offensive weapons are developed first, and it always takes a while for the defense to catch up.” ― Red Auerbach
118. “Someday I might have to put down a basketball and have a regular 9-to-5 like everybody else.” ― Shaquille O’Neal
119. “The biggest thing is just routine. I think that’s the biggest correlation between golfers and basketball players.” ― Steph Curry
120. “I don’t discuss basketball. I dictate basketball. I’m not interested in philosophy classes.” ― Al McGuire
Basketball Quotes From Famous Players
121. “They said playing basketball would kill me. Well, not playing basketball was killing me.” ― Magic Johnson
122. “When I had troubles, I’d go out – with basketball, you can do it by yourself, too. So you’d go out and shoot, and you’d fantasize.” ― Mike Krzyzewski
123. “It’s better to have a good player with the basketball in late game situations than to have plays.” ― Rick Pitino
124. “Scoring 100 points is a lot, but I maybe could have scored 140 if they had played straight-up basketball.” ― Wilt Chamberlain
125. “I don’t need too much. Glamour and all that stuff don’t excite me. I am just glad I have the game of basketball in my life.” ― LeBron James
126. “If you’re a basketball player, you’ve got to shoot.” ― Oscar Robertson
127. “When it’s played the way is supposed to be played, basketball happens in the air; flying, floating, elevated above the floor, levitating the way oppressed peoples of this earth imagine themselves in their dreams.” ― John Edgar Wideman
128. “I’m like a superhero. Call me Basketball Man.” ― LeBron James
129. “My goals have gone from being an all-star to just being able to play basketball. I always took for granted that I could play. Now I know what a gift it is.” ― Rebecca Lobo
130. “It’s not to hurt anyone, but basketball can be rough.” ― Sue Wicks
Basketball Quotes to Nurture Upcoming Talents
131. “Basketball isn’t just a sport. It is an art, one that must be mastered to succeed.” ― Steph Curry
132. “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
133. “I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win.“ ― Michael Jordan
134. “Everyone is born with a certain potential. You may never achieve your full potential, but how close you come depends on how much you want to pay the price.” ― Red Auerbach
135. “A key basketball skill is imagery. The best players “see” situations before they happen so they can be prepared.” ― Dr. Jack Ramsay
136. “If you’re not talking, you’re not playing defense.” ― Doc Rivers
137. “There is a direct correlation between the number of ball reversals and defensive breakdowns.” ― Kevin Eastman
138. “If it turns out that my best wasn’t good enough, at least I wont look back and say that I was afraid to try.” ― Michael Jordan
139.“Excellence is a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.” ― Shaquille O’Neal
140. “If you’re going to have to beg them to play, it’s not going to work.” ― Chuck Daly
Basketball Quotes To Inspire Collective Efforts
141. “Good teams become great ones when the members trust each other enough to surrender the Me for the We.” ― Phil Jackson
142. “The important thing is that your teammates have to know you’re pulling for them and you really want them to be successful.” ― Kobe Bryant
143. “There is no ‘i’ in team but there is in win.” — Michael Jordan
144. “The best teams have chemistry. They communicate with each other and they sacrifice personal glory for the common goal.” — Dave DeBusschere
145. “In fact, it is the success of the entire team that brings home a championship title.” — Johnny Osaki
146. “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
― Michael Jordan
147. “In order to achieve positive results, one must work for them, not hope for them.” ― Bob Knight
148. “The star player must slay his ego and learn teamwork and communication skills before he can achieve the ultimate in sport” ― Walt Frazier
149. “Winning is about having the whole team on the same page.” ― Bill Walton
150. “No team works out teamwork.” — Dwyane Wade
Did you enjoy these Basketball quotes?
The dynamics in the game of basketball are very much similar to what happens in our lives.
Just like in life, there are the ups and downs, the endless challenges and the endurance it takes to achieve success.
Coordination and teamwork are an essential aspect of any basketball team.
Unless each member plays his/her part and contributes to the benefit of the team as a whole, it’s impossible to win.
Hopefully, these basketball quotes have reminded you to always contribute, share and cooperate.
Did you enjoy these basketball quotes?
Which of the quotes was your favorite?
We would love to hear all about it in the comment section below.