To reach the top of your profession, you need to be as strong mentally as you are physically. Some of the most talented athletes in sports history have failed to live up to the hype, whether down to ego or a poor mindset. It is the same with sports betting.

There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance in sport and only the best athletes can talk the talk and walk the walk. Here, we look at 100 of the greatest inspirational sport quotes of all-time.

  1. “When you’re riding, only the race in which you’re riding is important.”– Bill Shoemaker

  2. “A trophy carries dust. Memories last forever.”– Mary Lou Retton

  3. “The only way to prove that you’re a good sport is to lose.”– Ernie Banks

  4. “Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown.”– Ross Perot

  5. “It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.” – Muhammad Ali

  6. “You have to do something in your life that is honorable and not cowardly if you are to live in peace with yourself.” – Larry Brown

  7. “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

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

  9. “The five S’s of sports training are: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit; but the greatest of these is spirit.”– Ken Doherty

  10. “An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.”– Emil Zatopek

  11. “Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… play for her.”– Mia Hamm

  12. “There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either IN or you’re OUT. There is no such thing as life in-between.”– Pat Riley

  13. “How you respond to the challenge in the second half will determine what you become after the game, whether you are a winner or a loser.”– Lou Holtz

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

  15. “The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning.”– Pele

  16. “Never give up! Failure and rejection are only the first step to succeeding.” – Jim Valvano

  17. “Most talented players don’t always succeed. Some don’t even make the team. It’s more what’s inside.”– Brett Favre

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

  19. “Leadership, like coaching, is fighting for the hearts and souls of men and getting them to believe in you.”– Eddie Robinson

  20. “You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out, but you gotta suit up for them all.”– J. Askenberg

  21. “Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you.”– Arnold Palmer

  22. “The best motivation always comes from within.” – Michael Johnson

  23. “Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind.”– Jackie Joyner-Kersee

  24. “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” – Vince Lombardi

  25. “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

  26. “Make each day your masterpiece.”– John Wooden

  27. “Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.”– Pat Riley

  28. “It is not the size of a man but the size of his heart that matters.”– Evander Holyfield

  29. “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” – Muhammad Ali

  30. “A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.”– Jack Dempsey

  31. “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” – Babe Ruth

  32. “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi

  33. “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth

  34. “Never say never because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.” – Michael Jordan

  35. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

  36. “Number one is just to gain a passion for running. To love the morning, to love the trail, to love the pace on the track. And if some kid gets really good at it, that’s cool too.”– Pat Tyson

  37. “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

  38. “I never worry about the problem. I worry about the solution.” – Shaquille O’Neal

  39. “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.” – John Madden

  40. “The secret is to believe in your dreams; in your potential that you can be like your star, keep searching, keep believing and don’t lose faith in yourself.” - Neymar

  41. “Today, you have 100% of your life left.” – Tom Landry

  42. “Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.” - Mike Singletary

  43. "Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t." ― Jerry Rice

  44. “To uncover your true potential you must first find your own limits and then you have to have the courage to blow past them.”– Picabo Street

  45. “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” – Dean Karnazes

  46. "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard." ― Tim Notke

  47. "A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning." ― Pat Riley

  48. "You can’t win unless you learn how to lose." ― Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 

  49. "Each day you must choose, the pain of discipline or the pain of regret." ― Eric Mangini

  50. "You are never really playing an opponent. You are playing yourself, your own highest standards, and when you reach your limits, that is real joy." ― Arthur Ashe

  51. "Good is not good when better is expected." ― Vin Scully

  52. "If you don't invest very much, then defeat doesn't hurt very much and winning is not very exciting." ― Dick Vermeil

  53. "Kill them with success and bury them with a smile." ― Usain Bolt

  54. "As long as we persevere and endure, we can get anything we want." ― Mike Tyson

  55. "It’s all about the journey, not the outcome." ― Carl Lewis

  56. "If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough." ― Mario Andretti

  57. "If you are afraid of failure you don’t deserve to be successful!" ― Charles Barkley

  58. "If you only ever give 90% in training then you will only ever give 90% when it matters." ― Michael Owen

  59. "Life is meant to be a challenge, because challenges are what make you grow." ― Manny Pacquiao

  60. "I can't relate to lazy people. We don't speak the same language. I don't understand you. I don't want to understand you." ― Kobe Bryant

  61. "Whoever said, 'It's not whether you win or lose that counts,' probably lost." ― Martina Navratilova

  62. "Sports do not build character. They reveal it." — Heywood Broun

  63. "Be the hardest working person you can be. That's how you separate yourself from the competition." ― Stephen Curry

  64. "The most important thing about winning is believing that you can win no matter who you are playing." ― Lawrence Dallaglio

  65. “The man who has no imagination has no wings.” – Muhammad Ali

  66. “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

  67. “Victory is in having done your best. If you’ve done your best, you’ve won.” – Billy Bowerman

  68. “I never left the field saying I could have done more to get ready and that gives me peace of mind.”– Peyton Manning

  69. “I don’t plan on being disappointed. We plan on being really good, and obviously, we plan on winning.” – Gregg Troy

  70. “You might not be able to outthink, out market or outspend your competition, but you can outwork them.” – Lou Holtz 

  71. “I’ve got a theory that if you give 100% all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end.” – Larry Bird

  72. “You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.”– Michael Phelps

  73. "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

  74. “The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I work hard every day, that I never dog it.”– Wayne Gretzky

  75. “Some people say I have attitude – maybe I do…but I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does – that makes you a winner right there. ” – Venus Williams

  76. “Finding good players is easy. Getting them to play as a team is another story.” – Casey Stengel

  77. “If you think it’s hard to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball.” – Jack Lemmon

  78. “In the end, the game comes down to one thing: man against man. May the best man win.” ― Sam Huff

  79. “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.” – Tommy Lasorda

  80. “There are certain basic qualities and characteristics you’ve got to have. Number one: you’ve got to have a will to win.” – Bob Richards

  81. "Success isn't owned, it's leased. And rent is due every day." -  J.J. Watt

  82. “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” – Michael Jordan

  83. “My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.” – Hank Aaron

  84. “I’ve never lost a game. I just ran out of time.” — Michael Jordan

  85. “Victory is fleeting. Losing is forever.” — Billie Jean King

  86. “Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next.”— George Steinbrenner

  87. “Watch your actions, they become your habits. Watch your habits, they become your character.” – Vince Lombardi

  88. “I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” – Mia Hamm

  89. “Pressure is a word that is misused in our vocabulary. When you start thinking of pressure, it’s because you’ve started to think of failure.” – Tommy Lasorda

  90. “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

  91. “At one point in your life you either have the thing you want or the reasons why you don’t.” – Andy Roddick

  92. “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.” – John Wooden

  93. “When people succeed, it is because of hard work. Luck has nothing to do with success.” - Diego Maradona

  94. “The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory.” – Les Brown

  95. You can motivate by fear, and you can motivate by reward. But both those methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self motivation. – Homer Rice

  96. “Don’t be afraid of failure. This is the way to succeed.” – LeBron James

  97. “I always felt that my greatest asset was not my physical ability, it was my mental ability.” – Bruce Jenner

  98. 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

  99. “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

  100. “If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.”– Mark Spitz

Which sports quotes are your favourite from our list? With some of the most famous inspirational quotes in sports history on the list, it is certainly a difficult choice.

*Credit for the main photo belongs to John Swart / AP Photo*


FIRST PUBLISHED: 7th September 2020

About the Author
Alex McMahon Sport

Alex is a sports betting tipster, specialising in Premier League football, the Champions League and horse racing.

He loves placing a weekly accumulator on the football at the weekend and dreams of landing the big winner that will take him back to Las Vegas.

As well as writing sports betting tips for 888sport since 2015, Alex has produced content for several international media companies, such as and The SPORTBible.