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Inspirational Sports Quotes About Becoming Legendary and Mindset

Legends are made, not born. These sports quotes from the greats will show you exactly why.

Looking for inspirational sports quotes for athletes by athletes about working towards your full potential?

Here is our latest collection of the best inspirational sports quotes!

All athletes need motivation and constant reminders to be at their best during both practice and gameplay. Why?

Because it’s so easy to relax, fall off and fall back. Even when you love what you do!

145 Inspirational Sports Quotes About Becoming Legendary and Mindset

Most people cannot relate to the extreme work ethic it takes to be an athlete and as we all know, a few words can go a long way in life.

When we hear about some of the most successful athletes and sports stars, they were also master motivators. These athletes were experts at motivating their team to go beyond all previous limits, sending them and their teammates into a new territory to achieve the highest levels of performance.

And more times than not, the team listens and responds! Jordan! Kobe! Wayne! Ray Lewis! Just to name a few, are all master motivators.

We searched the web for the best inspirational sports quotes we could find to inspire athletes of all ages, to be the best they can be, on and off the court/field/gym.

Enjoy these wonderful motivational sports quotes for athletes!

Inspirational Sports Quotes For Athletes Who Want To Level Up

1. “Only he who can see the invisible can do the impossible.” – Frank L. Gaines

sports quotes for athletes who need motivation

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

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

motivational quotes for athletes

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

sports quotes about doing your best

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

motivational quotes for athletes

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

sports quotes about being your best

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

motivational quotes for athletes

8. “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

motivational quotes for athletes

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

motivational quotes for athletes

Also read these motivational golf quotes.

Inspirational sports quotes for athletes looking for beast mode

10. “Champions keep playing until they get it right.” – Billie Jean King

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

sports quotes

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

sports quotes

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

sports quotes

14. “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – Fred Devito

sports quotes

Also see these motivational Simone Biles quotes for the powerful olympian in you.

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

motivational quotes for athletes

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

motivational quotes for athletes

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

motivational quotes for athletes

18. “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

motivational quotes for athletes

19. “You were born to be a player. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours.” – Herb Brooks

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Don’t forget to also read these inspirational coaching quotes that will motivate your team to the next level.

Motivational sports quotes for athletes from legends

20. “The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” – Bobby Knight

inspirational sports quotes

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

inspirational sports quotes

22. “A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning.” – Billie Jean King

inspirational sports quotes

23. “If you are afraid of failure you don’t deserve to be successful!” – Charles Barkley

inspirational sports quotes

24. “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” – Jerry Rice

inspirational sports quotes

 You might also like our list of the best baseball quotes for the inner child.

Inspirational sports quotes from Hall of Fame athletes

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

26. “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

27. “What do you do with a mistake: recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it.” – Dean Smith

28. “I’ve failed over & over & over again in my life & that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

29. “You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.” – Jerry West

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

31. “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”  “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.” – Babe Ruth

32. “Do not let what you can not do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden

Have you seen these inspirational coach Carter quotes?

Sports quotes for athletes about perseverance

33. “If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough.” – Mario Andretti

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

35. “Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.” – Wayne Gretzky

36. Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit. – Vince Lombardi

37. “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” – John Wooden

38. “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

39. “What keeps me going is not winning, but the quest for reaching potential in myself as a coach and my kids as divers. It’s the pursuit of excellence.” – Ron O’Brien

40. “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

41. “I think sports gave me the first place where this awkward girl could feel comfortable in my own skin. I think that’s true for a lot of women—sports gives you a part of your life where you can work at something and you look in the mirror and you like that person.”  – Teri McKeever 

42. “Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.”Dan Gable

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

Inspirational sports quotes from winners

44. “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

45. “Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” William A. Ward

46. “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”  Muhammad Ali

47. “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
If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of attitude quotes that will set you up for success.

48. “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.” – Lance Armstrong

You might also like these cheer quotes that will make you want to join the squad.

More inspirational sports quotes

49. “A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning.” – Pat Riley

50. “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” – Vince Lombardi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inspirational sports quotes to give you motivation

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

60. “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.” – Tommy Lasorda
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of determination quotes to help you keep moving forward.

61. “The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self-improvement, about being better than you were the day before.” – Steve Young

62. “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

63. “A champion is someone who does not settle for that day’s practice, that day’s competition, that day’s performance. They are always striving to be better. They don’t live in the past.” – Briana Scurry

64. “Show me a gracious loser and I’ll show you a failure.” – Knute Rockne

65. “Winning isn’t everything, but it beats anything that comes in second.” – Paul Bryant

66. “Just be patient. Let the game come to you. Don’t rush. Be quick, but don’t hurry.” – Earl Monroe

67. “Nothing is black-and-white, except for winning and losing, and maybe that’s why people gravitate to that so much.” – Steve Nash

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

69. “I tell the kids, somebody’s gotta win, somebody’s gotta lose. Just don’t fight about it. Just try to get better.” – Yogi Berra

Don’t forget to also read these hunting quotes that will make you want to head outdoors.

Inspirational sports quotes to help you develop a winning attitude

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

71. “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.” – John Wooden

72. “Competitive sports are played mainly on a five-and-a-half inch court, the space between your ears.” – Bobby Jones

73. “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

74. “You can’t win unless you learn how to lose.” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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

76. “At a young age winning is not the most important thing… the important thing is to develop creative and skilled players with good confidence.” – Arsene Wenger

77. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” – Tim Notke

78. “Passion first and everything will fall into place.” – Holly Holm
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of passion quotes expressing the love of things you’re interested in.

79. “I became a good pitcher when I stopped trying to make them miss the ball and started trying to make them hit it.” – Sandy Koufax

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

Sports quotes about confidence and winning

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

82. “Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time.”– Lou Brock

83. “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

84. “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

85. “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

86. “If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat.”– Herschel Walker

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

88. “If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win.”– Carl Lewis

89. “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

90. “Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period.”– Lou Holtz

91. “Just keep going. Everybody gets better if they keep at it.”– Ted Williams

If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of keep pushing quotes about moving forward.

92. “Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds.”– Larry Bird

93. “The will to win is important, but the will to prepare is vital.”– Joe Paterno

94. “Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way.”– Satchel Paige

95. “You’re never a loser until you quit trying.”– Mike Ditka

Also check out these Wayne Gretzky quotes and sayings that transcend hockey.

Sports quotes to elevate your perspective

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

97. “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” – Jim Valvano

98. “Winning solves everything.” — Tiger Woods
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to check out our collection of Tiger Woods quotes for a successful future.

99. “Life is gonna throw you curve balls and it’s how you deal with them and your attitude and your work ethic.” – Kerri Strug

100. “For me, winning isn’t something that happens suddenly on the field when the whistle blows and the crowds roar. Winning is something that builds physically and mentally every day that you train and every night that you dream.” — Emmitt Smith

101. “So many people along the way, whatever it is you aspire to do, will tell you it can’t be done. But all it takes is imagination. You dream. You plan. You reach.” – Michael Phelps
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to check out our collection of imagination quotes that will inspire you to unleash the untapped treasures in your mind.

102. “Losing feels worse than winning feels good.” — Vin Scully

103. “You’ll score a lot of goals in your career but not one of them will happen without the help of a teammate.” – Abby Wambach

104. “It ain’t over till it’s over.” – Yogi Berra

105. “The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done.” – Arnold Palmer

Sports quotes that will inspire you to win in the game of life

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

107. “Some may have more talent than you, but there is no excuse for anyone working harder than you do.” – John Tavares

108. “No matter how much you’ve won, no matter how many games, no matter how many championships, no matter how many Super Bowls, you’re not winning now, so you stink.” — Bill Parcells

109. “To me the beauty of teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one. You become selfless.” – Coach Mike Krzyzewski

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

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

112. “When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less.” — Paul Brown

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

114. “If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?” – Joe Namath

115. “What makes something special is not just what you have to gain, but what you feel there is to lose.” – Andre Agassi

Sports quotes to motivate you

116. “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

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

118. “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

119. “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

120. “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.” – Yogi Berra

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

122. “I mean, it’s not important what kind of pants you were; it’s how you wear them.” – Ronnie Lott

123. “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

124. “From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” – Arthur Ashe

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

Inspirational sports quotes that will make you think differently

126. “I would have thought that the knowledge that you are going to be leapt upon by half-a-dozen congratulatory, but sweaty team-mates would be inducement not to score a goal.” – Arthur Marshall

127. “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

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

129. “You are the handicap you must face. You are the one who must choose your place.” – James Lane Allen

130. “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” – Muhammad Ali

131. “Goals prepare Olympic athletes physically and mentally. Did you know that goals are used by sports psychologists in order to help athletes improve their performance?” – Paul Bailey

132. “Bodybuilding is much like any other sport. To be successful, you must dedicate yourself 100% to your training, diet and mental approach.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

133. “In sports, players need to be reminded of their competition to become motivated to practice. The same can be applied in business.” – Gavin McGinnis

134. “Everybody’s got plans… until they get hit.” – Mike Tyson

135. “I’ve always made a total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me. I never quit trying; I never felt that I didn’t have a chance to win.” – Arnold Palmer

Sports quotes to inspire you towards success

136. “Winning means you’re willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else.” – Vince Lombardo

137. “Every champion was once a contender that refused to give up.” – Rocky Balboa
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of Rocky quotes from the iconic boxing character.

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

139. “It never gets easier. You just get better.” – Jordan Hoechlin

140. “Winners never quit and quitters never win. Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” – Heywood Broun

141. “It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort.” – Jillian Michaels

142. “Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.” – Muhammad Ali

143. “Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong

144. “It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” – Paul Bryant

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

Sports quotes that will motivate you

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

147. “The secret of winning football games is working more as a team, less as individuals. I play not my 11 best, but my best 11.” – Knute Rockne

148. “To succeed…You need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you.” – Tony Dorsett
If you’re enjoying this collection of quotes, then you’ll love our collection of short inspirational quotes that will help you remain positive and optimistic.

149. “You don’t play against opponents, you play against the game of basketball.” – Bobby Knight

150. “Difficulties in life are intended to make us better, not bitter.” – Dan Reeves

151. “The rewards are going to come, but my happiness is just loving the sport and having fun performing.” – Jackie Joyner Kersee

152. “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.” – Vernon Law

153. “Don’t tell me how rocky the sea is, just bring the ship in.” – Lou Holtz

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

155. “Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength.” – Phil Jackson

Don’t forget to read our selection of soccer quotes that will help you get into the mindset of what it takes to become the best in the world at what you do.

More sports quotes and sayings

156. “Soccer forces life to move on. There’s always a new match. A new season. There’s always a dream that everything can get better. It’s a game of wonders.” – Fredrik Backman

157. “There is no getting around the fact that the moment you are at your very best is the moment you begin to become worse and worse. Others will come along who can run faster, jump higher, hit harder, and you will be forgotten. Your winning moment is dated to die.” – Charlie Higson

158. “Never underestimate the heart of a champion!” – Doc Rivers

159. “If you don’t fall, how are you going to know what getting up feels like?” – Stephen Curry

160. “We old athletes carry the disfigurements and markings of contests remembered only by us and no one else. Nothing is more lost than a forgotten game.” – Pat Conroy

161. “Winning is a habit leadership is calmly maintaining that habit against all odds.” – Amit Ray

162. “Losing teaches you how to win, winning teaches you how not to lose.” – Matshona Dhliwayo

163. “You will never get the best out of anyone professionally unless you understand what motivates and makes them tick personally as a human being.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru

164. “Nothing else will show your true character than how you lose.” – Ken Gleed

165. “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” – Bobby Unser

What motivational sports quotes stood out to you?

To achieve success in their sport, even the most talented athletes have to be at their best during both practice and gameplay.

So it’s not surprising that there are many great athletes and coaches who have produced amazing motivational quotes that we can all draw upon; whether you’re a sportsperson or not.

Hopefully, these inspirational sports quotes have motivated you to work harder towards your goals and dreams.

What quote stood out for you? Share your favorite inspirational sports quotes below.

Also, what motivational quotes for athletes would you add to the list?

Norbert Juma, Lead Editor
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  1. David PaCkMaN Ryan

    August 16, 2020 at 1:38 PM

    About 1/3 of these quotes are garbage (e.g. #3, #4, #5 etc.) A few are contradictory (e.g. #6 vs #64, #22 vs #23). At least 4 are duplicates (#9 & #58, #16 & #75, #20 & #144, #48 & #143).

  2. Elise M. Eriksen

    October 23, 2019 at 1:23 AM

    Great Quotes by some of the greatest. Going to share
    In hopes they will inspire the next generation (my 12yr old

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