These motivational quotes from Phil Jackson will encourage you to work hard and strive for success — and also find happiness along the way.
Phil Jackson is a former basketball player and coach as well as an executive in the National Basketball Association. Jackson led his teams to 13 championship victories throughout his career — two as a player and 11 as a coach. He motivated his team to find success both on both the court and in life.
These Phil Jackson quotes about basketball, coaching, and finding success and happiness will inspire you to find your own success.
Don’t forget to also check out these legendary Larry Bird quotes to up your game.
Phil Jackson quotes about basketball
1. “Not only is there more to life than basketball, but there’s also a lot more to basketball than basketball.” – Phil Jackson
2. “Basketball is sharing.” – Phil Jackson
3. “Kobe was hell-bent on surpassing Jordan as the greatest player in the game. His obsession with Michael was striking. When we played in Chicago that season, I orchestrated a meeting between the two of them, thinking that Michael might help shift Kobe’s attitude toward selfless teamwork. After they shook hands, the first words out of Kobe’s mouth were, ‘You know I can kick your ass one on one.’” – Phil Jackson
4. “In basketball – as in life – true joy comes from being fully present in each and every moment, not just when things are going your way.” – Phil Jackson
5. “Like life, basketball is messy and unpredictable. It has its way with you, no matter how hard you try to control it. The trick is to experience each moment with a clear mind and an open heart. When you do that, the game – and life – will take care of itself.” – Phil Jackson
6. “Basketball is a sport that involves the subtle interweaving of players at full speed to the point where they are thinking and moving as one.” – Phil Jackson
7. “No one plays this or any game perfectly. It’s the guy who recovers from his mistakes who wins.” – Phil Jackson
8. “Basketball is a simple game. Your goal is penetration, get the ball close to the basket, and there are three ways to do that. Pass, dribble and offensive rebound.” – Phil Jackson
9. “Basketball is a great mystery. You can do everything right. You can have the perfect mix of talent and the best system of offense in the game. You can devise a foolproof defensive strategy and prepare your players for every possible eventuality. But if the players don’t have a sense of oneness as a group, your efforts won’t pay off. And the bond that unites a team can be so fragile, so elusive.” – Phil Jackson
Phil Jackson quotes about being a coach
10. “Everybody has an opportunity to play a role, a playmaking role, so it makes it harder to coach. It takes a little more time.” – Phil Jackson
11. “Once you’ve done the mental work, there comes a point you have to throw yourself into the action and put your heart on the line. That means not only being brave but being compassionate towards yourself, your teammates and your opponents.” – Phil Jackson
12. “A coach’s main job is to reawaken a spirit in which the players can blend together effortlessly.” – Phil Jackson
13. “I think the most rewarding part of the job, and I think most coaches would say it, is practice. If you have it, a very good practice in which you have 12 guys participate, and they can really get something out of it, lose themselves in practice.” – Phil Jackson
14. “My philosophy is that you can’t motivate players with speeches, you have motivated players that you draft. That’s where they come in and those are the guys that are competitive. You cannot teach competitiveness.” – Phil Jackson
15. “The ideal way to win a championship is step by step.” – Phil Jackson
16. “Leadership is not about forcing your will on others. It’s about mastering the art of letting go.” – Phil Jackson
17. “I think the most important thing about coaching is that you have to have a sense of confidence about what you’re doing. You have to be a salesman and you have to get your players, particularly your leaders, to believe in what you’re trying to accomplish on the basketball floor.” – Phil Jackson
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of coaching quotes to motivate your team to the next level.
Phil Jackson quotes about the camaraderie among a team
18. “Good teams become great ones when the members trust each other enough to surrender the Me for the We.” – Phil Jackson
19. “Love is the force that ignites the spirit and binds teams together.” – Phil Jackson
20. “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” – Phil Jackson
21. “The strength of the team lies within the individual. And the strength of the individual lies within the team” – Phil Jackson
22. “Basketball, unlike football with its prescribed routes, is an improvisational game, similar to jazz. If someone drops a note, someone else must step into the vacuum and drive the beat that sustains the team.” – Phil Jackson
23. “The best part of basketball, for those people on the inside, is the bus going to the airport after you’ve won a game on an opponent’s floor. It’s been a very tough battle. And preferably, in the playoffs. And that feeling that you have, together as a group, having gone to an opponent’s floor and won a very good victory, is as about as high as you can get.” – Phil Jackson
24. “What moves me is watching young men bond together and tap into the magic that arises when they focus with their whole heart and soul on something greater than themselves. Once you’ve experienced that, it’s something you never forget.” – Phil Jackson
Phil Jackson quotes about winning and success
25. “Winning is important to me, but what brings me real joy is the experience of being fully engaged in whatever I’m doing.” – Phil Jackson
26. “And yet as a coach, I know that being fixated on winning (or more likely, not losing) is counterproductive, especially when it causes you to lose control of your emotions.” – Phil Jackson
27. “Obsessing about winning is a loser’s game: The most we can hope for is to create the best possible conditions for success, then let go of the outcome. The ride is a lot more fun that way.” – Phil Jackson
28. “I always tell the players, “We are in the business that’s very much like a marathon race only we’re gonna be doing it for 260-something days or so.” And the race is something you get ready to do. There’s gonna be some trial inside of there, but you put yourself through it because ultimately it brings a lot of meaning to your life, it gives a lot of energy to what you’re doing.” – Phil Jackson
29. “Yes, victory is sweet, but it doesn’t necessarily make life any easier the next season or even the next day.” – Phil Jackson
30. “Approach the game with no preset agendas and you’ll probably come away surprised at your overall efforts.” – Phil Jackson
31. “You’re only a success for the moment that you complete a successful act.” – Phil Jackson
32. “Success can be measured in many different ways. . . . Either way, I would find the challenge invigorating.” – Phil Jackson
33. “Make your work your play and your play your work.” – Phil Jackson
34. “If you give the future all your attention, the present will pass you by.” – Phil Jackson
35. “If you have a clear mind . . . you won’t have to search for direction. Direction will come to you.” – Phil Jackson
Wise quotes from Phil Jackson
36. “Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength.” – Phil Jackson
37. “You go in the weight room and you lift weights and you do all these things to strengthen your body. This is strengthening your mind. When you can stay focused and you can use that focus to always come back with your breath to center yourself so that you’re kind of floating in the moment, in the spirit.” – Phil Jackson
38. “I’m a patient person. I think that’s one thing that I feel comfortable I can deal with – the downfall and the errors, as long as I see progress and people trying.” – Phil Jackson
39. “The greatness of Michael Jordan is his competitive drive. The weakness of Michael Jordan is his competitive drive” – Phil Jackson
40. “The most we can hope for is to create the best possible conditions for success, then let go of the outcome. The ride is a lot more fun that way.” – Phil Jackson
41. Of course, it’s no accident that things are more likely to go your way when you stop worrying about whether you’re going to win or lose and focus your full attention on what’s happening right this moment.” – Phil Jackson
42. “Your problems never cease, they just change.” – Phil Jackson
43. “When the mind is allowed to relax, inspiration often follows.” – Phil Jackson
44. “I thrive on challenges, and there is no more imposing challenge for someone in my profession than winning an NBA title.” – Phil Jackson
45. “My dad always had this little sign on his desk: ‘The bigger your head is, the easier your shoes are to fill’. He really drilled that in.” – Phil Jackson
46. “I’m not trying to find answers anymore. I’m trying to live what I know.” – Phil Jackson
47. “If we can accept whatever hand we’ve been dealt – no matter how unwelcome – the way to proceed eventually becomes clear.” – Phil Jackson
48. “I gave it my body and mind, but I have kept my soul.” – Phil Jackson
49. “You can’t force your will on people. If you want them to act differently, you need to inspire them to change themselves” – Phil Jackson
50. “Always keep an open mind and a compassionate heart.” – Phil Jackson
What are your favorite Phil Jackson quotes from the multi-championship winning coach?
Phil Jackson led his team to success because he believed in his team, he believed in the game of basketball, and he believed they could win.
Do you believe you can accomplish success in your endeavors?
Phil Jackson knew there was more to life than just winning the game. He knew that happiness and love were necessary to live a balanced life.
Work hard for success, and if you believe in yourself you will achieve it, but don’t forget to appreciate the journey along your way.
Did you enjoy these Phil Jackson quotes and sayings? Which quote was your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below.
December 15, 2020 7:00 AM EST