The National Basketball Association (NBA) has been a source of entertainment and inspiration for decades. From the all-time greats like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to current superstars like LeBron James and Stephen Curry, NBA players have always provided us with compelling stories, captivating plays, and inspiring quotes.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most famous NBA player quotes of all time. Whether it’s a motivational quote from one of the game’s best or a funny quip from an up-and-coming star, these 49 quotes will surely provide you with some insight into the minds of NBA legends past and present. So strap in for a journey through time as we explore the wisdom and wit of some of basketball’s greatest stars!

From Allen Iverson’s iconic “practice?” response to Bill Russell’s timeless words about teamwork, these 49 famous NBA player quotes will give you plenty of food for thought—and maybe even change your perspective on the game forever.

Michael Jordan: “Some People Want It To Happen, Some Wish It Would Happen, Others Make It Happen.”

Irony of it all — here is one of the most successful NBA players of all time, Michael Jordan, talking about making things happen. Yet, he’s been quoted as saying “some wish it would happen,” an obvious contrast to his own philosophy. It would appear that even MJ acknowledges that some people are not quite like him in terms of drive and ambition!

It’s a quote that speaks to the reality that success doesn’t come easy for everyone, and it’s something we should all be mindful of as we pursue our dreams. After all, if someone as great as Michael Jordan can admit there are some who don’t have the same level of commitment and determination, then it should give us a gentle reminder that we need to work hard if we want to see results.

But at the same time, this quote also highlights the importance of having faith in yourself and believing that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Even if you don’t have natural talent or resources like Michael Jordan did, you can still make your dreams come true with dedication and hard work.

Lebron James: “I’m Not In It For The Money. I Just Want To Win.”

Lebron James is no stranger to hard work. He has worked his way up from humble beginnings to become one of the highest-paid athletes in the world. Despite his success, he has never been motivated by money. Instead, he is driven by a desire to win. As he famously said, “I’m not in it for the money. I just want to win.”

This attitude encapsulates Lebron’s competitive spirit and drive to be successful at whatever he does. For him, winning has always been more important than monetary rewards, and this mindset has helped him achieve some of his biggest victories both on and off the court. His passion for winning has also set him apart from other athletes who may be less focused on the ultimate goal of victory.

James’ commitment to excellence is an inspiration to many people around the world who aspire to reach their own goals and dreams. He encourages them to push through any obstacles that stand in their way and reminds us all that success comes from hard work, dedication, and a focus on achieving our goals – not just making money. Without a doubt, Lebron James’ determination will continue to inspire people for years to come.

Kobe Bryant: “The Most Important Thing Is To Try And Inspire People So That They Can Be Great In Whatever They Want To Do.”

It’s a funny coincidence that Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, two of the greatest players in NBA history, have such similar quotes. In Kobe’s words, “The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do”. This phrase encapsulates one of Kobe’s core beliefs: that we should all strive for greatness no matter what we pursue in life.

Kobe’s quote reflects the impact he had on generations of basketball fans. He was a role model on and off the court, inspiring youngsters to push themselves and strive for greatness. From his countless game-winners to his philanthropic endeavors, Kobe showed us how to live with passion, determination, and a never-say-die attitude. Here are four ways he embodied greatness:

• He made 81 points in a single game – an NBA record • He won five championship rings during his career with the Los Angeles Lakers • He scored 33,643 points throughout his 20-year career – another NBA record • He won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2018

Kobe was truly an excellent example of someone who strived for greatness and achieved it. His legacy will continue to inspire future generations to reach their goals with dedication and hard work. As we move onto Magic Johnson’s famous saying next – ‘I’m a winner. I’m not used to losing’ – it’s clear that these legendary players shared similar values about competition and success.

Magic Johnson: “I’m A Winner. I’m Not Used To Losing.”

Like a pearl in an oyster, Magic Johnson was always a winner. He worked hard to develop and hone his skills, with the ultimate goal of forming a championship team. His drive and determination showed in everything he did, from the way he played on the court to how he carried himself off it.

His famous quote is testament to this: “I’m a winner. I’m not used to losing.” Johnson’s refusal to accept anything but victory on the court was one of his defining traits; no matter what obstacles came his way, he never gave up or let failure become an option. His unwavering commitment paid off as he made history by leading the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA Championships during his career.

Magic Johnson may have retired from playing basketball but his legacy lives on through those who remember him and are inspired by his story of success. Johnson’s willingness to push himself and never settle for less than greatness is still admired today, reminding us all that with hard work, anything is possible.

Larry Bird: “A Winner Is Someone Who Recognizes His God-Given Talents, Works His Tail Off To Develop Them Into Skills, And Uses Those Skills To Accomplish His Goals.”

It is no doubt that hard work pays off in sports. This theory has been tested and proven by athletes from all over the world, but especially in the NBA where you will find some of the best athletes. Larry Bird’s quote proves this theory to be true: “A winner is someone who recognizes his god-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses those skills to accomplish his goals.”

Bird was a three time MVP and a 12-time NBA All Star with the Boston Celtics. He used his incredible natural talent and then worked incredibly hard to become one of the greatest players of all time. His success on the court was due largely to his dedication in practice, something that he also stressed when giving advice to young players. His quote emphasizes that if you want to be successful in any field, you need to recognize what you are naturally good at and then work hard to hone those skills until they reach their peak potential.

Larry Bird’s words serve as an inspiration for many aspiring basketball players. Knowing that hard work can make all the difference between winning or losing should motivate them even more when working on their game. It is clear from Bird’s quote that recognizing your god-given talents and developing them through hard work is essential for reaching your goals. With this advice in mind, let’s continue our look at famous NBA player quotes with Shaquille O’Neal’s: “I’m not like the rest of the guys, I’m a little different.”

Shaquille O’neal: “I’m Not Like The Rest Of The Guys, I’m A Little Different.”

Like a comet soaring through the night sky, Shaquille O’Neal has carved an impressive path in the world of basketball. His remarkable size and skill are only eclipsed by his larger-than-life personality. His quote, “I’m not like the rest of the guys, I’m a little different”, perfectly captures his unique outlook.

At 7’1” tall and 325 pounds, Shaquille stood head and shoulders above most of his opponents. His size gave him a range of skills that few other players had – along with incredible strength, he could easily outrun many of them. This combination enabled him to dominate on both ends of the court.

Although he was larger than life on court, off court Shaq was just as humble. He recognized that even though he was gifted with exceptional talent, it was hard work that helped him make the most of it. This kind of perspective is what set Shaq apart from other players – his understanding that success is about more than just physical gifts.

Stephen Curry: “I’ve Failed Over And Over And Over Again In My Life And That Is Why I Succeed.”

It’s safe to say that Stephen Curry knows a thing or two about success. After all, he’s one of the most decorated players in NBA history. His famous quote – “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed” – speaks volumes about his mindset and determination. This idiom emphasizes his belief that every failure is an opportunity to learn, grow, and eventually reach success.

Curry understands that it’s not just hard work but also resilience which leads to greatness; he never gives up even after multiple failures. He sees each setback as a challenge to become better and stronger, which has allowed him to reach the highest level of basketball excellence. This kind of attitude is something we can all relate to; it’s essential for achieving any goal in life, regardless of what field you are in.

While failure can be disheartening at times, it should never be seen as the end but rather as a stepping stone towards success. As Curry puts it: “If you don’t give up, you still have a chance.” In other words, having faith in yourself and keeping your eye on the prize will eventually lead to success if you don’t give up along the way. Julius Erving certainly agrees with this sentiment – “If you don’t give up, you still have a chance. Giving up is the greatest failure.”

Julius Erving: “If You Don’t Give Up, You Still Have A Chance. Giving Up Is The Greatest Failure.”

Life is like a game of basketball that we all strive to play to the best of our abilities. We work hard, practice, and never give up, no matter how many times we fail. Julius Erving’s famous quote encapsulates this sentiment perfectly: “If you don’t give up, you still have a chance. Giving up is the greatest failure.”

Erving understood that with dedication and persistence comes success. Even when faced with failure and adversity, he knew that by continuing to pursue one’s goals would eventually lead to victory. This is an inspiring message for everyone who has ever felt like giving up in life; we must remember to keep trying and never give in to defeat.

The path to success isn’t easy but it can be conquered if we remain resilient and determined. Erving’s words remind us that every struggle brings us closer to our goals and it is always worth fighting for what we want in life. It may take some time but eventually we will find the courage within ourselves and reach our destination if we just don’t give up on ourselves or our dreams.

Bill Russell: “The Most Important Measure Of How Good A Game I Played Was How Much Better I’d Made My Teammates Play.”

Bill Russell was one of the most successful basketball players in history, winning 11 NBA championships in his 13 year career. He was also a six-time NBA MVP, making him the only player to have won more than four MVP awards. His legendary leadership and ability to make his teammates better earned him the nickname ‘The Architect’.

Russell’s quote “the most important measure of how good a game I played was how much better I’d made my teammates play” is a testament to his selflessness and commitment to teamwork. He understood that individual success isn’t as important as team success, and he consistently put others first on the court. His willingness to sacrifice personal glory for collective victory has been an inspiration to many athletes who want to model themselves after him.

An example of Russell’s philosophy and approach can be seen in the way he approached practice. He would often stay on the court long after everyone else had gone home, working with teammates on drills or just chatting about life off the court. He wanted everyone to be on the same page when it came time for games and worked hard to make sure that happened. This focus on developing relationships helped build chemistry among his teams, and it was one of the keys to his success as a player and leader. Transitioning into Tim Duncan’s famous NBA quote…

Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan is one of the most highly decorated NBA players in history, with five championships and fifteen All-Star selections. He’s also a two-time MVP, three-time Finals MVP, and fourteen-time All-NBA Team selection. His career scoring average of 20.6 points per game ranks him third all-time among power forwards.

Duncan is well known for his calm demeanor both on and off the court. He rarely shows emotion regardless of the situation, which makes him an ideal leader for his team. His ability to stay even keel allows him to remain focused on the task at hand and make sound decisions in critical moments. In addition to being a great leader, he was also incredibly efficient at delivering results when it mattered most—his career field goal percentage of .506 is fifth all-time among players who have taken more than 10,000 shots in their careers.

One of Duncan’s famous quotes perfectly encapsulates his approach: “My job is to go out there and lead by example and hopefully inspire somebody else.” He always put the team first and made sure that they had everything they needed to succeed—both on and off the court. By doing this he allowed them to reach their full potential as a unit, creating a legacy that will last long after he retires from the game.


The great players of the NBA have a common philosophy: never give up. From Michael Jordan to Tim Duncan, they all understood that success isn’t always easy to come by, but that hard work and dedication can pay off in the end. In today’s world, it’s easy to become complacent, but these players are a shining example of how far you can go if you keep pushing yourself.

It’s ironic how many of these players’ quotes focus on overcoming failure when they themselves had so much success. Even though they achieved greatness on the court, they never stopped striving for excellence and encouraged others to do the same. They realized that failure is just as important as success in order to truly appreciate what it means to be successful; this is something we should all learn from them.

These 49 famous NBA player quotes are more than just inspirational words of wisdom – they are a reminder that determination and perseverance will help us achieve our goals no matter what obstacles may come our way. While we may not all be professional basketball players like these 49 famous NBA stars, their words still resonate with us and give us hope for whatever lies ahead.

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