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quotations about basketball

When I was young, I was sold on winning. I was always serious on the court. As I got older, I realized that it was just a basketball game. Just go out there and have fun.

CARMELLO ANTHONY, Inside Hoops, Jun. 14, 2003

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, The Last Season

They said you have to use your five best players but I found you win with the five who fit together the best.

RED AUERBACH, attributed, Winning Words

I decided one day early on in high school that I wanted to be great at basketball, not just a good basketball player. I would go to the elementary school by my house and shoot thousands of shots all day, every day.

GILBERT ARENAS, Daily Texan, Mar. 29, 2001

Basketball is like war in that offensive weapons are developed first, and it always takes a while for the defense to catch up.

RED AUERBACH, attributed, It's How You Play the Game

The best basketball announcer is one who allows you to close your eyes.

LARRY BIRD, Esquire, Sep. 2008

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, Sacred Hoops

As I got better and better, there were a lot of double teams, and I drew a lot of defenders, so I had to learn how to pass the ball, and get it off to my teammates, because the more people that came to defend me, that means there are more openings for other players.

YAO MING, interview, Nov. 14, 2003

I don't believe in statistics. There are too many factors that can't be measured. You can't measure a ballplayer’s heart.

RED AUERBACH, Harvard Business Review, Mar. 1987

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, Sacred Hoops

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, interview, Jun. 14, 2003

I think it's very difficult for one man to beat you. Chamberlain once popped off, he says, "Give me five guys named Joe and I'll beat anybody around here." And they got him five guys on a playground and beat the hell out of him. It's not a one man game.

RED AUERBACH, Basketball Man

My best moment in the league came when I scored my first bucket. Against Cleveland. I stole the ball and made a layup. I thought, If I never play another game again, it'll be in the record. Two points. Gilbert Arenas was in the NBA.

GILBERT ARENAS, Esquire, Apr. 2010

An acrobatic dunk will make it onto SportsCenter. A simple, unspectacular bounce pass in the rhythm of the offense will not. System basketball has been replaced by players who want to be the system.

PHIL JACKSON, The Last Season

You can't win without the ball.


I only want to play basketball, and play it well and be happy about it. But I realize that with being famous comes a lot of demands.

YAO MING, interview, Sep. 3, 2002

You got to be lucky. Like, for example, one time in the seventh game of a playoff, somebody took a shot -- I think it was Nelson or Ramsey or Sam -- and it hit the backboard, hit the rim, rolled around, went in, and made me a hell of a coach. You know what I mean?

RED AUERBACH, Esquire, Dec. 2000


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