10 Most Famous Athlete Quotes

The 10 most famous athlete quotes cover life advice, mathematical calculations, the importance of failure in success, and even social analysis. They are wise, silly, fun, foolish, and embarrassing. Yet reading through the (mostly) sage utterances on this list, it’s easy to doubt the common assumption that athletes are fools.

  1. "Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee. Your hands can't hit what your eyes can't see." – Muhammad Ali, describing his style in what has become one of the most famous sports quotations, and phrases, of all time.
  2. “I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan, the greatest athlete in modern sports, explains his recipe for success, in one of the most famous athlete quotations.
  3. “The person that said winning isn't everything, never won anything.” – American great Mia Hamm may be more well known for being one of only two Americans to appear on the FIFA 100 list of the soccer's best athletes, alongside greats like Pelé and Cryuff, but she also rattled off one of the most famous quotations ever to fall from the lips of an athlete.
  4. “Not Guilty.” – OJ Simpson, when asked how he plead when charged with the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Everyone knows this nugget, even the kids who played Dungeons and Dragons rather than football and basketball.
  5. "Somebody hits me, I'm going to hit him back. Even if it does look like he hasn't eaten in a while." – Sir Charles Barkley, a man who has gifted us countless praise worthy quotations over the years, threw out his most famous zinger when asked about his on-court altercation with an Angolan player during an Olympic game.
  6. “Baseball is ninety percent mental, and the other half is physical.” – Yogi Berra, on the mathematics of the Great American Pastime.
  7. "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."– Wayne Gretzky, obviously a more talented mathematician than Yogi Berra, describes how to fail at life in one of the most famous athlete quotes of all time.
  8. “Hockey is a sport for white men. Basketball is a sport for black men. Golf is a sport for white men dressed like black pimps.” – Tiger Woods, explaining how sports and race work in the United States (and interestingly not mentioning anything about Asians, who are 50% of his ethnic blueprint).
  9. “I was born on the day Lincoln was shot and the Titanic sank.” – Everyone’s favorite suspect history tutorial, and one of the most famous quotes in sports, compliments of baseball great Pete Rose.
  10. “Do you have any problems, other than that you're unemployed, a moron, and a dork?” – Tennis ace John McEnroe, keeping it very real.
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