Top 10 Greatest Sports Quotes You’ve Heard…And Some You Haven’t

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By no means is the following list a definitive collection of sport’s greatest quotes…but it comes very close.  This is a compilation of some of the best things ever said about sports, competition, and winning.  We were surprised by the origin of some of these quotes being that they are very well-known statements said by lesser well-known people.  Please enjoy.

10.) “Close don’t count in baseball.  Close only counts in horseshoes and grenades.” – Frank RobinsonFrank Robinson

Robinson was a powerhouse hitter for several teams starting in the 1950s for the Cincinnati Reds until he retired from playing in the mid 1970s for the Cleveland Indians.  Over the course of his career, Robinson was a 14x All-Star, won 2 World Series, and holds multiple other prestigious awards in MLB including holding the #10 spot for greatest sports quotes according to National Warehouse Equipment.  Congrats Frank.


9.) “I always tell kids, you have two eyes and one mouth.  Keep two open and one closed.  You never learn anything if you’re the one talking.” – Gordie Howe

Gordie Howe is considered one of the greatest hockey players of all time; tough to argue considering his nickname is Mr. Hockey.  He was inducted into the NHL’s Hall of Fame in 1972 and recognized for competing in the NHL in five different decades in which he won 4 Stanley Cups and was a multiple time winner of the NHL MVP award.  Howe’s advice here at #9 is a classic piece of crotchety wisdom.


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

At #8, we have possibly one of the most successful amateur athletes in sports history, Bobby Jones.  Many people don’t know that while Jones won 13 PGA majors and is one of most well-known names in golf, he was never paid to play!  Jones was a lawyer by profession and retired from playing at the age of 28.


7.) “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death.  I’m very disappointed with that attitude.  I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” – Bill Shankly

Only Europeans will totally understand this mentality in the soccer world (referred to as “football” by Mr. Shankly here).  Shankly was the manager of Liverpool’s soccer team and many other programs in the mid 1950s.  His philosophy on competition would probably have been welcomed by American football coach, Vince Lombardi.


6.) “To be the man, you have to beat the man.” – Ric FlairRic Flair

Disclaimer – American professional wrestling is not real, nor is it a sport.  However, Ric Flair makes our list because his simple logic of how to become the best in your craft whether it be sports, fake wrestling, or business, is tough to argue with.


5.) “It’s not the disability that defines you; it’s how you deal with the challenges the disability presents you with.  We have an obligation to the abilities we DO have, not the disability.” – Jim Abbott

One of the coolest stories in major league sports is MLB pitcher, Jim Abbott.  Born without a right hand in the late 60s, Abbott was probably told about his limitations his whole life.  However, in 1988 he was drafted in the 1st round and threw a no-hitter against our own Cleveland Indians in 1993.


4.) “Whoever said, ‘It’s not whether you win or lose that counts,’ probably lost.” – Martina NavratilovaMartina

A Czech native, Navratilova is said to be the greatest tennis player who has ever lived.  She dominated women’s tennis in singles and doubles from the late 70s to the early 90s including 18 Grand Slam singles titles and 9 singles championships at Wimbledon.  Some people say she was the Tiger of tennis…others say Tiger is the Navratilova of golf.  Either way – our #4 sports quote shows her true winner’s mentality.


3.) “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” – Gary Player

Hard work goes along with this quote and few embody it quite like pro golfer, Gary Player.  He is among the elite in every category of the game.  When he competed, Player won 9 major championships and over 160 tournaments worldwide.  Since he retired, Player operated the The Players Foundation for charity, a horse breeding business, and several golf tournaments.


2.) “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.” -Archie Griffin

This quote is the mantra of undersized athletes all over the world.  Archie Griffin is the name and man behind this well known quote and a great career in the NFL  Near and dear to my heart, Griffin played in the NFL as a runningback for the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1970s and 1980s.  He also won the Heisman Trophy twice during his college career.


1.) “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky (The Great One)The Great One

Now, for you sports fans out there, you had to be thinking at this point in the list that if you hadn’t seen The Great One’s immortal words by now, it must be #1.  Well you are correct.  Who can argue with his dominance?  9x league MVP, 10x most points in a season, league wide jersey # retirement (#99), and immediately following his retirement from the NHL, was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame.


Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the official National Warehouse Equipment Top Ten Sports Quotes.

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