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Need Motivation? These 10 Athlete Quotes Will Inspire You

While the vast majority of us will never play at Dodger Stadium, Madison Square Garden, or Lambeau Field, we can still be inspired and motivated by the professional athletes who ply their trades at these venerable arenas. Here are 10 inspiring quotes by athletes that’ll make you feel like you can do anything.

Derek Jeter


“There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” Jeter was a 14-time all-star infielder who won five World Series rings with the only team he ever played for, the New York Yankees. 

Emmitt Smith

Inside The Star

“For me, winning isn’t something that happens suddenly on the field when the whistle blows and the crowds roar. Winning is something that builds physically and mentally every day that you train and every night that you dream.” Smith won three Super Bowl rings with the Dallas Cowboys and holds the record for most career rushing yards.

Jimmy Connors

Tennis 365

“I think my greatest victory was every time I walked out there, I gave it everything I had. I left everything out there. That’s what I’m most proud of.” By the time he retired in 1996, Connors had won eight Grand Slam tournaments and a record 109 singles’ titles.

Mark Spitz


“If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.” At the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Spitz won seven swimming gold medals, setting a world record in each event.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar


“One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.” The NBA’s all-time leading scorer, Abdul-Jabbar won six NBA championships before becoming a best-selling author. In 2016, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Peyton Manning

New York Post

“I never left the field saying I could have done more to get ready and that gives me peace of mind.” Manning is the only NFL quarterback to lead two different teams to Super Bowl victories. He also holds the NFL record for most passing yards, most passing touchdowns, and most MVP awards.

Hank Aaron

The Source

“My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.” Hammerin’ Hank played 23 seasons in the major leagues and broke Babe Ruth’s long-standing home run record in 1974.

Wayne Gretzky

Sports Illustrated

“The highest compliment that you can pay me is to say that I work hard every day, that I never dog it.” The Great One retired in 1999 and still holds 61 NHL records. He was immediately inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and had his number 99 retired throughout the league.

Michael Jordan

The Source

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six 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.” The greatest basketball player of all time won an NCAA championship, two Olympic gold medals, and six NBA titles.

Muhammad Ali


“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” He was known as The Greatest for a reason, becoming the first fighter to win the heavyweight championship three times.

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