Michael Jordan Quotes

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Considered the greatest basketball player ever, Jordan played the game with style and an intensity to win that was unmatched. To gain a better understanding of this star athlete, take a look at some of his insights on various topics below.

The Best Michael Jordan Quotes

  • You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.
  • I’m not out there sweating for three hours every day just to find out what it feels like to sweat.
  • I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
  • I play to win, whether during practice or a real game. And I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win.
  • Failure is acceptable, but not trying is a whole different ball park.
  • Learning’s a gift, even when pain is your teacher.
  • There is no “I” in team but there is in win.

Michael Jordan quotes image

Air Jordan Background

Considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all time in NBA history. Michael Jordan gained fame as a Chicago Bulls star. Currently, he’s the principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets.

Jordan was born the fourth of five children in New York City to parents James Jordan and Deloris Jordan. The family moved to North Carolina when Michael was a toddler. Jordan played high school basketball at Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina. He played college basketball at the University of North Carolina for legendary coach Dean Smith.

After his junior year, in which he won the Woodson College Player of the Year Award, he decided to go pro. He gained fame in college most notably for hitting the winning shot at the 1982 NCAA Championship game against Georgetown (which featured Jordan’s future NBA competitor, Patrick Ewing). MJ was drafted third in the 1984 draft behind Hakeem Olajuwan and Sam Bowie. He was an All-Star game starter in his rookie season.

The Best Ever

He won five regular season MVPs, six NBA Finals MVPs and three All-Star MVPs. He won an NCAA Championship, an NBA Championship and an Olympic Gold Medal as a player. Only six other players have achieved that feat. An ESPN survey ranked Jordan as the top athlete of the 20th Century in all sports.

In the Eastern Conference Finals in 1989, Jordan scored the game winner in the fifth and deciding game over the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Craig Ehlo in what is referred to simply as “the shot.” His career high in scoring came in the 1986-87 season when he averaged 37.1 points per game. Jordan’s Bulls first NBA finals win came at the expense of the Los Angeles Lakers – the Bulls won four games to one. One of the games featured an iconic MJ move when he switched shooting hands to avoid a block by Sam Perkins. Jordan returned to basketball after retiring and played a few seasons with the Washington Wizards.

Success Off the Court

Jordan’s success off the court is also extraordinary. His relationship with Nike and the Jordan Brand of shoes and apparel have made him a very rich man. He starred in several commercials, notably with Spike Lee. Jordan has been a spokesman for Nike, Gatorade, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and others. He also starred in the movie “Space Jam.”

Jordan announced his retirement three different times before finally hanging it up. Apparently his “love of the game clause” included in his contract was very real.

His Airness Speaks Out on Playing Basketball

  • Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.
  • Live the moment for the moment.
  • Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.
  • My heroes are and were my parents. I can’t see having anyone else as my heroes.
  • My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.


  • If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.
  • If you quit once it becomes a habit. Never quit!

Jordan on Twitter#23 MJ image

Basketball quotations by Jordan

  • I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come. I don’t do things half-heartedly. Because I know if I do, then I can expect half-hearted results.
  • There are plenty of teams in every sport that have great players and never win titles. Most of the time, those players aren’t willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. The funny thing is, in the end, their unwillingness to sacrifice only makes individual goals more difficult to achieve. One thing I believe to the fullest is that if you think and achieve as a team, the individual accolades will take care of themselves. Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.
  • Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.

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Inspiring Words by MJ

  • I know fear is an obstacle for some people, but it is an illusion to me. Failure always made me try harder next time.
  • I’d like to play in at least one All-Star game. –Before playing in the NBA.
  • I’ve never been afraid to fail.
  • In college I never realized the opportunities available to a pro athlete. I’ve been given the chance to meet all kinds of people, to travel and expand my financial capabilities, to get ideas and learn about life, to create a world apart from basketball.

Big Shot

  • I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot. When you think about the consequences you always think of a negative result.
  • You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.

I've missed more than 9000 shots quote


  • I never thought a role model should be negative.
  • Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.
  • I realized that if I was going to achieve anything in life I had to be aggressive. I had to get out there and go for it.
  • One day, you might look up and see me playing the game at 50. Don’t laugh. Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.
  • Yeah, for a little while. (When asked if he could fly.)
  • If I had been playing for money I would have complained a long time ago that I was underpaid.

The Game

  • The game is my wife. It demands loyalty and responsibility, and it gives me back fulfillment and peace.
  • I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.
  • My body could stand the crutches but my mind couldn’t stand the sideline.
  • I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come.
  • Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.
Michael Jordan Fun Facts
  • The NBA website declares him “the greatest basketball player of all time.” (That’s good enough for us.)
  • He starred in the movie “Space Jam” as himself.
  • He owns a basketball team in the NBA – The Charlotte Bobcats.
  • Per Yahoo, he’s the first athlete in history ever to become a billionaire. Rare Air!
  • His Airness played minor league baseball for two years.
  • ESPN named him the greatest North American Athlete of the twentieth century.

Didn’t Know That about Michael

  • His middle name is Jeffrey.
  • A pair of Jordan shoes sold for over $70,000 at auction.
  • Michael Jackson wrote about MJ in a song appropriately title, “Jam.”
  • Michael Jordan has won two Olympic gold medals.
  • He’s won five MVP awards.
  • Although retired as an athlete, Jordan still makes over $100 million per year.

Quotes about Michael Jordan

  • I think he’s God disguised as Michael Jordan.
    Larry Bird after a 63 point performance by Jordan in the playoffs
  • He’s been the greatest player I’ve ever seen. And I’m probably a harsh judge of talent in the sense that I admire players that are really good defensive players and really good offensive players.
    Jerry West
  • This is a day that I had hoped would never come. It has to be the toughest day in the history of the Chicago Bulls. It’s a tough day for Chicago.
    Jerry Reinsdorf, Chicago Bulls Chairman in 1999
  • I can’t believe he hit that shot. I don’t know how he stayed in the air that long.
    Brad Daughtery commenting on “The Shot”

I Like Mike

  • To me, Jordan is the god of Basketball, and I think he will always be.
    Dirk Nowitzki
  • I felt that at his time in the game he was the best defensive player in the game, but more importantly he was the best offensive player. And he made his teams win.
    Jerry West
  • You don’t hesitate with Michael, or you’ll end up on some poster in a gift shop someplace.
    Felton Spencer


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