Phrases of Athletes That Shook the World: Bethany Hamilton, Allen Iverson, Rasheed Wallace, Peng Shuai, Charles Barkley, Kevin Garnett, Megan Rapinoe, Yogi Berra, Bart Scott, Kobe Bryant, Venus Williams, Randy Moss, Muhammad Ali,,,
Here are the 20 athlete Phrases that shook the world
1. Bethany Hamilton
Bethany Hamilton’s story is one of inspiration and perseverance. The pro surfer lost her arm in a shark attack in Hawaii at the age of 13, but was back on her board less than 30 days later, becoming a national surfing champion two years after that. Needless to say, she has a lot to say to young people everywhere—particularly girls—when it comes to never giving up. She wrote in her book Soul Surfer: “Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice.”
2. Allen Iverson
In one press conference, Allen Iverson forever associated himself with “practice.” In 2002, the Philadelphia 76ers point guard was frustrated that the media was questioning his dedication to the team, particularly during practice. AI then went on a legendary rant in which he said the word “practice” 22 times, as well as: “We talking about practice. Not a game. Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game like it’s my last. Not the game. We talking about practice, man.”
3. Rasheed Wallace
If you had to pick the most commonly reused basketball quote, it might very well be this one from Rasheed Wallace. Throughout his career, Wallace used his catchphrase, “Ball don’t lie,” indicating that the ball itself was doling out justice after a bad call leads to a missed shot or turnover. It’s basically the basketball equivalent of “Cheaters never prosper.” Now whenever a wrong has been righted in this way on the court, NBA fans happily reference Sheed’s line.
4. Peng Shuai
Of all the statements on this list, this one is the most recent and perhaps the most disturbing. Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai said over social media in November that she had been sexually assaulted by former Chinese vice premier Zhang Gaoli. Half an hour later, her post was deleted, and she hadn’t been seen in public for weeks. Even more bizarrely, Chinese state media outlet CGTN released an email claiming to be from Peng sent to WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon, in which she said the allegation of assault was untrue, as well as the line, “I’m not missing, nor am I unsafe. I’ve just been resting at home and everything is fine.” A subsequent video was released of Peng reiterating that she’s OK, but the WTA remains understandably concerned about her well-being and whether she’s been coerced into making these statements.
5. Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley has certainly said his share of controversial things while in the NBA and in his post-NBA career as a TNT analyst, but one particular quote of his from 1993 pretty much explains his whole outlook. It was a line from a Nike commercial, in which Barkley boldly stated, “I am not a role model,” challenging the notion that professional athletes are to be emulated by kids. Barkley’s thought-provoking words put the ball back in the court of parents to be a child’s role model, rather than an athlete they’ve never met.
6. Kevin Garnett
When Kevin Garnett finally won an NBA championship in 2008, he let out all the years of frustration and bitter disappointment in one jubilant outburst. After the Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, he summed up his feelings by saying “Anything is possible,” and then saying it again, only longer and louder, raising his face to the sky. KG’s exclamation became one of the most iconic moments in basketball history.
7. Megan Rapinoe
USWNT standout Megan Rapinoe has never shied away from speaking her mind about world issues that are near and dear to her heart. She started kneeling during the playing of the American national anthem in 2016 to support Colin Kaepernick and help call attention to racial inequality and police brutality. Rapinoe explained why by saying, “When we, as a nation, put our minds to something, when we truly choose to care about something, change always happens.”
8. Yogi Berra
It’s basically impossible to pick the best Yogi Berra quote—the legendary Yankees catcher was full of quips and memorable lines, even if some of them didn’t quite make sense. Our favourite of them all, though, is perhaps the simplest:“It ain’t over till it’s over.” Berra first said the signature line when he was managing the New York Mets in 1973. And of course, they would rally and go on to win the division title.
9. Bart Scott
Animated GIFs were basically invented for lines like the one Bart Scott delivered in 2011. During a post-game interview, the New York Jets linebacker cut a WWE-esque promo after beating the New England Patriots, calling out all the people who doubted their abilities as a team. ESPN field reporter Sal Paolantonio said he’d see Scott in Pittsburgh, and he shot back, “Can’t wait!” The iconic retort became a classic response amongst Jets and NFL fans in general.
10. Kobe Bryant
When Kobe Bryant first joined the NBA in the late 1990s, many compared the Black Mamba to His Airness, but while Kobe certainly modelled his work ethic after Michael Jordan, that’s where the comparisons ended for him. In 1997, he said: “I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant.” Kobe certainly did that, and then some.
11. Venus Williams
Venus Williams is without a doubt one of the greatest tennis players of her generation and was never apologetic about playing with an edge. Her quote in her book Come To Win sums it up nicely: “Some people say that I have an attitude. Maybe I do. But I think that you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does. That makes you a winner right there.” Well said, Venus!
12. Randy Moss
In terms of popular culture usage, Randy Moss’s quote from 2005 is one of the most widely used to this day. After he was fined for mooning the crowd in Green Bay, he was asked by reporters in Minnesota how he would be paying the NFL. Moss responded with three words: “Straight cash, homie.”
13. Muhammad Ali
Perhaps no one was more quotable in sports history than Muhammad Ali. The three-time heavyweight champion was as proficient a talker as he was a boxer, uttering countless lines as effortlessly as he moved around the ring, on topics ranging from boxing to race to religion. Perhaps his most impactful statement came in 1970: “I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.”
14. LeBron James
In sports history, there had never been a television special quite like “The Decision.” On ESPN in July of 2010, LeBron James declared to Jim Gray: “I’m taking my talents to South Beach,”joining the Miami Heat in free agency. This sent shockwaves through the NBA, and not only changed the landscape of the league as the Heat won multiple championships, but it also changed the course of how players controlled their own narratives in the media.
When Lou Gehrig was forced to retire from baseball in 1939 after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the sports world was stunned. And yet, two weeks later at Yankee Stadium, Gehrig made one of the most memorable speeches in history, uttering the line, “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Gehrig died two years later, and the disease would often bear his name going forward, but his courage was an inspiration to everyone whose lives were impacted by ALS.
16. Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King knows a thing or two about being a champion—she won 39 Grand Slam titles, and famously beat Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes match in 1973. But King knew that winning didn’t mean you were perfect, and that mentality was encapsulated in one of her most famous quotes: “Champions keep playing until they get it right.”
17. Terrell Owens
Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens always had a way of making the moment bigger whenever he spoke, and usually made that moment revolve all around himself in the process. His main catchphrase was “getcha popcorn ready,” meaning he was going to put on a show on the field. Once in 2007 as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, T.O. brought the quote to life, scoring a touchdown, and then running into the stands to grab a fan’s popcorn cup, before dumping it out through his facemask.
18. Mike Tyson
What made Mike Tyson such a scary boxer wasn’t just his fists—it was his unpredictability in and out of the ring, and that included some of the things he said. The most infamous example of this came in 2000; after beating Lou Savarese in 38 seconds, Tyson went on an epic rant that was aimed squarely at heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, claiming “I want to eat his children.”Tyson would later say he regretted his words, and has spent a long time atoning for the outlandish actions from his younger days.
19. Wayne Gretzky
No, it wasn’t just something Michael Scott said on The Office. Wayne Gretzky really said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” The Great One recalled that everyone from his coaches to his own father, Walter, told him to shoot more. By 1990, he’d heard it a million times, and that’s when he started to internalize it. Gretzky was never the biggest or fastest guy on the ice, and never had the hardest shot, but he said it was his will to score that made the difference for him.
20. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan isn’t just one of the greatest basketball players of all time, he’s also one of the most successful athletes ever. But even MJ understood that the path to success comes from repeated failures, as he said in this unforgettable quote: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 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.” It’s statements like this that have inspired people all over the world to “Be Like Mike.”
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The 20 Phrases of Athletes That Shook the World
What an athlete says can be as profound and meaningful as anything he does while playing the sport that made him famous. These are the best examples of sports stars making a big impact with their words.