75 Famous Larry Bird Quotes (2023)

Larry Bird quotes

The Ultimate collection of Larry Bird quotes

Larry Joe Bird nicknamed “the Hick from French Lick” and “Larry Legend,” is an American retired professional basketball player who is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

Bird was regarded as the most valuable player of his era, and his fearsome rivalry with Magic Johnson is perhaps the best in NBA history.

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson set the standard for future greats like Michael Jordan, Lebron James and Kobe Bryant.

He is the only player in the history of the NBA who has been named ‘Most Valuable Player,’ ‘Executive of the Year,’ ‘All-Star MVP,’ ‘Rookie of the Year,’ ‘Coach of the Year,’ and ‘NBA Finals MVP.’

12 Best Larry Bird quotes about winning

“A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.” 

“I really don’t like talking about money. All I can say is that the Good Lord must have wanted me to have it.” 

“You’re all playin’ for second place.” 

“The nature of competition is such that any number of people invariably have their eyes on the same prize you do. Recognize your assets and employ them to the best of your ability.” 

“You can make all the excuses you want, but if you’re not mentally tough and you’re not prepared to play every night, you’re not going to win.”

Larry Bird quotes
Larry Bird quotes

“You never make any of the shots you never take. 87% of the ones you do take, you’ll miss too. I make 110% of my shots.”

“I wasn’t real quick, and I wasn’t real strong. Some guys will just take off and it’s like, whoa. So I beat them with my mind and my fundamentals.”

“Once you are labeled ‘the best’ you want to stay up there, and you can’t do it by loafing around.”

Larry Bird quotes
Larry Bird quotes

“Don’t let winning make you soft. Don’t let losing make you quit. Don’t let your teammates down in any situation.” 

“The more you win, the better you’re gonna get. It grows on itself.” 

“My opinion about basketball, the way I was taught, was when you step on the court, you play to win.” 

“My goal was just to try and be the best player on my high school team, and look where I am now. And that was still my goal as a young kid, just to try and be a little better than my brother was.”

12 Motivational quotes from Larry Bird

“My coach told me, “Larry, no matter how much you work at it, there’s always someone out there who’s working just a little harder – if you take 150 practice shots, he’s taking 200.” And that drove me.”

“I’ve got a theory that if you give 100% all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end.”

“I think you have to work very hard and dedicate yourself and have the respect of your teammates before you’re about to go out and just try to take a game over by yourself.”

“Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds.” 

“I don’t know if I practiced more than anybody, but I sure practiced enough. I still wonder if somebody – somewhere – was practicing more than me.” 

“I knew I was as good as anybody. That’s not really bragging; it’s just that I’d put the time in.”

Larry Bird quotes
Larry Bird quotes

“While day by day the overzealous student stores up facts for future use, he who has learned to trust nature finds need for ever fewer external directions. He will discard formula after formula until he reaches the conclusion: Let nature take its course.”

“When I was young, I never wanted to leave the court until I got things exactly correct. My dream was to become a pro.” 

“Guys like Larry Bird — he played so hard, he wants everybody else to play hard. That’s not unreasonable. Any coach would want that and demand that.”

“Who in their right mind wouldn’t listen to what Larry Bird tells them? He knows what it takes to be a successful player, and he’s letting us do the things to have the success.”

“Practice habits were crucial to my development in basketball. I didn’t play against the toughest competition in high school, but one reason I was able to do well in college was that I mastered the fundamentals. You’ve got to have them down before you can even think about playing.” 

“There are many times when you are better off practicing than playing, but most people just don’t understand that.”

12 Basketball quotes from Larry Bird

“Michael Jordan is God disguised as a basketball player.”

“As far as playing, I didn’t care who guarded me – red, yellow, black. I just didn’t want a white guy guarding me, because it’s disrespect to my game.”

“The one thing that always bothered me when I played in the NBA was I really got irritated when they put a white guy on me.”

Larry Bird quotes
Larry Bird quotes

“Basketball was always a game to me. One of the greatest things in life for me was to be able to play what I loved dearly and get paid for it. So it was always a game to me and that’s how I perceived everything.”

“You know when I played, you had me and Kevin (McHale) and some others throughout the league. I think it’s good for a fan base because as we all know the majority of the fans are white America. And if you just had a couple of white guys in there, you might get them a little excited.”

“I mean, the greatest athletes in the world are African-American.”

Larry Bird quotes
Larry Bird quotes

“The best players will play. That’s the way it will always be.” 

“When it gets down to it, basketball is basketball.” 

“I knew I was as good as anybody. That’s not really bragging; it’s just that I’d put the time in.”

“I’ve always been interested in jobs in the NBA. But I’ve been in this for 20 years and it might be time to do something else.”

“The best player I ever played with was Dennis Johnson.” 

“It’s been a journey, the NBA. It’s taken me a lot farther than I ever expected.”

12 Quotes about playing in the NBA

“Before every game I used to go out and shot the same shots over and over and over. In the summer time I spent a lot of time just shooting. So really it just came natural. Whether it’s a tie game or down by 1 or up by five, it was always the same shot. So I always felt comfortable with the ball in my hands because it was in there a million times before.”

“I can see why fans don’t like to watch pro basketball. I don’t, either. It’s not exciting.”

“I always know what’s happening on the court. I see a situation occur, and I respond.” 

“In the closing seconds of every game, I want the ball in my hands for the last shot—not in anybody else’s, not in anybody else’s in the world.” 

“I just shoot until I feel good.” 

But it is a black man’s game, and it will be forever.

Larry Bird quotes
Larry Bird quotes

“The best basketball announcer is one who allows you to close your eyes.”

“I have always been confident in my skills and once the game got going; I knew I was probably the best player on the floor most of the time, whether it was junior high, high school, or college. I knew I had control of the game.” 

“I wanted to compete at the highest level again – and that’s the NBA.”

“When I was a kid, like 14 or 15, I played with the waiters from the hotel, ’cause that was the best game. And these guys, they’d let me play. And they were black guys.” 

“It makes me sick when I see a guy just stare at a loose ball and watch it go out of bounds.” 

“When I go to the line, I’m thinking ‘All net.’ When I don’t think that, I’m likely to miss.”

11 Larry Bird quotes about himself and leadership

“Leadership is diving for a loose ball, getting the crowd involved, getting other players involved. It’s being able to take it as well as dish it out. That’s the only way you’re going to get respect from the players.” 

“Leadership is getting players to believe in you. If you tell a teammate, you’re ready to play as tough as you’re able to, you’d better go out there and do it. Players will see right through a phony. And they can tell when you’re not giving it all you’ve got.” 

“I’ve been around a while. I kinda know these things.” 

“Anytime you’ve got an opportunity to play for your country and win a gold medal, I think that takes it all. That’s the greatest thing you could ever achieve in your sport. So, I have been very fortunate to play on great teams, but the gold medal was probably the best.

“I’m a loner.”

Larry Bird quotes
Larry Bird quotes

“I like being by myself.”

“It doesn’t matter who scores the points, it’s who can get the ball to the scorer.” 

“I think a lot of blue-collar people related to me because a lot of people work for their money.” 

“When I was a player, I didn’t expect my teammates to play the way I did. I did expect them to work hard every day and get better. And I never learned anything by losing.” 

“I was always making decisions, and they were easier decisions because I had control of the game, I had control of the ball. As a coach, you sort of put the ball in other player’s hands and let them make decisions for you. But I still get a kick out of winning basketball games, and that’s what I’m in this for.”

“Coaches can talk and talk and talk about something, but if you get it on tape and show it to them, it is so much more effective.”

16 Random Larry Bird quotes

“When I was a kid, I never thought about anything. Never had to think about where I was going to school or what I was going to do. I just lived minute to minute.” 

“What’s better? Dogs or broomsticks? I mean, will the world really ever know?” 

“If there was a payment to the bank due, and we needed shoes, she’d get the shoes, and then deal with them guys at the bank. I don’t mean she wouldn’t pay the bank, but the children always came first.”

“It’s unbelievable. But I’ve never been to a pro football game. I’ve never been to a pro hockey game, either.”

“My name’s been on this check for a week now.”

Larry Bird quotes
Larry Bird quotes

“In the late seventies and early eighties, the home NBA team was required to provide the road team with a case of cold beer in the locker room after each game.”

“I used to love the feeling of running, of running too far. It made my skin tingle.” 

“I think a lot of blue collar people related to me because a lot of people work for their money.”

“I don’t think that once you get to one level, you can relax. You’ve got to keep pushing.”

“I hate to lose more than I like to win.”

Larry Bird quotes
Larry Bird quotes

“First master the fundamentals.”

“Eminem. My son was listening to that and I was like, “What is that junk?” Then I started listening, and I thought, You know, that kid is pretty good. It’s the storytelling.” 

“I learned what my weaknesses were and I went out the next day to turn those weaknesses intro strengths.”

“Strength is not nearly as important as desire. I don’t think you can teach anyone desire. I think it’s a gift. I don’t know why I have it, but I do.” 

“I’m a firm believer that you play the way you practice.” 

“Basketball has been my life and I worked at it so hard because I enjoyed it so much.”