Michael Jordan isn’t just the GOAT of basketball (commence debate), but, low key, he may also be basketball’s GOAT of motivational quotes. The 6-time NBA champion, 5-time NBA MVP, 14-time NBA All-Star, NBA defensive player of the year, 9-time NBA defensive first-teamer, 6-time NBA Finals MVP, and on and on, has, over the last four decades, served up inspirational advice to fuel your next workout, whether on the hardwood or in the squat rack. These are Michael Jordan’s best motivational quotes.

michael jordan motivational quotes

“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.”

“I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

“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.”

“The minute you get away from fundamentals—whether it’s proper technique, work ethic or mental preparation—the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, your job, whatever you’re doing.”

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

michael jordan motivation
Tongue out, Motivation Up / Jason H. Smith / Flickr Creative Commons

“I’ve never lost a game. I just ran out of time.”

“You have competition every day because you set such high standards for yourself that you have to go out every day and live up to that.”

“Heart is what separates the good from the great.”

“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.”

“I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot. When you think about the consequences you will always think of the negative result.”

michael jordan motivational quotes
Vintage MJ

“I know fear is an obstacle for some people, but it’s an illusion to me. Failure always made me try harder the next time.”

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”

“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!”

“Winning has a price, and leadership has a price. So I pulled people on when they didn’t want to be pulled and I challenged people when they didn’t want to be challenged. And I earned that right because my teammates came after me. They didn’t endure the things that I endured. You ask all my teammates, the one thing about Michael Jordan was he never asked me to do something that he didn’t f**king do. When people see this, they’re going to say, ‘Well, he wasn’t really a nice guy. He may have been a tyrant.’ Well, that’s you, because you’ve never won anything. Look I don’t have to do this (The Last Dance documentary). I’m only doing this because it is who I am. That’s how I played the game. That was my mentality. If you don’t want to play that way, don’t play that way.”

“Learning’s a gift, even when pain is your teacher.”

“Sometimes you need to get hit in the head to realize that you’re in a fight.”

michael jordan motivation quotes
Statue of Jordan outside the United Center, Chicago, Illinois / Wally Gobetz

“Everybody has talent, but ability takes hard work.”

“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.”

“You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.”

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