Issue 76: Say What?! Basketball’s Finest Quotes

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Issue 76: Say What?! Basketball’s Finest Quotes

About three years ago, journalist Laura Ingraham told LeBron James and Kevin Durant to “shut up and dribble” — among a few other things — in one of the smuggest segments I’ve ever seen.

Ingraham’s point was that basketball players (or any athletes, really) shouldn’t get to voice their opinions on politics because…they weren’t voted into office? I’m not sure what her thesis was.

James responded with a few solid quotes, saying Ingraham’s comments helped bring more awareness to social injustice, especially since she did it during the NBA’s All-Star weekend.

James also added: “I had no idea who she is … until now. So she won in that case.”

I’m glad basketball players speak their mind, because we get some fantastic moments as a result.

Here are seven of my favorite quotes from ballers across the country.

“I’m a worrier, an overthinker, and — if it’s your type of thing — a 3x WNBA champion.” — Sue Bird

Perhaps my favorite part about this quote is that it’s not even true anymore — Bird is now a four-time WNBA champion after the Seattle Storm won the 2020 title.

But the relatability is key, here, too. I worry and overthink sometimes, as do many people. Bird shows she’s not above us.

Since she said this after championship number three, Bird has gone on to play the most games in WNBA history (at 519 and counting). She’s also the league’s all-time assists leader and got engaged to Megan Rapinoe in October 2020.

I rewatched the Parks and Rec special episode (filmed during quarantine) for an upcoming episode of Parks n Wrecked; according to the show, Rapinoe is one of three people designated a “super-healer,” along with Chris Traeger and a panther at the zoo.

That doesn’t really have anything to do with this quote, but I thought it was funny.

“I have nothing against old people. I want to be one myself one day.” — Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley is a gold mine for quotes because he’s clever enough to respond quickly on the fly but he’s also unafraid of the consequences of saying…well, anything.

He’s called former NBA player Sam Cassell Gollum, he asked notable Clippers fan Billy Crystal how he didn’t become a Lakers fan like “all the other phony celebrities,” and he suspects there’s only one person that has ever lived in Finland (former NBA player Hanno Möttölä).

But this jab is among the best. Before his race with former NBA official Dick Bavetta, Barkley dropped a gem.

He’s still got about ten years before he’s the same age Bavetta was when they raced, but Sir Charles has his barometer of “old” in sight!

“Don’t make excuses. Make your free throws.” — Elena Delle Donne

I went down a rabbit hole of watching cool buzzer beaters the other day, and there was a recurring theme among them.

No, it wasn’t that a shot went in before the buzzer (though that happened too, because, you know, it’s the name of the type of shot).

It was players missing their free throws.

All too often, a team would be at the line with a two-point lead. They’d miss one or two free throws and the other team would get a chance — a chance they would not squander.

This quote would be funnier if Elena Delle Donne was terrible at free throws. Instead, it’s inspirational.

Delle Donne has made 93.8 percent of her free throws throughout her career. And that number jumps to 95.1 percent in the playoffs. She ain’t leaving any games up in the air.

I also find it delightful that Delle Donne went to Delaware for college. That just rolls off the tongue so nicely.

Reporter: “Why do you shoot so many threes?” Antoine Walker: “Because there are no fours.”

I covered more about Antoine Walker in a recent issue, but this quote makes me smile every time.

I remember the old NBA Jam TE video game had a feature where you could turn “hot spots” on, and suddenly you had the ability to make baskets worth anywhere from four to nine points if you stood on said spot.

It’s a cool feature and maybe we’ll see it implemented some day. Until then, keep chucking away, Antoine.

“Dribble till you can’t see anymore. Then turn on the lights.” — Diana Taurasi

Watch any Diana Taurasi highlight reel and you’ll see three things: deft dribbling, phenomenal passing, and a savagery to be the best player on the court.

This quote nicely summarizes why Taurasi has had such an illustrious career with the Phoenix Mercury. She’s tenacious and works hard to be great.

I remember both enjoying and hating dribbling drills growing up. But literally every player has to dribble at some point in a game, and if you can’t do it well, you might not hold onto the ball very long.

Taurasi doesn’t have to worry about that, though. Taller people surrounding her? No worries, she’ll go through them. Smaller guards trying to poke the ball away? She’ll spin around them.

No defender at all? Well, you still gotta dribble to the basket. And Taurasi handles it all with her hot handles.

See, because good dribbling is called handles, and that was some fun wordplay we just did there. What a good time. Anyway, here’s the next quote.

“We would say, ‘Hey, we’re gonna win something tonight. We’re either gonna win the game or the fight.’” — Greg Anthony

When Greg Anthony says this quote during the Winning Time ESPN 30 for 30 film, he’s talking about the 90s rivalry between the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers.

Those games were always heated, but they were also aided by moments like Reggie Miller scoring eight points in nine seconds.

But the real reason I like this quote? It brings up shades of another Knicks fight, this one with the Miami Heat.

It’s still the only time I’ve ever seen a coach (then-Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy) grab onto a player’s leg (then-Heat center Alonzo Mourning) and hang on for dear life. It’s wonderful.

“I think it was bigger people in the world before us, and, like, the dinosaurs were their pets.” — Jordan Clarkson

During an episode of the Road Trippin’ podcast, Cavs sideline reporter Allie Clifton mentioned how the Cavs’ DJ Montage doesn’t believe in Elvis or dinosaurs.

Clarkson responded that he doesn’t believe in dinosaurs either. He then clarified that he does, but thinks they were pets for humans, which means that people were “three times bigger than them [the dinosaurs].”

Perhaps the best part of the exchange is when DJ Montage asks where the bones for such enormous humans might be, and Clarkson simply replies, “mmhm.”

I also love this quote because it reminds me of Da’Sean Butler’s short story that he released on Twitter and then someone turned into an animated video. In fact, let’s watch that video together right now:

Other Reads and Watches

Kyle Lowry is receiving an honorary doctorate and is already hamming it up

A very cute hug between DeMar DeRozan and his two former coaches

Joel Embiid almost made the most ridiculous full-court shot to tie the game

Miles Bridges has never met a dunk he doesn’t like

That’s all ’til next time. Thanks for reading!


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