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Bob Knight Quotes

Robert Montgomery Knight

Bob Knight quotes: on winning vs. losing, coaching vs. teaching, preparing vs. hoping and more.

“You are never going to be driven anywhere worthwhile, but you sure as hell drive yourself to a lot of great places.  It is up to you to drive yourself there.”

“The key is not the will to win.  Everybody has that.  It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”

“Winning is a difficult proposition.  Who among us does everything consistently well?”

“Discipline is knowing what to do.  Knowing when to do it.  Doing it to the best of your abilities.  Doing it that way every single time.  Four things.  It’s not a whip and a chair, it’s those four ingredients that make a disciplined person.”

“Superiority and success doesn’t favor good effort or self-esteem.  The mentally precise and physically fit win, while the mediocre and obtuse take solace in hopeful cliches.”

“Practice structure determines success.”

“You play ball against yourself; your opponent is your potential.”

“I don’t believe in luck, I believe in preparation.”

“We should not have to push you to work hard, you should work hard because you want to be a great player.”

“In order to achieve positive results, one must work for them, not hope for them.  Positive results don’t happen simply because we believe they’re going to happen.  It’s a lot better to work and plan for something than just to hope for it.”

“Positive wish: ‘The sun will come out tomorrow.’  Negative reality: ‘Yeah, and it will flash brand-new daylight on the same old mess unless something is done to clean it up.'”

“Failure, to me, is not having the desire to try.  Having the desire to try is in its own way success.”

“Learn to do things right and then do them right every time.”

“Losing has always been far more difficult to deal with than the enjoyment you get out of winning.  Winning is really important—winning fairly, squarely within the rules, but winning.  Winning is a byproduct of doing things right.  Too many people get caught up in the euphoria of winning, rather than just accepting it as what the hell you’re supposed to do.  On the other hand, losing is not what you’re supposed to do.  The disappointment, the frustration, the agony of losing is infinitely greater than whatever comes with winning.”

“Winning.  I think, what more can you want than having completed a task, played a game, where you have won?  What better feeling can you have than having done something that has not just benefited you, but has benefited your team?  I think there’s a tremendous reward in simply being successful.  But the key is, how do you become successful?”

“I think that it’s perhaps harder to learn from victory than it is from defeat.  I think that we don’t want defeat.  We don’t want defeat in sport.  We don’t want defeat in life.  How are we going to be beaten?  All right.  We have to deal with those things.  Let’s address those things that are going to bring about a loss, rather than simply those things that are going to bring about a victory.”

“Your biggest opponent isn’t the other guy.  It’s human nature.”

“BS is just what it stands for, and MS is More of the Same, and a PhD is Piled Higher and Deeper.”

“Everybody hears, but few listen.”

“All of us learn to write in the second grade.  Most of us go on to greater things.”

“The biggest difficulty in getting to the top of the ladder is getting through the crowd at the bottom.”

“Good planning avoids the need for fixing up a project that plowed ahead without thought about potential pitfalls.”

“It is better to anticipate than to react.”

“I’ve always had an ass-to-the-brain theory.  When a player’s ass gets put on the bench, a message goes straight to the brain saying, ‘Get me off of here.'”

“I don’t think I have ever been out of control.”

“I, fortunately, have never worried about irritating people.”

“Defense is all about helping.  You have to walk kids through how to help and then how to help the helper.”

“A coach should never be afraid to ask questions of anyone he could learn from.”

“I’ve never felt my job was to win basketball games.  Rather, that the essence of my job as a coach was to do everything I could to give my players the background necessary to succeed in life.”

“I would rather be thought of as a teacher than a coach.  I’m a teacher.  My mother was a teacher.  I spent 40 years as a teacher.”

“A primary goal of teaching anything is the advantage that learning gives to people over their competitors who haven’t been as well taught.”

“The best teachers I’ve known are intolerant people.  They don’t tolerate mistakes.”

“I’ve never predicted anything.  All I have ever said is, that we will do the very best we can.”

“I think the ability to motivate might be interpreted as the ability to lead, or to show people their goals or, perhaps more important, what their potential is—as a person as well as a player.  You’ve got to show players that being part of a team will carry over to the experience of becoming part of society.”

“I think that we as a people are always prone to think about, well, tomorrow will be a better day.  Well, why will it be a better day?  And I think the more that we believe in doing things better, doing the right thing rather than hoping that that’s going to happen… let’s make it happen.”

“My dad was a very quiet person, and unbelievably tough.  But my grandmother gave me my first look at negative thinking to bring about positive results.  When I was just a little guy, anytime I came to my grandmother and said I wish for this or that, Grandma would say, ‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.'”

“Everybody has an opportunity in America.  I don’t care if guys whine and complain about this or that.  You know, no country affords its inhabitants the opportunities that the USA gives to its people.”

“I just want to thank you for the opportunity that I had to coach.  It will always be something that I will cherish.”

“From the time I started teaching, when I was 21, I’ve always signed my name Bob Knight.  My college coach called me Bobby, still does.  But I have never introduced myself to anybody in my adult life in any way other than, ‘I’m Bob Knight.'”

“You remember when you were a kid growing up, and believed in Santa Claus?  There’s not much difference between Santa Claus and me today, you know.  We’re two overweight lovable guys that kids really enjoy.”

“When my time on earth is gone, and my activities here are passed, I want them to bury me upside down, and my critics can kiss my ass!”

Related: Coach K quotes.

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