I find some sports quotes just as poetic as some of my favorite poems. By "poetic," I don't mean "inspirational." Actually most of the quotes I'm interested in tend to be considered more infamous than inspirational. By "poetic," I mean there is something about the arrangement of the words that makes that quote memorable, lasting. I have always wanted to edit a (small) book of poetic sports quotes. This project stems from all the hours I used to spend watching espn, espn2, espn news, and espn classic. Since I will probably never actually carry out that editorial project, I wanted to share my top fvie quotes.

5. ""This is what's great about sports. This is what the greatest thing about sports is. You play to win the game. Hello? You play to win the game. You don't play it to just play it. That's the great thing about sports: you play to win, and I don't care if you don't have any wins. You go play to win. When you start tellin' me it doesn't matter, then retire. Get out! 'Cause it matters."."--Herman Edwards


Iverson: "If I can't practice, I can't practice. It is as simple as that. It ain't about that at all. It's easy to sum it up if you're just talking about practice. We're sitting here, and I'm supposed to be the franchise player, and we're talking about practice. I mean listen, we're sitting here talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, but we're talking about practice. Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game last it's my last but we're talking about practice man. How silly is that?

Now I know that I'm supposed to lead by example and all that but I'm not shoving that aside like it don't mean anything. I know it's important, I honestly do but we're talking about practice. We're talking about practice man. (laughter from the media crowd) We're talking about practice. We're talking about practice. We're not talking about the game. We're talking about practice. When you come to the arena, and you see me play, you've seen me play right, you've seen me give everything I've got, but we're talking about practice right now. (more laughter)

Reporter: "But it's an issue that your coach continues to raise?"

Iverson: "Hey I hear you, it's funny to me too, hey it's strange to me too but we're talking about practice man, we're not even talking about the game, when it actually matters, we're talking about practice."


Bobby Knight: "When my time on earth is gone, and my activities here are passed, I want they bury me upside down, and my critics can kiss my ass!"


Q: How inspirational was that to your great performance, when Willis hit those first two shots?

Walt Frazier: Well, Willis set the tempo. He made the first two shots, and that was it. When he did that, we said, "Yea! The Captain is ready!" Half of Willis Reed is better than anybody else we could put out there. So I remember Bill Bradley just telling him that. "Hey Willis, if you could walk, man, that will be enough." So he provided the inspiration. And in a way, I provided the devastation. But in that game -- perhaps my best game as a player considering what was on the line, a championship -- 36 points, 19 assists, seven rebounds, three or four steals. But entering that game, I never said to myself that I had to score. I was thinking I had to rebound. I just let it happen, I let the game come to me. Normally, Holzman was telling me to hit the open man, but this particular game, I was the open man. If I came off a screen, nobody was guarding me.


When asked if he was guilty of a hand ball fault when he scored one of the goals in the Championship game versus England in the 1986 World Cup, Maradona responded that he scored the goal "un poquito con la cabeza de Maradona y un poquito con la mano de Dios".

Originally Published: April 24th, 2010

Javier O. Huerta's debut collection Some Clarifications y otros poemas (Arte Publico 2007) received the 31st Chicano/Latino Literary Prize from UC Irvine. He is also the author of American Copia (2012). A graduate of the Bilingual MFA Program at UT El Paso, Huerta is currently a PhD student in the...