John Calipari Quotes to Inspire and Entertain Basketball Fans

On3 imageby:Dan Morrison04/21/22


John Calipari broke into college basketball as the head coach of UMass in 1988. Two things immediately became clear of Calipari: He was going to be an anti-hero, and he was going to win. During Calipari’s time at UMass, he started fights with other coaches, took UMass to the Final Four, and moved on for a shot at the NBA. That didn’t work out, but John Calipari was more than able to jump back to the college ranks at Memphis and later Kentucky. That’s where Calipari still coaches today, having been to the Final Four six times in his career, winning a national championship in 2012.

During his Hall of Fame career, John Calipari has produced plenty of memorable quotes. Here are a few of the best.

10 Best Quotes From John Calipari

  1. “If I walk in a home and a kid disrespects a woman, his mother or grandmother, then I am out… I won’t recruit them.”
  2. “A successful person never loses… they either win or learn.”
  3. “I need people who look at adversity as a challenge and failure as a learning opportunity.”
  4. “It’s not about how far you fall, but how high you rebound.”
  5. “There’s no other state, none, that’s as connected to their basketball program as this one. Because those other states have other programs. Michigan has Michigan State, California has UCLA, and North Carolina has Duke. It’s Kentucky throughout this whole state, and that’s what makes us unique.”
  6. “The guys that make game-winners are the guys that are not afraid to miss them.”
  7. “What do you do to help us win when you’re not scoring baskets?”
  8. “I’m playing the guys who are going to fight. If you’re not into this, I’m going to someone else”
  9. “You have to lose yourself in the team and you have to lose yourself in the game.”
  10. “Enough talking. Let’s ball.”

Inspirational Quotes From Calipari

  • “You’ve gotta learn to love the grind. Because life is the grind.”
  • “Nothing is given to you. You’re going to have to work for it.”
  • “You can be the seventh scorer or the first scorer, just be your best version.”
  • “You don’t have pressure on yourself to have to go nuts.”

Leadership Quotes From John Calipari

  • “Practice gotta be harder than the games and it never is unless you want it to be as a player. The coach can’t drive that.”
  • “The only thing I pay attention to with free throws is what a guy does in the final four minutes of a game. If you can improve players’ self-esteem and confidence, get them to relax, teach visualization and routine, they will shoot as well, or better, with the pressure on.”
  • “I’m a teacher, a motivator. That’s what I do. And I’m a protector on top of that.”

Funny Quotes From Calipari

  • “I know I’m not a saint, but I’m not the guy I’m made out to be by others.”
  • “My friend John Chaney turned 87 today. I know everyone still remembers when I tried to choke him — or wait, did he try to choke me? I can’t remember.”
  • “The people that are around me that give me ideas that I pass along or we try, the one thing I never do, I never give credit to anybody but myself. So, I take all of the ideas. So, everybody thinks that all of the ideas are mine.”

Team Attitude Quotes From John Calipari

  • “You understand, you do not invent stuff on this team. Guys that invent stuff will not play for me. Make the easy play.”
  • “The best teams I’ve had had a little bit of swagger.”
  • “It’s not just about working hard, it’s about working together. You have to care more about the team than you do about yourself”
  • “What type of teammates do you want to play with? Be that teammate yourself.”
  • “You’d better make sure that you know you can make a difference, and if it’s a difference you want to make, is there another way to do the same thing, and what’s the downside? What are the repercussions if I do this? To my career, to my family, whatever else.”

Success Quotes From Calipari

  • “When you’re trying to build or change a culture, what do you do? I always say to take players from state championship teams because they only know one thing — winning.”
  • “How ’bout that? We’re chasing greatness.”
  • “When you’re trying to make somebody the best version of themselves, you have to keep defining that over a period of time because sometimes it changes.”
  • “You better educate yourself. You don’t stand in the front of the line unless you’re up there because you know everything that’s involved.”
  • “A great defensive effort. The one thing we have to do is make it hard for people to beat us. We’re not worried about winning and losing, we just have to make the game hard”