11 Inspirational Michael Jordan Quotes: Win at Any Cost

American legend Michael Jordan is best known for being (one of the) top basketball players of all time, redefining what it means to be an NBA superstar athlete. Even though Michael Jordan hung up his basketball sneakers for good following the 2002-03 season, he continues to inspire and influence millions around the world. Apart from his stellar performance on the court, the basketball champion has become known for his quotes on winning and striving for your goals. 

Here are some of the best Michael Jordan quotes of all time to inspire and motivate you. 

"My mentality was to go out and win, at any cost." – Michael Jordan

When it comes to winning, there is no one quite as competitive as Michael Jordan. This quote is from the NBA superstar’s 2020 documentary – The Last Dance – where Jordan expresses that he would do whatever it takes to achieve a clear goal he set out for himself. But while winning is, of course, a good thing, we need to make sure we aren’t sacrificing other things that matter in the process; our relationships, families, health, and wellbeing. 

"I can accept failure; everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying." – Michael Jordan

Even the best fail sometimes, and that is the point Michael Jordan is trying to drive home with this quote from his 1994 book titled I Can’t Accept Not Trying: Michael Jordan on the Pursuit of Excellence. He reinforces the fact that there is no shame in failing at things we’ve given our all to because we have put all our efforts in. Even the top athletes in the world have faced losses. The real failure comes in not trying. Failure is unavoidable, but not trying is inexcusable. 

"I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed." – Michael Jordan

This quote from Nike Culture: The Sign of the Swoosh (1998) reinforces that there is no greatness without failure. The star NBA player went on to mention that he had missed over 9,000 shots and lost almost 300 games during his career. This goes to show that in order to become excellent you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone, take risks and learn from your inevitable mistakes. 

"Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen." – Michael Jordan

This quote illustrates the different types of people in the world, and what actions separate the mediocre of us from the champions. Michael Jordan aims to motivate us to get into action, push past our excuses and to turn our dreams into a reality. Nothing in life comes easy, and in order to succeed, you have to work hard to make things happen.

"Never say never. Because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion." – Michael Jordan

The only thing that limits us is our own limiting beliefs. In Michael Jordan’s 2009 Hall of Fame induction address, he ends his speech with this inspiring quote, in response to the audience’s laughter when he says he might well still be playing basketball in his 50s. Though we might think we are unable, the only limits that really exist are the ones we impose upon ourselves. 

"You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them." – Michael Jordan

In other words, if you don’t believe you can achieve something, you’re setting your own limits that will lead to your downfall. Essentially, you are setting yourself up for failure before you’ve even started. Get out of your own way and believe that the things you’re reaching for are attainable, and you’re already halfway there. 

"I built my talents on the shoulders of someone else’s talent." – Michael Jordan

In his 1998 autobiography, For the Love of the Game, Michael Jordan states that he would not be Michael Jordan without the talent of all the other greats who came before him. The same applies to all of us. We learn and evolve from the other successful athletes, businesspersons, and actors that came before us. Success is replicable.  

"My attitude is that if you push me toward something you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength." – Michael Jordan 

You’ve probably heard the saying "if someone tells you that you can’t do something, do it anyway." Michael Jordan’s quote on turning weakness into strength goes along those same lines. The champion NBA player’s competitive nature and mindset let him turn something negative into a positive. Even if you are being pushed towards your “weaknesses,” it’s never too late to learn from them and turn it into the best strength you have. 

"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships." – Michael Jordan

We can only go so on our own but surrounded by the right people, we can achieve things that we wouldn’t have been able to solo. With this quote from his 1994 book I Can’t Accept Not Trying, Michael Jordan reminds us that without others supporting us, it would be much harder to get where we want to be. The basketball legend himself wouldn’t have gotten where he is today without his team beside him. 

"Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation." – Michael Jordan

Sometimes all we need is a change in perspective, and that could make all the difference in what we get out of a situation. Michael Jordan’s mantra of turning a negative situation into a positive one is what has helped the NBA athlete stay upbeat, even through the toughest of times. Whether we choose to learn from our mistakes or let them weigh us down, it’s how we react to curveballs that define us, rather than the curveball itself. 

"If you quit once it becomes a habit. Never quit!" – Michael Jordan 

The NBA superstar is known for his relentless competitive edge and refusal to quit in the face of adversity. This is another habit that sets successful people apart from those who gave up too early. Michael Jordan inspires us to keep going, even when times are tough. Only those who go the extra mile will be rewarded. As the saying goes, winners never quit, and quitters never win! 


Michael Jordan became world-famous because of his drive to win. However, although his famous quote states "win at any cost", we shouldn’t lose sight of all other things that matter in the process. If you want to be the best, you do have to make sacrifices, however, winning at the cost of everything else will take away from the experience. Maybe the quote should read as "win at almost any cost" – but it just doesn’t have the same ring to it! 

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