The New List of Most Quotable Sports Stars

Laura DeptaFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2017

The New List of Most Quotable Sports Stars

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    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    Are Michael and Martellus Bennett the most quotable people in sports today?

    It's not like there's a scientific process for determining that, but if there was, the NFL brothers would stand a decent chance of coming out on top. 

    What makes stars quotable, anyway? Well, they're generally unafraid to say what's on their mind. That could be a self-congratulatory statement, an adversarial criticism or just a funny phrase—basically, anything notable. 

    Quotable folks make unique statements on at least a semi-regular basis. These are not one-hit wonders here. Reporters can count on these stars for a sound bite in a pinch.

    There are plenty of quote machines in sports today. There are old-guard guys like Charles Barkley. And there are the LeBron James and Cristiano Ronaldos of the world, who will always be quotable because of their dominance and fame.

    The following 10 athletes and coaches are simply some of the most quotable individuals in sports right now. So when they talk, listen up. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo

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    Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is having a career season—23.4 points per game as of Monday—and he's also produced some rather charming quotes.

    For example, this month, the Greek Freak commented on the situation with All-Star fan voting and said, "I'd have a million votes if everyone could spell my name right," per the Bucks.

    Antetokounmpo is also a well-known lover of smoothies. At a September press conference announcing his new $100 million deal with the Bucks, he said, per the team Twitter account, "After this we are going to go get some smoothies or something."

    Guy is a delight. 

    For some of his early stuff, check out this 2015 interview with Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post. Antetokounmpo revealed his favorite Justin Bieber song ("Sorry") and said if basketball didn't exist, he would be a security guard because, "I don't know. Because I'm really tall." Great stuff. 

P.J. Fleck

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    P.J. Fleck led the Western Michigan Broncos to a 13-1 record in 2016 and accepted the head coaching job at Minnesota in early January.

    Not only was 2016 Fleck's true coming-out party as a football coach, but it also revealed him to be an inspirational quote factory.

    His introductory presser at Minnesota was chock-full of sound bites—we're hoping it was evidence of things to come. Here is a sampling, courtesy of Fox 9:

    • "I eat difficult conversations for breakfast."
    • "I have a crack on my shoulder, not a chip."
    • "If you're going to teach a rivalry, you can’t use Jordan and Bird anymore. They think Jordan's the guy that makes the sneakers. You gotta use Kanye and Drake."
    • "I'm the king of the too's: Too small, too short, too young, too inexperienced. I could go on and on with t-o-o."

    According to David Wharton of the Los Angeles Times, "[Fleck] loves his slogans," and he used the following gems at Western Michigan: "Grow Higher," "Chemis-tree" and "Row the Boat."

Draymond Green

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    Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green says what's on his mind, a hallmark of a great quotable athlete.

    In fact, per Chris Haynes of ESPN.com, Green shared some advice his mother gave him growing up: "You think something, say it. Don't bite your tongue for people."

    Green's own examples are abundant.

    In November, the confident star said, per Haynes, "I think I'm one of the best players in the NBA. Am I going to go out and score 30 every night? Absolutely not. But I didn't say I was one of the best scorers. I think I'm one of the best players, and I think anybody should believe that."

    Green is not afraid to compliment opponents, either. He called Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins the "best big man in the game" in January, per Anthony Slater of the Mercury News.

    And he's not afraid to call out the big guns. After Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James said his team does not have a rivalry with the Warriors, Green said, "Regardless of whether LeBron thinks it's a rivalry or not—they want to beat us," per Rachel Nichols of ESPN.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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    OK, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not exactly new to the notable-quote scene. The Swedish footballer is fairly new to the Premier League, though, so his self-complimentary one-liners have been reaching new audiences. 

    On his time with Paris Saint-Germain, the Manchester United forward said in May, "I came like a king, left like a legend," per the Telegraph's Callum Davis

    In December, the Guardian's Sachin Nakrani reported Ibrahimovic said, "The older I get, the better I get, like red wine. You like red wine? I am a perfect example of that."

    He also addressed critics and said, per the Guardian's Jamie Jackson, "I came to the Premier League and everyone thought it would not be possible but like always I make them eat their balls." (?)

    It's not all self-congratulatory, though. Ibrahimovic also didn't pull punches with this statement about Portuguese star (and longtime quote machine) Cristiano Ronaldo: "It is different because it is the result of hard training. It is not natural," per Goal.com.

Amanda Nunes

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    Amanda Nunes is definitely not the first UFC fighter to make bold statements. (Conor McGregor, anyone?)

    The women's bantamweight champion is a bit of a new kid on the block, however, and her UFC 207 win over Ronda Rousey has only made her quotes more noteworthy.

    Before the Rousey fight, Nunes told Combate (via Adam K. Raymond of Maxim) her opponent was a "weak person." She also commented on the UFC's Rousey-heavy fight promotion and said, per Marc Raimondi of MMAFighting.com, "The UFC wants to make it easier for her. So she doesn't feel like she's not the champion anymore. They want to make her feel like that, that she's not the second [to me]."

    Afterward, she said, "I knew I was going to beat the s--t out of Ronda Rousey," per MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani (NSFW).

    Nunes also makes no secret of her lofty goals. She said in early January, "Maybe I'll go up to fight for the 145-pound belt. We'll see. Maybe I'm going to have two belts like Conor McGregor," per Damon Martin of Fox Sports.

Jim Harbaugh

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    Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh is not new to the sports world, obviously. But some of his recent quotes have been ultra-quirky in a refreshing sort of way.

    For example, in September, he appeared on The Dan Patrick Show and hurled an insult at rival coach Urban Meyer. Upon hearing about the Ohio State coach's alleged preference for 1 percent milk, Harbaugh told Patrick (via Nina Mandell of For the Win), "We refuse to drink the candy-ass skim milk."

    Harbaugh also tweeted his infant son [sic] "crushes over an once of 22 cal. whole milk." (Dude likes milk.)

    In November, he revealed SpongeBob SquarePants to be his favorite animated character and said, per Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press, "I love his attitude, he attacks each day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. I model my behavior by him. What a great employee he is. He is a go-getter, he's always got a bounce in his step. He's got pizzazz, he puts his heart and soul into making those patties."

    In December, he called those Harbaugh-to-the-Los Angeles Rams rumors "lies made up by our enemies," per ESPN's Dan Murphy. Always keeping it interesting.   

Odell Beckham Jr.

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    Odell Beckham Jr. doesn't seem bashful about sharing what's on his mind, whether it's about officiating, personal motivation or Washington cornerback Josh Norman.

    In October, the New York Giants wide receiver said, "I just have to understand if I sneeze the wrong way, it'll be a flag," per Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk.

    After a December loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, he offered, "I don't pay attention to nonsense. It was a horrible call, in my opinion," per James Kratch of NJ.com.

    After catching heat for taking a trip to Miami five days before a playoff game, Beckham told ESPN's Josina Anderson (via Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com), "We were going to [Florida] to get our minds right. That's what we were doing. I handle my business. I'm a grown man. I do what I am supposed to be doing."

    It's not all seriousness with OBJ, though. He also tweeted at Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt about speed training in the offseason.

Joel Embiid

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    Philadelphia 76ers rookie center Joel Embiid is not just making waves on the court—19.7 points and 2.4 blocks in just 25.3 minutes per game as of Monday—he is also providing reporters with quotable material left and right.

    Embiid has long been a supporter of "The Process" in Philly and even said in October, "I really feel like I'm The Process, like The Process is about me," per Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins.

    Clearly, he's a confident guy. In December, he said the following about Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins: "I don't think I'm going to have to wait until he retires to be the best big man in the league," per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    Then again, he also said in January, per James Herbert of CBSSports.com, "…by the end of my career, I want to be a point guard."

    Finally, Embiid is apparently keen to share his romantic aspirations, dating back to his attempted Twitter courtship of Rihanna in 2014.

Michael Bennett

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    Michael and Martellus Bennett are brothers, NFL players and hilarious individuals. In an August piece for ESPN The Magazine by Mina Kimes, Michael (a defensive end for the Seattle Seahawks) had this to say about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: "A--hole. Nah, I'm just joking -- you can't say that. Overpaid."

    He also called Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford "The greatest quarterback in the NFL" and "a real Joe Montana." Sensing sarcasm…

    Michael certainly does not appear to be shy when it comes to his opinions about his employer.

    In December, he commented on celebration fines, per Stephen Cohen of seattlepi.com: "I'm never clear on the NFL rules. Two pumps get you a baby. Three pumps get you a fine."

    In January, he told Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman, "The NFL doesn't want us to be individuals. Look at the NBA; they are allowed to market themselves and think about their life after basketball. The NFL is all about the shield, the shield, the shield."

Martellus Bennett

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    Quotability must run in the family. Michael's brother Martellus Bennett (a tight end for the New England Patriots) is also quite the sound bite machine.

    On other players' reactions to his authenticity, Bennett told ESPN The Magazine's Mina Kimes, "They think it's weird that we're ourselves. I think it's weird that you're trying to be something you're not."

    Martellus, who joined the Patriots in March, had this to say about winning, per Phil Perry of CSNNE.com: "At first it's like, 'Yeah!' It's like the first time having sex. Then the second time, then the third time, it's like, 'Oh yeah, it's pretty cool. I'm getting better at it.' But, you know, it's just really fun. I've just enjoyed playing with these guys and giving everything I've got every single game."

    He also compared his first playoff game to a first date and said, "If she steps in a puddle or you get in a car accident, it's not that great. You have a story to tell your kids if you end up getting married, but you want the first date to go very well," per Kevin Dillon of MassLive.com.