Breaking Down the Best Sports Quotes of All Time

Sports are ridiculous most of the time.

Everyone loves March Madness even though college basketball is the most corrupt competition in the world not named the Olympics or Tour de France or anything from Russia.

The point of March Madness is not even to crown the best basketball team, it's just to provide entertainment--mostly for gamblers!

But deep down, if you peel away all the ways that men have ruined sports, there's still something magical in there.

A wise man once said that sports show us human excellence. And it shows us right in our faces. We can see how great we can be.  

So I thought it would be worthwhile to break down one of the great sports quotes of all time. Great quotes lead to inspiration which leads to amazing athletic feats which lead to more inspiration, and the virtuous circle continues.

Here's one of the best quotes ever and also the breakdown on why it's so good.

Quote: "Nothing." -Rafa Nadal

Why It's Great: This quote came right after the greatest tennis match ever played. Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer were playing at Wimbledon, which was Federer's best surface and Nadal's ultimate dream.

Nadal was already the king of clay; beating Federer at the biggest tournament in the world on supposedly his worst surface would be a monumental achievement, to say the least.

And Nadal had played brilliantly. So brilliantly that he held match point in the fourth set tiebreak. (Just listen to the crowd in this tiebreak. Incredible.) 

First, Nadal had fought off a set point from Federer, and then he lost his own match point, only to get back to match point once again.

The drama, the tension, the crowd, his effort; all his dreams right at his fingertips. 

And then a lightning bolt from Zeus in the form of Federer's backhand laser down the line took it all away in a flash. Seconds later Federer claimed the set. Nadal's dreams were on hold. We were going to a fifth and deciding set.

In the press room after the match, Nadal was asked by reporters about that moment.

What was it like, Rafa, to see all your dreams slip away? What were you thinking going into that fifth set?

"Nothing."

Amazing.

You can read about zen or persistence or any self-help book ever published and never read anything wiser than Nadal's one word response.

To achieve greatness, we must meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same. Maybe one enlightened person in a thousand can actually do it. The rest of us don't even know how to attempt it. 

But Nadal showed us how.

If we can take all the good and all the bad, and then discard it and move on, we can achieve excellence beyond our dreams. 

Nadal, of course, won that fifth set.

Now, any tennis historian worth their salt would point out that Federer was the better player that day. He dominated the early sets and somehow gave them both to Nadal. Had he won either of those sets (or had the idiotic tournament directors decided to do the right thing and stop making them play in darkness!), Federer would have come out on top.

But that doesn't change the power of Nadal's quote. Either way, Nadal showed why he might be the best competitor of all time in any sport. 

If we can see our dreams dashed and still carry on with full effort, our lives will be better.

As Nadal showed, thinking nothing will make us become something.

My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.