36 of the funniest sports one-liners of all time

Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) smiles for the camera after he knocked out Archie Moore in the fourth round of a November 1962 bout.

The Stanley Weston Archive/Getty Images

Sports are such a great metaphor for life because they have it all: drama, tragedy, redemption, failure, heroics, underdogs, villains, and if you’re paying attention, a lot of humor. Some of it’s intentional while other times the comedy just happens.

Humor is subjective but if you don’t get at least a few laughs from this list you ought to have your pulse checked.

— Former NBA Players Association president Patrick Ewing, making the case for players during the 1998-99 lockout.

— Muhammad Ali on his golfing abilities.

Ewing as he entered a bargaining session with the NBA in November 1998.

— Former English national soccer team striker Ian Wright, gently offering perspective on David Beckham’s sending-off against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup.

— Baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson on whether he talks to himself.

— Shaquille O’Neal after signing a 7-year, $121 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1996.

— A hockey fan responding sarcastically to Paul’s outburst.

— Yogi Berra.

— Former Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy’s response to a Jeremy Roenick slight during the 1996 Western Conference finals.


— College basketball color analyst Bill Raftery reacting to forward Jerome Lane’s massive, backboard-shattering dunk during a 1988 Pittsburgh-Providence game.

— Former Florida and South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier, a frequent SEC needler, on schedule-making and Georgia.

— One of longtime Pittsburgh Penguins announcer Mike Lange’s catch phrases.

— Former 340-pound Chicago Bears defensive tackle (and occasional running back) William “The Refrigerator” Perry, explaining his size and growth.

— Legendary North Carolina State head basketball Jim Valvano, inquiring about the rulebook after arguing a call with official Hank Nichols. Nichols was so amused he let the insult slide.  

— Coors Light-sponsored NASCAR driver Sterling Marlin reflecting on a 21st place finish in 2002.

Luciano arguing with Weaver in 1978.

— Steffi Graf responding to a marriage proposition from a fan during a Wimbledon match in 1996.

— Rasheed Wallace in 2003 after the Trail Blazers staved off elimination in a Game 4 win over the Mavericks in their first-round series.

— The Chicago Bulls’ Scottie Pippen to Karl “The Mailman” Malone before the Utah Jazz big man attempted crucial free throws late in Game 1 of the 1997 NBA Finals, which was played on a Sunday. Malone smirked, shrugged and then missed them both.

— Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach John McKay, after one of the team’s losses in its inaugural (and winless) 1976 season, responding to a question about the team’s execution.

Berra of the New York Yankees poses for a Spring Training portrait circa the early 1950’s in St. Petersburg, Florida.

— Welterweight underdog Nate Diaz after he submitted Conor McGregor with a rear naked chokehold in the main event at UFC 196.

— San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana to his huddled teammates before leading the team on a 92-yard touchdown drive in the final minutes of Super Bowl XXIII.

— Catcher A.J. Pierzynski, then of the Red Sox, to umpire Quinn Wolcott after an opposing batter drew a walk.

— Truck stop and convenience store magnate Judy Love, sitting courtside at a Thunder-Cavaliers game in February 2016, while LeBron James argued with an official.  

— Knicks guard Michael Ray Richardson to a group of reporters as the Knicks collapsed down the stretch in 1982.

— More Yogi Berra.

— More of Muhammad Ali, talking about The Greatest’s greatness.

— Tennis legend Pete Sampras, describing his polite on-court demeanor.

— Kobe Bryant describing what winning a fifth NBA title in 2010 meant to him individually.

— Tennis great Martina Hingis when asked about a rivalry with Anna Kournikova in the late ’90s.

— Former Devils head coach Jim Schoenfeld during a tirade against official Don Koharski after Game 3 of the Wales Conference Finals in 1988.  

— MLB legend Lou Piniella on the trouble with relying purely on numbers.

— An announcer’s sad but funny reaction to the unfortunate denouement — a last-second loss on a kickoff return touchdown — after the Plano East high school team football rallied from down 41-17 against John Tyler in 1994.


Billy Martin.