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Sports >  National sports

You don’t say? A look back at some of the funniest quotes in sports history

UPDATED: Mon., Jan. 18, 2021

By Howie Stalwick For The Spokesman-Review

Life in the United States has not been a barrel of laughs in recent months. As a distraction, we’ve compiled 50 of the funniest quotes in sports history.

We’ve divided the quotes into 10 categories. Subtle grins, sly smirks and/or outright guffaws are permitted.

Basketball

George Raveling, referring to the isolated location of Pullman, where he once coached the Washington State men: “My last season there was reviewed in ‘Field and Stream’ (magazine).”

Elden Campbell, NBA journeyman, asked if he earned a degree at Clemson: “No, but they gave me one anyway.”

Caldwell Jones, Philadelphia 76ers center, listing his favorite seafood: “Saltwater taffy.”

Leon Wood, New Jersey Nets guard, introducing himself to sportscaster Steve Albert: “Are you any relation to your brother Marv?”

James Caan, actor, questioning the academic prowess of three recruits of controversial Fresno State men’s coach Jerry Tarkanian (a friend of Caan): “He asked the first player, ‘What is three times three?’ The first player said, ‘Tuesday.’ The second player said, ‘111.’ Tark was distraught. The third said, ‘Nine.’ Tark was delighted and asked the player how he got it: ‘I just subtracted 111 from Tuesday.’”

Football

Bryan Millard, Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman, describing the vicious tackles of teammate Fredd Young: “I would rather sandpaper a bobcat’s butt in a phone booth than be tackled by Fredd.”

Don Fambrough, Kansas Jayhawks coach: “You can’t really tell anything from spring practice. It’s like having your daughter come in at 4 o’clock in the morning with a Gideon bible.”

Lou Holtz, Arkansas Razorbacks coach, after fans pelted the field with oranges to celebrate the Razorbacks’ pending trip to the Orange Bowl: “I’m glad we’re not going to the Gator Bowl.”

Duane Thomas, Dallas Cowboys running back, bragging about his IQ: “A perfect 20/20.”

Gary Darnell, Tennessee Tech coach, summarizing his team’s 0-11 season: “Our kicker only had one bad day last year – Saturday.”

Baseball

Rocky Bridges, a former major league infielder and coach who lived in Coeur d’Alene, describing his new diet: “You mix two jiggers of Scotch to one jigger of Metrecal. So far I’ve lost five pounds and my driver’s license.”

Don Drysdale, legendary Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, after the team plane was forced to make an emergency landing: “There wasn’t too much of a delay. We only had to change a spark plug and 30 pairs of shorts.”

Dick Pole, a onetime Seattle Mariners pitcher and coach who dealt with harsh weather conditions much of the year while growing up on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, asked what local residents do in the summer: “If it falls on a Saturday, we have a picnic.”

Tito Fuentes, veteran major league infielder, after being brushed back by a pitch: “They shouldn’t throw at me. I’m the father of five or six children.”

Yogi Berra, New York Yankees icon, asked if nude “streakers” who ran across the field were men or women: “I don’t know; they had bags over their heads.”

Boxing

Marlon Starling, discussing a proposed fight with Lloyd Honeyghan: “I’ll fight him for nothing if the price is right.”

Irving Rudd, promoter, told that bombastic sportscaster Howard Cosell is his own worst enemy: “Not while I’m alive.”

Gil Clancy, TV analyst, informed that boxer Howard Davis is a vegetarian: “I don’t care what religion he is, if he doesn’t get moving, he’s going to lose this fight.”

Jake LaMotta, former world middleweight champion, explaining why his first wife divorced him: “She said I clashed with the drapes.”

Murad Muhammad, promoter, discussing a potential fight in Venezuela: “That’s the Italian city with the guys in the boats, right?”

Hockey

Babe Pratt, Hall of Fame defenseman, explaining why he attended a sports banquet instead of his mother-in-law’s funeral: “Business before pleasure.”

Garth Butcher, trying to goad fellow NHL enforcer Stu Grimson into a fight: “Why did your parents name you Stu? Couldn’t they spell Stupid?”

Pat Burns, NHL coach, referring to the flat terrain of Winnipeg, Manitoba: “It’s the only town where you can watch your dog run away for three days.”

Yogi Henderson, Western Hockey League referee, explaining why he decided not to watch the movie “Apollo 13”: “I didn’t watch the first 12, so why should I see this one?”

Dennis Hull, former NHL star: “My wife said, ‘What would you do if something happened to me?’ I said, ‘I’d try to beat the rap.’ ”

Golf

Jimmy Demaret, paired with comedian Bob Hope in a pro-am: “Bob has a beautiful short game. Unfortunately, it’s off the tee.”

Chi Chi Rodriguez, bemoaning his Spanish accent: “I asked my caddie for a sand wedge, and 10 minutes later he came back with a ham on rye.”

Craig Stadler, explaining why he was using a new putter: “The old one didn’t float well.”

Roger Maltie, asked what he needed to shoot to win the Andy Williams Open: “The rest of the field.”

John Daly, complaining about one of his college classes: “All those fiction stories – half of ’em aren’t even true.”

Sportscasters

Ron Fairly, San Francisco Giants broadcaster (and a former Seattle Mariners broadcaster and Spokane Indians star): “Last night I neglected to mention something that bears repeating.”

Frank Glieber, eyeing the multi-colored sports jacket of broadcast partner Billy Packer: “Who shot the couch?”

Jerry Coleman, San Diego Padres broadcaster, describing Padres outfielder Dave Winfield’s pursuit of a fly ball: “Winfield goes back to the wall, he hits his head on the wall, and it rolls off! It’s rolling all the way to second base! This is a terrible thing for the Padres!”

Bob Costas, sportscaster, commenting on talkative college basketball broadcaster Dick Vitale: “Once I didn’t speak to him for two months – I didn’t think it was right to interrupt him.”

Alex Hawkins, former NFL broadcaster and player: “When you’ve got two broken hands with casts on ’em and you go to the men’s room, that’s where you really find out who your friends are.”

Executives

Billy Gardner, Minnesota Twins manager, on team owner Carl Pohlad (a former Gonzaga University football player): “He’s so rich, he bought his dog a boy.”

Marv Levy, 80-year-old general manager of the Buffalo Bills: “They say two things happen when you get older. One is you begin to forget things. And I can’t remember what the other thing is.”

Jim Oshust, Atlanta Summer Olympics official, describing his job: “About as much fun as a vasectomy with a Weed Eater.”

Donald Davidson, Houston Astros executive, on laid-back Astros pitcher Joe Niekro: “It takes him an hour and a half to watch ‘60 Minutes’.”

Ted Turner, owner of the Atlanta Braves baseball club: “If I just had some humility, I’d be perfect.”

Media

Bernie Lincicome, Chicago Tribune, analyzing the play of Chicago Bears (and former Seattle Seahawks) quarterback Rick Mirer: “Mirer is to quarterbacking what nose hair is to coleslaw.”

Jim Murray, Los Angeles Times, on the crouched batting stance of Hall of Fame outfielder Rickey Henderson: “He has a strike zone the size of Hitler’s heart.”

Cam Hutchinson, Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) StarPhoenix, after the wife of New York Mets pitcher Kris Benson vowed to have sex with her husband in every city his team visits: “Kris Benson has asked for a trade to the Harlem Globetrotters.”

Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, noting the slow 40-yard dash times of former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett: “It’s so rare in the 40 to see a guy get lapped.”

Rick Reilly, Sports Illustrated, describing 38-year-old Baltimore Ravens football cheerleader Molly Shattuck: “She’s got surfer-blonde hair, a smile you could spot from the moon and a body that would make a monk bite on his robe.”

Comedians

Jay Leno, after the NBA’s Washington Bullets announced plans to change the team’s name because of its association with crime: “So from now on, they’re just going to be known as the Bullets.”

Jeff Foxworthy, discussing embattled baseball commissioner Bud Selig: “Bud is to baseball what the Exxon Valdez was to scallops.”

Rodney Dangerfield, speaking to bald Maryland men’s basketball coach Lefty Driesell: “Where do you get those haircuts with the hole in the middle?”

Joey Adams, describing 5-foot-4 major league shortstop Freddie Patek: “Fred Patek was so small when he was born that his father passed out cigar butts.”

Seth Meyers, after the troubled twosome of former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson and Toronto mayor Rob Ford arranged a meeting: “If you’d like to see a transcript of their conversation, just have your cat walk back and forth on your keyboard.”

Former Spokesman-Review sportswriter Howie Stalwick retired in his hometown of Spokane in 2016 after a 44-year career in sports journalism. Howie may be contacted at howiestalwick@frontier.com.

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