The best sports quotes of the year, according to Bob Frisk (with a little help from his friends)

  • Bill Walton does commentary on NBC Sports Chicago for the Chicago White Sox's baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. Walton was calling the game on an invitation from the White Sox and announcer Jason Benetti, right.

    Bill Walton does commentary on NBC Sports Chicago for the Chicago White Sox's baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, in Anaheim, Calif. Walton was calling the game on an invitation from the White Sox and announcer Jason Benetti, right.

 
 
Updated 12/31/2019 6:10 AM

Welcome to another edition of Bob Frisk's annual column on the best quotes from the world of sports. For Bob, it's a culmination of his dedication and persistence to collect these nuggets month after month and store them in a drawer until another year comes to a close. And for nine months, he did just that until getting sidelined by an unexpected surgery in October.

We know how many of you look forward to his column, so as not to let Bob's hard work go to waste, several of his colleagues pitched in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

You'll be glad to know Bob, 83, is back on his feet and looking forward to the new year with friends and family, good books and more sports to watch. He's also excited to help grandson Mark, now a college junior, cheer for his Golden Gophers in the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl. With Indiana and Illinois also bowling, the Frisk family has bowl fever.

Enjoy Bob's annual effort to make you smile as he offers another installment of quotes from the year in sports.

Gregg Popovich, Spurs head coach, on hiring former San Antonio superstar Tim Duncan as an assistant coach: "It is only fitting, that after I served loyally for 19 years as Tim Duncan's assistant, that he returns the favor."

Aaron Rodgers, Packers quarterback, on how to get Green Bay fans more excited at home games: "I'm up for anything that's gonna get the fans as loud as possible. Maybe slash some beer prices would be a good idea."

Francesco Molinari, former British Open golf champ, explaining his regrets over a tattoo he got at 18: "I wish it was something more meaningful than a random Chinese symbol. I can't even be 100 percent sure that it is a Chinese symbol for a tiger. It might be fried dumplings or something."

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Craig Counsell, Brewers manager, on broadcasting the Minnesota at Milwaukee game Aug. 14 on YouTube: "I understand. If you have kids, they don't watch. They watch YouTube. It makes sense. Dinosaurs watch TV."

Mike Tauchman, a former Fremd High School football star who plays outfield for the Yankees, when asked about beating then Rolling Meadows High School football star Jimmy Garoppolo -- who now starts at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers -- by intercepting a pass and then leading a game-winning drive and throwing a TD pass for a 14-7 victory: "It's a cool story, but it's kind of weird to talk about it. I don't want to sound like the guy at the bar that struck out Bryce Harper when he was 9 years old. Jimmy's really, really good now. I think we both chose the right sports."

Bill Walton, Basketball Hall of Famer, on getting to broadcast a baseball game between the White Sox and Angels: "I thought all along I was a trembling and exploding rainbow, morphing into a bus stop. I guess I'm going to have to reinvent myself one more time."

Bill Walton, basketball legend, who joined Jason Benetti in the broadcast booth as a guest analyst, during the White Sox-Angels game Aug. 16, after Mike Trout homered off Lucas Giolito. "That's Trout? Swimming upstream, avoiding all the flies and sending one ricocheting through the universe."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Mike Brey, Notre Dame men's basketball coach, commenting in a Sports Illustrated article about snowplowing parents in sports: "When I think about my next coaching job, I think it should be in an orphanage. I use that (line) at coaching clinics, and high school coaches give me a standing ovation."

Dak Prescott, Cowboys quarterback, on why Tom Brady's team-friendly contract for $15 million wasn't an option for him: "Nobody's wife makes as much money as his wife (supermodel Gisele Bündchen) does either. When Tom Brady isn't the breadwinner in the home, then that's a great problem to have."

Oliver Owens, who admitted he gave this advice to Tom Brady, his Merrill Lynch intern who was considering the NFL: "Tom, you're a dime a dozen. You're a clipboard holder, man. You have to start a career. I'll write you a nice referral."

Pedro Strop, former Cubs relief pitcher, sharing his thoughts about Yasiel Puig's intelligence after a bench-clearing brawl June 29 in Cincinnati: "It's not a secret he's stupid. He's stupid as (bleep). I have nothing against him, but he's stupid. There's no doubt about it, obviously."

Megan Rapinoe, stalwart of the World Cup, during which her advocacy for social justice brought her into conflict with President Donald Trump: "I think I'm particularly, uniquely and very deeply American."

Madison Bumgarner, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher, on giving up a homer while pitching for the Giants last May to Puig for the first time since 2014: "He's a quick study. It only took him seven years to learn how to hit that pitch."

Warren Sapp, NFL Hall of Fame defensive tackle, on Odell Beckham Jr.'s decision to wear a luxury watch during NFL games: "You can't wear a $350,000 watch and play like a $2 bill. That don't get it done."

Barry Melrose, ESPN hockey commentator, on losing the Stanley Cup in 1993 and never getting back: "Losing hurts more than winning feels good. There's no truer statement out there."

Katie Lou Samuelson, UConn basketball senior, reacting last March on Instagram to the team getting a No. 2 seed in the NCAA women's tournament: "Keep your head high and your middle finger higher."

Jamaal Williams, Packers running back, on the weather conditions during a win against the Giants: "It started snowing -- it felt like 'Frozen.' I was like, all right here we go. Olaf Time."

Charles Barkley, Basketball Hall of Famer, commenting about celebrity golfers Brad Marchand (Boston Bruins) and Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors): "(Marchand's) a hell of a guy, and he's an annoying guy. Draymond is a hell of a player, and he's an annoying guy. ... Just terrific players who would be really annoying to play against, and you really want to punch them in the face."

Robin Lopez, former Bulls center now with Milwaukee, on why (at the time) he didn't want to play elsewhere. "I love Chicago. Lots of great restaurants, lots of dog parks for Muppet (his dog). I've got two baseball stadiums to choose from."

Gary Woodland, U.S. Open golf champ, on the text message he got from his swing coach, Peter Cowen, before winning the tournament last June: "'Every man dies, but not every man lives. You live for this moment. Go out and enjoy it.' It was awesome because it wasn't a golf text. It was about enjoying the pressure."

Tim Miles, former University of Nebraska men's basketball coach, lamenting his team's poor free throw shooting, lack of rebounding and inability to defend the 3-point shot: "You have to make your layups and free throws on the road. You can't give them eight 3's and not rebound. Pick one that you want to be awful at."

Jack Rosenberg, former Bulls season ticket holder: "I saw an interview with Michael Reinsdorf where he said he couldn't understand how people don't see the potential of the rebuild. I was like, 'Well, because you lose 80 percent of your games, that's why.' "

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron on the decision last May that the Archdiocese of Detroit will not allow youth and high school sports leagues to compete on Sundays: "In our time, Sunday has slowly lost its pride of place. ... We will reclaim this holy day."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, LA Galaxy forward, on dealing with negativity: "Criticism is everywhere. I like it. I eat it for breakfast ... and then for lunch."

High school basketball fans showing great unity with a chant, taken from a commercial jingle popularized by former NFL legend Peyton Manning and country music star Brad Paisley, as Manning look-alike Jon Kreidler of Prospect High was preparing to shoot free throws in a conference game last winter: "Nationwide is on your side."

Lovie Smith, Illinois football coach, after the biggest comeback in school history, down 28-3 at Michigan State at halftime, to come back and win 37-34 on a Brandon Peters TD pass with 5 seconds left and qualify for their first bowl game since 2014: "They don't crown champions after one half of ball."

Veljko Paunovic, former Chicago Fire coach, after a 1-1 draw in the home opener in March. (The Fire missed the playoffs for the eighth time in the last 10 seasons and Paunovic was fired in November after four seasons: "I'm not worried at all. It's the opposite. I'm very excited for what's coming for this group. Seeing what we saw today, it means that the guys have what it needs to be a champion."

Fred VanVleet, Raptors guard and Rockford native, on getting an NBA Finals MVP vote from broadcaster Hubie Brown: "That's just me buttering up Hubie over the last few weeks. We kind of expected to do this. I expect myself to have big games. I guess the amazement for me is not the same as it is for everybody else."

Tramon Williams, Packers cornerback, after Green Bay opened the season beating the Bears: "We knew if we could make Mitch (Trubisky) play quarterback, that we'd have a chance."

Jeffery Lomax, Elgin High School junior quarterback, after his team rallied with 15 fourth-quarter points to beat Streamwood 23-22: "Something I've always lived by in my life is pressure makes diamonds. And I like jewelry."

Gregg Popovich, on the overwhelming proliferation of 3-point shooting in basketball: "I still hate it. I'll never embrace it. I don't think it's basketball. I think it's kind of a circus act thing. Why don't we have a 5-point shot? A 7-point shot?"

So, did we make you laugh a little or get you to smile? If so, mission accomplished. Again.

• Contributions from Scot Gregor, John Lemon, Mike McGraw, Dave Oberhelman, Jim O'Donnell, John Radtke, Orrin Schwarz, Mike Smith and former sports editor Tom Quinlan. ... Contact Bob Frisk at robertfrisk@comcast.net.

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