PRBC Sports PR Hall of Fame: One-Liners

Welcome, welcome, welcome!  You’ve made it just in time to the

GRAND OPENING of the PRBC’s Sports PR Hall of Fame!  Grab a Danish and some orange juice, we’re about to get underway!

At the PRBC Sports PR Hall of Fame, we honor people from the sports world that have effectively mastered the art of public relations, for better or for worse.  This Hall encompasses athletes, managers, owners and even fans.  Nobody is off-limits, as long as they are linked to sports.

When deciding who should be included in the inaugural class, many factors were considered. We won’t go into detail about them here because…well…we won’t.

At it’s core, PR is about image.  And your image is defined, in large part, by your words.  So, we are proud to induct the following athletes into our “One-Liner” wing!

Michael Jordan – No other athlete before or since has crossed-over into mainstream pop culture quite like MJ.  The North Carolina native was asked to support civil rights activist Harvey Gantt in Gantt’s Democratic Senate campaign against Jesse Helms.  Jordan declined, using the greatest one-liner in sports sponsorship history, one so telling about his PR positioning that it is the first one-liner inducted into the Hall of Fame: “Republicans buy sneakers, too.”

Bill Shankly – PR is about helping the public see the importance of your client or event – or even your sport as a whole.  Then great British soccer coach Bill Shankly is easily our first-ever “Hyper-Hyperbole” inductee, thanks to one of the greatest quotations in all of sports, one that enrages and engages the public: “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude; I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”

Muhammad Ali – Nobody convinced more people to buy a ticket to a boxing match than Muhammad Ali.  In his fighting heyday, his interviews were as infamous as the beatings he dished out on opponents. He loved to draw attention to himself, which only put more attention on his bouts, which people paid good money to see.  Instead of one quote, here are four from The Greatest:

“[Joe] Frazier is so ugly that he should donate his face to the US Bureau of Wild Life.”

“I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.”

“If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.”

It’s hard to be humble, when you’re as great as I am.”

Thank you for attending this morning’s induction ceremony, and congratulations to these three athletes who mastered the PR one-liner.  Come back soon for our next round of inductees!

Oh, and before you leave, tell us what other sports figures’ one-liners belong in the PRBC Sports PR Hall of Fame?

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  • jeffespo

    Mike, I was waiting for this post to be sponsored by Coors Light. Since they lost the NFL gig, maybe they will sign on to the PRHOF. I always love Ali's trash talking, but Jordan's quote takes the cake.

    Does Mike Gundy need to be retired to make the Hall? “…Come after me!! I'm a man!! I'm forty!!

  • I'm going to have to say Reggie Jackson, when he said he was “The straw that stirs the drink.” Billy Martin loved him for that (not).

  • Hey Mike
    I like former Jets coach, Herm Edwards telling everybody ” You play to win the game.”

  • This is a fun little article. The art of crafting the quote is one that can't be replicated. Sometimes, you can't “craft” personality.

    I didn want to make one note about Ali's quote about the light switch. That's his adaptation from a story that Satchel Page used to tell about one of his team mates.

    Just, you know, being “that guy.” 🙂

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