I can't up a poster in my classroom containing a quotation attributed to Adidas.
September 8, 2005 7:15 AM   Subscribe

Help me attribute this quotation to someone other than a large sporting-goods corporation.

The quote is all over the internet:

"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It is an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It is a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary.
Impossible is nothing."

However, it is rarely attributed to anyone. When it is, the most common is to "an Adidas ad". I hope that by liking the quote I haven't just fallen for some abnormally eloquent marketing.
Anybody know of a more "respectable" source for these words?
posted by PhatLobley to Writing & Language (8 answers total)
According to this, it was Muhammad Ali.
posted by iconomy at 7:20 AM on September 8, 2005

I just googled part of the quote and his name and it does seem to be widely attributed to him.
posted by iconomy at 7:22 AM on September 8, 2005

According to this too.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 7:23 AM on September 8, 2005

The sources seem suspect, and this sounds entirely like an ad slogan -- my vote is that it was written by a trio of people in a cube somewhere throwing a kooshball back and forth while they tried to hide the fact they were mostly just playing solitaire. I think it's something about the dichotomy of 'big word' and 'small men,' and the rather clunky logic of the first sentence. It feels like it was written to evoke emotion but not a whole lot of logic. And if you look at Ali's other quotable quotes, this one just doesn't fit. I know my answer is unsourced, but...
posted by incessant at 9:35 AM on September 8, 2005

No matter who said it, it still sounds like ad copy to me.
posted by mike_bling at 11:08 AM on September 8, 2005

Best answer: I don't find anything remotely like it in Google Groups prior to 2004. Red flag. It doesn't even appear like they strung together separate quotes about "impossible", although vaguely similar things have been said before.
posted by dhartung at 11:25 AM on September 8, 2005

Best answer: Here's a little bit on the development of the "brand message" as a portrayal of the ideas they want people to associate with Adidas.
posted by dhartung at 11:33 AM on September 8, 2005

As it happens, even marketing comes up with something touching and meaningful from time to time. By accident.

If you'd rather quote someone properly famous, you might want to find a different 'impossible' quotation or two. (disclaimer: that's a self link. this one is not and might have some more 'classic' authors.)
posted by mmoncur at 2:21 PM on September 9, 2005

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