A triple-double is more than just a player recording double digits in three categories. It’s a statistical representation of complete dominance. There have been 250+ players to average 10+ points per game in a season, 10+ to average 10+ assists per game =in a season, and 54+ to average 10+ rebounds per game in a season. Over 3,071 players have played in the NBA meaning approximately nine percent of these players have averaged double-digits in any one of the main categories and only two have averaged double-digits in three.
The all-time triple-double leader, Oscar Robertson, wasn’t even aware of the feats he had accomplished. He played from 1960-1974 and in his day and age, the accomplishment was not recorded. Robertson in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols said,
“Honestly I didn’t even know I was doing a triple-double at all; no one ever mentioned anything about it. I thought everybody played the same way.”
At 6’5” playing point guard, Robertson averaged 25.7 points-per-game, 9.5 assists-per-game, and 7.5 rebounds-per-game for his career. Despite his lack of awareness of what he had done, he was the first to average double digits in three statistical categories for a season and set the record for most in a season. A record that would stand for 55 years and was believed to be unbreakable. That is until Russell Westbrook came along.
This year, Westbrook broke the record for triple-doubles and became only the second player to average one in NBA history. He’s also recorded some of the most impressive triple-doubles in NBA history. He put together the first perfect triple-double, three 50+ point triple-doubles, which is the most in NBA history, and the record for most points in a triple-double. Before this season, Westbrook had a total of 37 for his career and was at ninth on the all-time list. He has since moved up five spots and stands at fourth, surpassing Wilt Chamberlin, Larry Bird, LeBron James, and Fat Lever. All throughout the season, everyone has taken notice to what he’s doing. Many former NBA players have said it’s the greatest season they’ve ever seen. Westbrook has twice the amount of triple-doubles as the second leader, James Harden, and has more combined then the next 12 leaders. The former triple-double record holder has even been rooting for Westbrook to beat his record. In a column with the undefeated Robertson said,
“I could not be happier for him, congratulations to Russell Westbrook on a magnificent season!”
The 31.8 points-per-game, 10.4 assists-per-game, and 10.6 rebounds-per-game he is averaging shouldn’t be looked at as just numbers, but rather he should be seen as an all-around beast. He has played 81 games with aggression and fierce competitiveness. Even though Robertson did not win the MVP award when he accomplished this achievement, Westbrook should surely be MVP this season for all he’s done for not only his team, but for basketball fans around the world who were able to witness his historic season.