Home Basketball The Triple Double Masterclass: the Pretty Show in NBA History

The Triple Double Masterclass: the Pretty Show in NBA History

The triple-double, a rare and exceptional feat in basketball, occurs when a player records a double-digit score in three statistical categories during a single game.The typical categories for a triple-double are points, rebounds, and assists, but other stats like steals and blocks can also be included. These triple-double performances showcase the unparalleled talent, versatility, and impact of NBA players on the court. Over the years, many iconic triple-doubles have left a lasting mark on the sport and cemented players’ places in basketball history. In this article, we will delve into the best triple-doubles in NBA history, celebrating the extraordinary efforts of legendary players who achieved these remarkable feats.


Oscar Robertson – March 18, 1962

Oscar Robertson, known as “The Big O,” was the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double for an entire season. His most outstanding triple-double performance came on March 18, 1962, when he recorded an astonishing 41 points, 12 rebounds, and 19 assists. At that time, the NBA had only been in existence for 16 years, and such an extraordinary stat line was virtually unheard of.


Magic Johnson – May 16, 1980 (NBA Finals)

In Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals, Magic Johnson, a rookie at the time, stepped up in a moment of crisis as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was sidelined with an injury. Playing as a center despite his natural position being a point guard, Magic dominated the game with 42 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 assists. His brilliant performance led the Los Angeles Lakers to victory against the Philadelphia 76ers, clinching the championship and earning him the Finals MVP award.


Larry Bird – March 30, 1985

Larry Bird, a legendary forward for the Boston Celtics, had numerous remarkable triple-doubles throughout his career. One of his most unforgettable came on March 30, 1985, when he demonstrated his all-around brilliance with 60 points, 7 rebounds, and 11 assists. Bird’s scoring prowess and court vision were on full display that night, leaving fans and fellow players in awe.


Wilt Chamberlain – February 2, 1968

Wilt Chamberlain, a dominant force in the NBA, achieved a jaw-dropping triple-double on February 2, 1968, during a game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Detroit Pistons. In a game that went into double-overtime, Chamberlain produced an extraordinary 22 points, 25 rebounds, and an astonishing 21 assists. This remarkable feat is the only recorded triple-double with 20 or more assists in NBA history.

LeBron James – February 18, 2018

LeBron James, one of the most iconic players of his generation, delivered a memorable performance on February 18, 2018, while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. In an intense contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder, LeBron achieved 37 points, 10 rebounds, and 15 assists, surpassing the legendary Oscar Robertson to become the player with the most career triple-doubles at that time.

Russell Westbrook – April 9, 2017

Russell Westbrook’s 2016-2017 season was nothing short of historic. On April 9, 2017, Westbrook etched his name in the record books with a triple-double for the ages, securing a monumental 50 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists in a game against the Denver Nuggets. This performance secured his triple-double average for the season, a feat that had not been accomplished in over 50 years.

Hakeem Olajuwon – March 10, 1987

Hakeem Olajuwon, renowned for his exceptional skills as a center, displayed his versatility with a spectacular triple-double on March 10, 1987. In a game against the Seattle SuperSonics, Olajuwon recorded 38 points, 17 rebounds, and 12 blocks, showcasing his prowess on both ends of the floor. This triple-double stands as the only one in NBA history with double-digit blocks.

Jason Kidd – April 11, 1995

Jason Kidd, one of the greatest point guards of all time, demonstrated his playmaking brilliance on April 11, 1995, while playing for the Dallas Mavericks. In an unforgettable performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kidd tallied 38 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists, leading his team to victory and leaving fans in awe of his exceptional court vision.

James Harden – January 10, 2019

James Harden, known for his scoring ability, added another feather to his cap on January 10, 2019. During a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Harden showcased his offensive prowess with 43 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists, earning him a spot among the best triple-doubles in NBA history.

Giannis Antetokounmpo – February 6, 2020

Giannis Antetokounmpo, the “Greek Freak,” has been a dominant force in the NBA, and his triple-double on February 6, 2020, reflects his exceptional talent. Facing the Philadelphia 76ers, Antetokounmpo put up a staggering 36 points, 20 rebounds, and 6 assists in a game that highlighted his versatility and athleticism.


Q1: What other statistics can be part of a triple-double?

A: In addition to points, rebounds, and assists, players can also achieve triple-doubles by reaching double digits in other statistical categories like steals and blocks. However, the most common and recognized triple-doubles include points, rebounds, and assists.

Q2: Can a player achieve a triple-double in multiple statistical categories, such as points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks, in a single game?

A: Yes, it is possible for a player to achieve a “five-by-five” or “quintuple-double,” which means recording double-digit figures in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks during a single game. However, such occurrences are exceedingly rare and have only been achieved a few times in NBA history.

Q3: How do triple-doubles impact a player’s legacy in the NBA?

A: Triple-doubles are often considered a testament to a player’s versatility and ability to impact the game on multiple fronts. Players who regularly achieve triple-doubles are regarded as elite and are recognized for their exceptional skill sets, basketball IQ, and all-around contributions to their teams.

Q4: Who are some of the NBA’s all-time leaders in triple-doubles?

A: Aside from Russell Westbrook, other NBA players with numerous triple-doubles include Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, LeBron James, and Jason Kidd, among others. These players have left an indelible mark on the sport and are considered some of the greatest in NBA history.

Q5: Has anyone achieved a quadruple-double in NBA history?

A: Yes, there have been a few instances of players achieving quadruple-doubles in NBA history. A quadruple-double occurs when a player records double-digit figures in four different statistical categories in a single game. However, such performances are extremely rare and have only been achieved by a select few players. Notable players to accomplish this feat include Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, and Nate Thurmond.


Triple-doubles are a testament to the extraordinary skills possessed by the elite players in NBA history. These performances not only demonstrate their statistical dominance but also showcase their ability to impact the game in multiple facets. Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Hakeem Olajuwon, Jason Kidd, James Harden, and Giannis Antetokounmpo are just a few of the players who have left an indelible mark on the sport with their triple-double masterpieces.

As the NBA continues to evolve, new talents will undoubtedly emerge, pushing the boundaries of what is possible on the court. The best triple-doubles in NBA history serve as a reminder of the greatness that basketball has witnessed and will continue to witness in the future. These performances stand as milestones of excellence, inspiring both current and future generations of players to reach new heights and leave their own mark on the ever-evolving legacy of the NBA.


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