Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Players with the Most Triple-Doubles in NBA History

A triple-double is recorded by a player when he records double digit (10 or more) stats in three of five categories in the same basketball game. The five categories are points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals. This is a list of players with the most official triple-doubles in NBA history in regular season games.

                                                            (Photo by Erik Drost)

I say official because blocks and steals were not officially counted as a stat in the NBA until the 1973-74 season. So all triple-doubles prior to to the 1973-74 season consisted of just double digits in points, rebounds, and assists. Logically, players on this list of all-time leaders in triple-doubles who played in the NBA prior to 1973-74 probably had more triple-doubles than officially listed.

Some people like to knock triple-doubles as a stat. To me, it's a great accomplishment when a player records a triple-double. Only great players can record double digit stats in three different categories in the same game many different times.

Here are the top 10 players with the most triple-doubles in NBA history. The list is for the regular season only.

Players with the most triple-doubles in NBA history (regular season)

1. Oscar Robertson - 181 

Not only does Oscar Robertson hold the official record for the most triple-doubles in NBA history with 181, he is the only player to average a triple-double for a season. In 1961-62, Oscar Robertson averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists per game in his second season in the NBA.

2. Magic Johnson - 138

Magic Johnson recorded the second most triple-doubles in NBA history with 138. Magic is the all-time leader in triple-doubles in the playoffs with 30.

3. Jason Kidd - 107

Jason Kidd has the third most triple-doubles in NBA history with 107. Jason Kidd and Vince Carter (New Jersey Nets) are one of only two sets of teammates to ever officially record triple-doubles in the same game (Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen are the other two teammates).

4. Wilt Chamberlain - 78

Wilt Chamberlain has the fourth most official triple-doubles in NBA history with 78. Wilt holds the record for most consecutive games with a triple-double, recording triple-doubles in nine consecutive games in the 1967-68 season.

Wilt is the only player to ever record a double triple-double. In 1968, Wilt Chamberlain had 22 points, 25 rebounds, and 21 assists in a NBA game vs the Detroit Pistons.

By many accounts, Wilt Chamberlain was a great shot blocker, and probably exceeded 10 blocked shots in a game many times. Harvey Pollock always claimed that Wilt Chamberlain once blocked 25 shots in a playoff game. Had blocked shots been counted in Wilt's day, he would have had more, likely a lot more, triple-doubles than 78 in his career.

5. Larry Bird - 59

Larry Bird has the fifth most triple-doubles in NBA history with 59. Bird averaged a double-double for his career, 24.3 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, and he was also excellent at dishing the ball especially on the fast break.

6. Russell Westbrook - 47

Russell Westbrook recorded 18 triple-doubles in the 2016 season to shoot up this list. Westbrook also had 11 triple-doubles in 2015 so he's had an incredible 29 triple-doubles over the past two NBA seasons.

7. LeBron James - 45

With 45 career triple-doubles, LeBron James has the 7th most triple-doubles in NBA history and the 2nd most of any active player.

8. Lafayette Lever - 43

Lafayette Lever, better known as Fat Lever, has the sixth most triple-doubles in NBA history with 43. Fat Lever is the first player on this list who is not, and never will be, in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

9. Bob Cousy - 33

Bob Cousy played 13 seasons in the NBA and had at least one triple-double in 11 of those seasons. His career high for a season was eight in 1956.

10. John Havlicek - 31

John Havlicek recorded eight triple-doubles in a season for three consecutive seasons from 1970 to 1972.

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