What is a Triple Double in Basketball?

A triple double in basketball is a statistic recorded when a player accumulates a double-digit total in three of the five categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. It is a rare and impressive feat that is generally seen as a sign of a player’s dominance.

History of the Triple Double

The triple double was first recorded in the 1950s, when the NBA began to track stats. It was first achieved by a player named Maurice Stokes, who was a member of the Rochester Royals in the 1954-55 season. Since then, only 72 players have recorded a triple double in NBA history.

The Most Notable Triple Doubles

The most notable triple doubles include Wilt Chamberlain’s absurd 100-point game in 1962, where he also recorded 25 rebounds and 21 assists. Oscar Robertson is the all-time leader in triple doubles, with 181. More recently, Russell Westbrook has made a name for himself by averaging a triple double for two consecutive seasons.

Requirements for a Triple Double

In order to achieve a triple double, a player must record double-digit numbers in three of the five statistical categories. The two most common combinations are points, rebounds, and assists, or points, rebounds and blocks. While it is possible to record a triple double with steals and assists, it is much more difficult, as steals are usually the lowest category.

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Benefits of Recording a Triple Double

Recording a triple double is a difficult and impressive feat that has become a benchmark of a player’s dominance. It is often seen as a sign that a player is an all-around force, capable of making an impact on the game in various ways. It is also an indication that a player has the ability to make their teammates better, as assists are a key component of a triple double.

Notable Triple Doubles from Recent Seasons

There have been several notable triple doubles from recent seasons. In 2018-19, Russell Westbrook recorded a triple double in the season opener against the Warriors. Nikola Jokic recorded a triple double with 19 points, 13 assists, and 10 rebounds in a game against the Lakers in 2019-20. In 2020-21, James Harden recorded a triple double with 23 points, 17 assists, and 15 rebounds in a game against the Spurs.

Limitations of the Triple Double

The triple double is a great statistic, but it has its limitations. It does not take into account the quality of the shots taken, or the defensive contributions of a player. Furthermore, it does not take into account any off-court contributions, such as leadership or chemistry.


The triple double is a great statistic that is used to measure a player’s all-around dominance on the court. It is an impressive and difficult feat to achieve, and it is a sign of a great all-around player. While the statistic has its limitations, it is still a great way to measure a player’s impact on the game.