What Is A Triple-Double In Basketball?

Basketball is one of the most exciting sports in the world and has attracted a significant number of fans globally despite its origins in the United States. The game of basketball was invented by Steven Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891.

The game has many constituents and one of them is the triple-double which can be described as a statistical achievement by any player of the game. A triple-double occurs when a basketball player gets at least 10 points in 3 out of the 5 major statistical categories in a single game.

Meanwhile, every basketball fan should know that the most popular triple-double categories are assists, points, and rebounds. Regardless, steals and blocked shots can also be included in a triple-double. For a better understanding of this basketball concept, read on.


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Why Is it Called a Triple-Double?

A triple-double is used to describe when a basketball player receives double digits in three statistical categories. The name originates from the double-double which refers to receiving 10 or more figures in 2 out of 5 categories. 

Therefore, the triple-double exceeds it by one. Meanwhile, it should be known that points for a triple-double are not gotten just because a player shoots field goals. Also, the triple-double is not the highest as basketball players can also get quadruple doubles and quintuple doubles if they garner 10 or more points in 4 or 5 statistics.


The Five Categories Where A Triple-Double Can Count?

  • Points
  • Rebounds
  • Steals
  • Assists
  • Blocks

How Common Is The Triple-Double In The NBA?

It can be recalled that 138 different players achieved a triple-double in the NBA 2020/21 season. The highest was earned by Russell Westbrook with 40 while the likes of Denver Nuggets and Nikola Jovic were a distant second with 17 respectively. His whopping triple-double numbers ensured that he won the MVP for the season in question.

Only one player has earned a triple-double without at least 10 points. The feat was achieved by Draymond Green in 2017 after he got 12 rebounds, 10 assists, and 10 steals in a game against the Memphis Grizzlies, These numbers played a role in his emergence as Defensive Player of the Year in that season.

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Who Got the First Triple-Double in Basketball?

The first triple-double in basketball was achieved by Andy Phillip on December 14, 1950, in a game for Philadelphia Warriors against Fort Wayne Pacers. In the game, he had 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Who Was the Youngest Basketball Player to Record a Triple-Double?

The youngest player to record a triple-double in basketball is LaMelo Ball and he accomplished the feat when he was just 19. LaMelo Ball garnered 12 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. 

The Fastest Triple-Double in the NBA History

It was accomplished by Nikola Jokic for Denver Nuggets in 14 minutes and 33 seconds in 2018. It took place in a game against the Milwaukee Bucks. He broke the record that was set by Jim Tucker in 1955 and it was done in 17 minutes. For Nikola Jovic’s record, his final slash line in the game was 30 points, 15 rebounds, and 17 assists,


Some more NBA Triple-Double History

Currently. Russell Westbrook has the most triple-doubles in the NBA with a whopping 193 to his name. He is also the only NBA player that has landed multiple triple-doubles against every NBA franchise. 

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It can be recalled that the previous record was held by Oscar Robertson with 181. The top 5 on the list of most triple-doubles in the NBA are:


  • Russell Westbrook – 193
  • Oscar Robertson – 181
  • Magic Johnson – 138
  • Jason Kidd – 107
  • LeBron James – 103

According to the five-in-five stat, a player can get 5 or more in each of the 5 major statistics in basketball, namely; points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals.

Meanwhile, two statistics in basketball that are similar to a triple-double are the quadruple-double and the quintuple-double. 

Only three female basketball players have scored a quintuple double or ten or more points in the five statistical categories and they are high school players namely; Aimee Oertner, Tameka Catchings, and Alex Montgomery.


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As we pointed oy earlier, a triple-double in basketball comes to fruition when a player has 10 or more figures in 3 out of the 5 categories in a single game. 

The feat requires celebration as it is not an easy one to pull off although there are players in the sport with whopping numbers despite the skills required to pull it off. It is a pointer to how basketball players have improved and evolved in recent times and continually so.


The game has begun to see players carve niches for themselves as offensive powerhouses and it is a no-brainer that there will be more triple-doubles as time progresses. 

The fact that the modern players of the game have the most triple-doubles in NBA history in comparison to older players is a pointer. 

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