Russell Westbrook, Paul George and … Jeff Ruland? The Triple-Double Through Time
It was once a humble TV checklist, informing readers that the Knicks can be enjoying the Washington Bullets on MSG that evening. The quick merchandise famous that “The Knicks tried double-teaming Jeff Ruland in the second of those games, but the tactic didn’t work: He responded with a triple double-digit effort — 22 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.”
It was once Dec. 29, 1984. And for the first actual time, The New York Times had cited the triple-double.
On Monday evening, Russell Westbrook finished an unparalleled 10th consecutive triple-double, with 21 issues, 14 rebounds and 11 assists because the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Portland Trail Blazers. Westbrook broke the document of 9, set by way of Wilt Chamberlain in 1968.
But whilst triple-doubles are now not unusual — Westbrook’s teammate Paul George grew to become in an much more immpressive line (47 issues, 10 rebounds, 12 assists) on Monday — the time period is rather new. Like Chamberlain, one of the largest practitioners made each one among their triple-doubles when triple-doubles weren’t even a factor.
The Times briefly embraced the triple-double. Two days after its debut, the label made it into an atypical sports activities article, this time with out the clunky phrases “digit” or “effort.” Precedent were set.
In the ones early days, one of the references to triple-double in The Times have been in quotes, as though editors have been afraid that the brand new time period would pollute the newspaper’s august pages. Eventually the arbiters of fashion settled on no quotes, and a hyphen in between the 2 phrases.
The first triple-double in Basketball-Reference’s database is from 1950, when Andy Phillip of the Philadelphia Warriors tallied 17 issues, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, even though there have been nearly definitely others sooner than that after stat holding was once much less actual and whole.
Harvey Pollack, the longtime 76ers stats guru, is typically credited with inventing the time period within the early 1980s, impressed by way of Magic Johnson, who made a addiction of triple-doubling. (Ruland, although he was once the Times’s triple-double pioneer, claimed most effective 5 in his occupation.)
There also are double-doubles — the occupation document is held by way of Chamberlain — and quadruple doubles, for individuals who too can organize 10 blocks or steals. That has most effective took place a handful of occasions within the N.B.A., and now not since David Robinson in 1994.
There are even quintuple doubles, a stupefying exploit — 25 issues, 18 rebounds, 11 assists, 10 steals and 10 blocks — carried out by way of the ladies’s big name Tamika Catchings when she was once in highschool in 1997.
Westbrook has taken the triple-double to new heights, although, if truth be told averaging a triple-double for the remaining two seasons. He is on tempo to take action once more this season. And not like his early predecessors, he’s keenly acutely aware of the stat, incessantly having a look so as to add that yet another lend a hand or rebound that he wishes past due in a recreation.
Westbrook now has 127 general triple-doubles, ultimate in on Johnson, the muse for the time period, who has 138.
But above they all is Oscar Robertson, the one different guy to moderate a triple-double; he had 181 in his Hall of Fame occupation.
His remaining one got here in 1974, when the feat was once nonetheless unnamed, a minimum of in The Times.