In basketball, a double is the accumulation of a double-digit number total in one of five statistical categories—points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots—in a game. Multiple players usually score double-digit points in any given basketball game; the double nomenclature is usually reserved for when a player has double-digit totals in more than one category. A double-double is the accumulation of a double-digit number total in two of the five categories in a game. The most common double-double combination is points-rebounds, followed by points-assists. Since the 1985–86 season, Karl Malone leads the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the points-rebounds combination with 811 and John Stockton leads the points-assists combination with 709. A triple-double is the accumulation of a double-digit number total in three of the five categories in a game. The most common way to notch triple-double is through points, rebounds, and assists. Oscar Robertson leads the all-time NBA list with 181. Until his retirement in 2013, Jason Kidd led the list among active players with 107. A quadruple-double is the accumulation of a double-digit number total in four of the five categories in a game. This has occurred four times in the NBA. A quintuple-double is the accumulation of a double-digit number total in all five categories in a game. Two quintuple-doubles have been recorded by high school girls, but none have occurred in college or professional games. A similar accomplishment is the five-by-five, which is the accumulation of at least five points, five rebounds, five assists, five steals, and five blocks in a game. In the NBA, only Hakeem Olajuwon and Andrei Kirilenko have accumulated multiple five-by-fives since the 1985–86 season.
A double-double is defined as a performance in which a player accumulates a double-digit number total in two of five statistical categories—points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots—in a game. The most common double-double combination is points and rebounds, followed by points and assists. Double-doubles are fairly common in the NBA. During the 2008–09 season, 69 players who were eligible for leadership in the main statistical categories recorded at least 10 double-doubles during the season.
Special double-doubles are rare. One such double-double is called double double-double (also referred to as 20–20 or Double-20). It occurs when a player accumulates 20 or more in two different statistical categories in a game. Another such double-double is called a triple double-double (also referred to as 30–30).
Double-double leaders (in regular season)
The following is a list of regular season double-double leaders since the 1985–86 season:
Karl Malone (left) and John Stockton (right), who played for the Utah Jazz together in the 1990s, are double-double leaders in point-rebound and point-assist combination, respectively (based on figures since the 1985–86 season).
Longest continuous streak of double-doubles: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Wilt Chamberlain holds the record with 227 consecutive double-doubles from 1964 to 1967. Chamberlain also holds the second and third longest continuous streak of double-doubles with 220 and 133. This record is before the ABA–NBA merger in 1976. The longest streak of double-doubles since the merger was 53 games, achieved by Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
A triple-double is defined as a performance in which a player accumulates a double digit number total in three of five statistical categories—points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots—in a game. The most common way for a player to achieve a triple-double is with points, rebounds, and assists, though on occasion players may record 10 or more steals or blocked shots in a game. The origin of the term "triple-double" is unclear. Some sources claim that it was coined by former Los Angeles Lakers public relations director Bruce Jolesch in the 1980s in order to showcase Magic Johnson's versatility, while others claim that it was coined by then Philadelphia 76ers media relations director Harvey Pollack in 1980. The triple-double became an officially recorded statistic during the 1979–80 season.
A triple-double is seen as an indication of an excellent all-around individual performance. However, the converse is not true; a player can have an excellent all-around performance while failing to achieve a triple-double. In the National Basketball Association (NBA), they are rare, as the top players usually accumulate fewer than 10 in a season (out of a possible 82 games in the regular NBA season). They are even more rare at the collegiate level (though double-doubles are much more common). There are two primary reasons for the relative infrequency of triple-doubles at the collegiate level: the shot clock in men's college basketball is 35 seconds as opposed to 24 seconds in the NBA, and college games last only 40 minutes instead of 48 in the NBA. Both timing issues considerably reduce the number of possessions in a game and thus the chances for amassing large numbers in any one statistic, much less all three.
There has been occasional controversy surrounding triple-doubles made when a player achieves the feat with a late rebound. Players with nine rebounds in a game have sometimes been accused of deliberately missing a shot late in the game in order to recover the rebound; a few have even gone so far as shooting off their opponent's basket trying to score a triple-double. To deter this, NBA rules allow rebounds to be nullified if the shot is determined not to be a legitimate scoring attempt.
First triple-double in league history: According to the Harvey J. Pollack NBA Statistical Yearbook, Dolph Schayes (Syracuse Nationals) might have logged the league's first triple-double on February 8, 1951, versus the New York Knicks. He had 18 points, 22 rebounds and 13 assists.
Averaging a triple-double in a single season: Oscar Robertson is the only player in NBA history to achieve this feat. During the 1961–62 season, Robertson averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists per game. At the end of that season and each season through 1964–65, Robertson's cumulative career averages were a triple-double.
Double-triple-double (at least 20 of any 3 statistics): Wilt Chamberlain is the only player to have accomplished this; in a February 2, 1968 game vs. Detroit Pistons, Chamberlain tallied 22 points, 25 rebounds, and 21 assists.
Longest continuous streak of triple-doubles: Wilt Chamberlain holds the record for the most consecutive triple-doubles. In 1968, from March 8 to March 20, he recorded a triple-double in nine straight games. The second longest streak is held by Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan, both of whom recorded a triple-double in seven consecutive games. Robertson's streak occurred in the 1961–62 season, while Jordan's streak went from March 25 to April 6 of 1989.
Hardaway had back-to-back triple doubles for Memphis State (now Memphis) during the 1992–93 season. He recorded 21 points, 15 assists, and 14 rebounds against Georgia State on January 4, 1993 and then recorded 26 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists against Vanderbilt on January 6, 1993.
Triple-doubles in NCAA tournament history: The NCAA began keeping track of assists in 1984, or blocks and steals in 1986, so officially this has occurred eight times. However, many official tournaments have included assists, steals and blocks in their boxscores prior to that time, so unofficially this has occurred sixteen times. Only two pre-1986 triple-doubles are included below.
Kalara McFadyen of the Memphis Lady Tigers achieved perhaps the most unusual triple-double in history, without scoring a point or even attempting a shot. On February 3, 2002, in a women's Division I game against Charlotte, she had 12 assists, 10 steals, and 10 rebounds.
CenterDavid Robinson is the most recent NBA player to accomplish the feat of a quadruple-double by recording at least 10 points, rebounds, assists, and blocks in a game.
A quadruple-double is defined as a performance in which a player accumulates a double digit number total in four of five statistical categories—points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots—in a game. This feat is extremely rare: only four players have officially recorded a quadruple-double in National Basketball Association (NBA) history. The first American male player above the high school level to officially record a quadruple-double was Nate Thurmond, who achieved this feat in 1974 while playing for the NBA's Chicago Bulls. The first American female player above the high school level to officially record a quadruple-double was Ann Meyers, who achieved this feat in 1978 while playing for the UCLA Bruins. The first male player in NCAA Division I history to record a quadruple-double was Lester Hudson.
Note that a quadruple-double (or a triple-double) is much harder to accomplish in most leagues other than the NBA because of the greater length of NBA games—48 minutes (four 12-minute quarters), as opposed to 40 minutes under NCAA, FIBA, and WNBA rules. (The NCAA uses 20-minute halves, while the WNBA and FIBA use 10-minute quarters.)
Quadruple-doubles have only been possible since the 1973–74 season, when the NBA started recording both blocked shots and steals. It is often speculated by observers that other all-time greats, namely Oscar Robertson (all time triple-doubles leader with 181), Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell or Jerry West could conceivably have had quadruple-doubles. According to West's biography at NBA.com, he reportedly recorded a quadruple-double after having 44 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 blocks.Wilt Chamberlain also reportedly recorded a quadruple-double in Game 1 of the 1967 Eastern Division Finals against the Boston Celtics, when he had 24 points, 32 rebounds, 13 assists and 12 blocks.
The reason why [quadruple-double] is such a hard thing to accomplish is because it requires a player to be completely dominant on both ends of the court without being too selfish—so he can get the assists—and without fouling out trying to block every shot or grab every rebound. A lot of guys can get the points, rebounds and assists, but it's the defensive stuff that messes everybody up. You have to love defense to get a quadruple-double. There's no way around it.
The four players listed below are the only players who have officially recorded a quadruple-double in an NBA game. Except for Thurmond, who retired before the award was established in 1983, all of them have won NBA Defensive Player of the Year at least once.
a Bird sat out the entire fourth quarter. After playing the third quarter, head coach K. C. Jones informed Bird that he was one steal away from a quadruple-double and asked if he wanted to stay in the game. Bird declined, saying that he "already did enough damage."
b Olajuwon was credited with 9 assists in the original box score. However, after Rockets officials reviewed the game tape and discovered what they believe was an uncredited assist in the first quarter, they revised the box score, crediting Olajuwon with 10 assists and the third quadruple-double in NBA history. NBA's director of operations, Rod Thorn, requested to review the tape. After reviewing the tape, the league disallowed Olajuwon's quadruple-double and announced that his original line—with 9 assists—is official.
During the 2003–04 season, Helena Sverrisdóttir averaged a quadruple-double for Haukar in the Icelandic Women's Division II. In 16 games she averaged 37.6 points, 13.3 rebounds, 11.6 assists and 10.2 steals.
A quintuple-double is defined as a performance in which a player accumulates a double-digit number total in all five statistical categories—points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots—in a single game. There are only two known quintuple-doubles, both at the girls' high-school level. The first was recorded by Tamika Catchings of Duncanville High School (Duncanville, Texas) with 25 points, 18 rebounds, 11 assists, 10 steals and 10 blocks in 1997. The second was by Aimee Oertner of Northern Lehigh High School (Slatington, Pennsylvania), who had 26 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists, 10 steals, and 11 blocks on January 7, 2012.
A five-by-five is defined as a performance in which a player accumulates a total of five in five statistical categories—points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks—in a single game. Statistics for steals and blocks were not kept in the NBA until the 1973–74 season, so NBA five-by-fives were only possible from that season onward. Hakeem Olajuwon (six times) and Andrei Kirilenko (three times) are the only players to have recorded multiple five-by-fives (based on records since the 1985–86 season). Both are also the only players to record five-by-sixes (at least six in all five statistical categories).
The following is a list of known five-by-fives. Note the list contains all five-by-fives since the 1985–86 season as well as one before. There may be other five-by-fives in the NBA that occurred before the 1985–86 season.
Greatest five-by-fives (most of each stat): Hakeem Olajuwon, on March 10, 1987, became the first in NBA history to record a five-by-six (at least 6 each of all five statistics: points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals). It took nearly twenty years for the second official occurrence in NBA history. Andrei Kirilenko, on January 3, 2006, recorded a five-by-six against the Lakers. Though his numbers were not quite as impressive as Olajuwon's, Andrei Kirilenko performed the feat in regulation. No one in the NBA has ever recorded a five-by-seven or higher. But Olajuwon was just 1 assist away in the game just mentioned, whereas Andrei Kirilenko was only 1 steal shy in his five-by-six.
Most five-by-fives in a career: Hakeem Olajuwon leads all players with 6 career five-by-fives. Andrei Kirilenko, with 3, is the only other player with more than one career five-by-five.
Most five-by-fives in the same season: The record for most five-by-fives in a season is 2. Olajuwon was the first to do this, in the 1993–94 season. Kirilenko was the second to do so in the 2003–04 season.
Most five-by-fives in the same year: Olajuwon recorded 3 five-by-fives in a one-year span. Beside the two from the 1993–94 season, he had another late in the 1992–93 season.
Quickest pair of five-by-fives: Kirilenko performed a five-by-five on December 3, 2003, and completed another just a week later, on December 10, 2003. The second quickest five-by-fives were completed by Olajuwon on November 5, 1993 and another, 55 days later, on December 30, 1993.
Youngest player: Kirilenko's first NBA five-by-five came on December 3, 2003, making him the youngest to record a five-by-five at age 700122000000000000022 years, 7002288000000000000288 days.
Oldest player: Olajuwon is the oldest player to record a five-by-five. His last career five-by-five came on December 30, 1993, at which time he was 700130000000000000030 years, 7002343000000000000343 days old.
Players with at least 5 steals and 5 blocked shots in a game
This is a list of players since the 1985–86 NBA season who have posted totals of five or more in both steals and blocked shots, but did not record a five-by-five.
^McAllister, Mike (February 28, 2003). "Around the NBA". Knight Ridder Tribune News Service. p. 1. "Kevin Garnett has a league-leading 47 double-doubles this season – all of them from the points-rebounds combination. With double-digits rebounds easier to acquire than double-digit assists, the majority of NBA double-doubles are through the points-rebounds combination"|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^ abDuPree, David (April 10, 1997). "Hill the leader in triple-double versatility". USA Today. p. 10.C. "The most common triple-double is points, rebounds and assists. Of the 41 triple-doubles recorded this season (through Tuesday's games), all but three have been acquired that way."|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^ abcAdande, J.A. (April 20, 2002). "They're Vintage Triple-Doubles". Los Angeles Times. p. D.4. Archived from the original on March 10, 2011. Retrieved June 12, 2009. "The term "triple-double" was coined by Bruce Jolesch, the former Laker public relations director who needed a way to summarize Johnson's penchant for recording double figures in points, rebounds and assists."
^Weir, Tom (December 1, 1999). "20th Century This Day in Sports". USA Today. p. 3.C.|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^Springer, Steve (November 11, 2002). "Magical Statistic Reborn; Triple-double that Johnson made famous serves Bryant well". Los Angeles Times. p. D.1.|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
^Gelston, Dan (April 18, 2008). "Philly's Pollack has kept track of NBA from the start". USA Today. Archived from the original on February 13, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2010. "Magic Johnson's amazing games made Pollack realize he needed a catchy title for double digits in points, rebounds and assists. The triple-double was born. ... "I walked up to Magic and said, 'You know, without me you wouldn't even be here today,"' Pollack said. "He says, 'What do you mean?' I said, 'Who do you think coined the name triple-double and made you famous for doing it?' Now it's a regular stat. He thanked me.""