17, nine, 24, 17 and 15.
No, those are not the rebounding totals by Blake Griffin in his first five games, although it may have seemed like it with how powerful he has looked.
No, those are not John Wall's turnover numbers either, even if he has been a bit sloppy in certain games. He's just a rook, give him a chance.
In fact, those are the assist totals by Rajon Rondo through the first five Celtic games of the 2010-2011 season. They add up to 82. In other words, those numbers make up the most assists ever in the first five games of a season in NBA history.
Averaging just over 16 assists a game puts Rondo on pace to shatter John Stockton's record for assists in a season.
I'm sure Rondo will slow his pace, although it is clear he is not looking for his own shot at all. However, even if the record is broken, it's not that big of a deal. The assists record is not one of those hallowed figures in sports history that everyone knows off the top of their head. It would be a very nice accomplishment, but was never unbreakable.
This got me thinking about records, especially individual player records, and how the word "unbreakable" is tossed around so haphazardly. Besides Bruce Willis in that movie, I think it was called Die Hard 3, is anything really unbreakable?
Sports channels always air those "Top 10 Unbreakable Records" shows. Most of the time, I end up just being pissed afterwards at their idea of unbreakable.
They put Cal Ripken's consecutive games played record in the top 10 because no one can possibly break that. Well, they also put Lou Gehrig's record on those lists for 60-some-odd years until Cal broke it. Doesn't that rule out this record as being unbreakable when it just changed hands within the past decade?
Derrick Thomas' record of seven sacks in one game is often on the football shows as well. It's a fantastic record, no doubt. However, I get the feeling they add it to the lists to seem cool, putting a defensive stat up there.
Is it really unbreakable?
Thomas himself had another game where he had six sacks, and the people they interview spout off on how he could have had nine or 10.
Rather than just complain, I thought I would make my own short list of records that actually won't be broken, taking just from the major sports. Oh, there are women's tennis records that are impossible to top? Who cares?
In no particular order:
1. Fernando Tatis (MLB): Two Grand Slams in One Inning
Good luck breaking that. I mean, it is technically possible for someone to tie him, no matter how unlikely, but to break it? Not going to happen.
2. Johnny Vander Meer (MLB): Two Consecutive No-Hitters Thrown
Again, could it be tied? Well, no probably not, but I can't rule it out. Breaking it, on the other hand, by throwing three straight no-hitters, I think can be lumped into the category of unbreakable.
3. Cy Young (MLB): (No, Not Career Wins) 749 Career Complete Games
The wins total won't be approached either, but I think the complete games record is even better. To put it in some perspective, the active leader in complete games is Roy Halladay. He has 58 in 13 seasons. Being somewhat generous, and taking into account that in his early years he wasn't getting full work yet, let's give him six per full year pitched.
To reach Cy, Halladay would have to pitch around 116 more seasons. At that point he would be about 149 years old. Now I'm no doctor, but this seems unlikely. Let's call Cy's record unbreakable.
4. Wilt Chamberlain (NBA): Take Your Pick
Much like Cy Young, Wilt can be given a few notches on the unbreakable records list. One hundred points scored in one game. Over 27 rebounds per game for a full season.
I think the best, however, is his points per game scored in one season at 50.3. He averaged more than 50 points a game, every game, for the entire year. The last season anyone was even within a baker's dozen of that was Jordan in '86-'87, when he ended the year at just over 37 points per game.
5. Otto Graham (NFL): 10 Consecutive Championship Game Appearances
These were before the Super Bowl existed, and some before the NFL was established, but nevertheless, his record of reaching the professional football title game in 10 straight seasons is unreachable.
For good measure, Otto played one year of professional basketball during the streak, and made the championship there as well.
The only recent player that can even be considered close to this record is Jim Kelly. He made four straight Super Bowls, not even halfway to Otto.
6. Dave Schultz (NHL): 472 Penalty Minutes in One Season
In an 82-game season, if a player were to receive a five minute major, every game, for the whole year, they would still fall well short of this record. In fact, second place on this list didn't even fare that well.
No one in history has come within 60 minutes of Schultz's record. (I would have picked anything Wayne Gretzky did but this seemed more interesting. Wayne is called the Great One for a reason. I mean he has 970 more career points than any other player to ever lace up the skates.)
So, to answer my own question, yes. There are indeed some unbreakable sports records. I would have thrown in Travis Henry's record of having 11 children with 10 different women, but I don't have sources to confirm that this has not been surpassed.
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