Russell Westbrook Breaks Oscar Robertson's Record for Most Career Triple-Doubles

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2021

Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (4) reacts during a break in the second half of a basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Monday, May 3, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook recorded his 182nd triple-double Monday against the Atlanta Hawks, passing Oscar Robertson for the most in NBA history.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport


Washington Wizards @WashWizards

1️⃣8️⃣2️⃣ TRIPLE-DOUBLES 😤👏 Russell Westbrook is officially the NBA’s all-time triple-double leader! #WES182OOK | @russwest44 https://t.co/exvo3JNhNY

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

1️⃣8️⃣2️⃣ TRIPLE-DOUBLES Russell Westbrook has officially passed Oscar Robertson for the all-time NBA triple-double record WHY NOT? https://t.co/RdfVBXLzJf

Robertson was among those to congratulate Westbrook on his historic accomplishment:

Washington Wizards @WashWizards

The Big O, Magic, and more congratulate Russ! #WES182OOK | @russswest44 https://t.co/eObUZ3Pmv2

Bradley Beal @RealDealBeal23

Mr. Triple Double !!! Congratulations big bro. It’s a pleasure to witness history!! First Ballot HOF @russwest44

The 32-year-old became the first player since the Hall of Famer in 1961-62 to average a triple-double when he put up 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game in 2016-17. At the time, many likely thought it would be a one-off, with the eventual MVP motivated by Kevin Durant's departure and having to shoulder a heavy burden on the Durant-less Oklahoma City Thunder.

Then Westbrook did it again the following season and the year after that.

The notion that the nine-time All-Star has padded his stats a bit to put up his gaudy numbers will probably follow him in perpetuity. He addressed that argument in April 2018, countering that his energy and drive on the court helped set him apart (warning: video contains profanity):

Royce Young @royceyoung

Russell Westbrook went off a bit on the idea he stat-pads rebounds: “If you don’t want it, I’m gonna get it. Simple as that.” https://t.co/z7BstM154p

At the end of the day, Westbrook's record speaks for itself, though.

Per Stathead, there have been three occasions in the NBA when a player has posted at least 20 assists and 20 rebounds in a single game, and the UCLA product is responsible for at least two of them. The most recent came May 3 against the Indiana Pacers.

Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, whom many consider to be the best point guard ever, told The Athletic's David Aldridge how Westbrook's performances shouldn't be taken for granted:

"People have played 13 years, 15 years, and never get 20 rebounds. Same with assists. I know I got 24 a lot, but for him to get 24, there's guards who's played who would never get even 20 (assists). The things he's been able to do, hopefully, we will say, 'Give him his love, give him his respect.' This is really big. This is something I couldn't even do. I know how big it is."

To some extent, fans may be experiencing triple-double fatigue. The novelty has worn off, and there are only so many words to describe something that has become almost routine.

Once Westbrook retires and there isn't somebody else doing what he is right now, the full scope of his exceptionalism on the court will be appreciated all over again.