Russell Westbrook: Oscar Robertson 'Paved the Way' for Triple-Double Record

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 11, 2021

Washington Wizards' Russell Westbrook is interviewed following an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Saturday, May 8, 2021, in Indianapolis. Washington won 133-132 in overtime. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Nobody has more career triple-doubles than Russell Westbrook after the Washington Wizards star tallied his 182nd during Monday's loss to the Atlanta Hawks, but he was appreciative of the ones who came before him after the performance.

He thanked Oscar Robertson as the one who "paved the way" as the previous record holder.

"Normally I don't like to pat myself on the back but tonight I will," he told reporters. "I am just so grateful for those that came before me ... super grateful for my teammates, coaches along my journey. Special thanks to my family."

Russell Westbrook stan @BeccaMVP

Russell Westbrook on his appreciation for the guys who came before him such as Oscar Robertson, Allen Iverson & Magic Johnson. https://t.co/1nkCFL1Owz

Westbrook broke the record in style Monday even though his team lost 125-124.

He finished with 28 points, 21 assists and 13 rebounds while spearheading a late comeback after his team fell behind by 17 heading into the fourth quarter. All the attention he drew helped open up looks for his teammates, and the result was six Wizards in double figures.

Still, he missed the potential game-winning shot in the final seconds.

It was just one game, though, for a team that is largely locked into the play-in tournament at this stage. Of more importance was the UCLA product's accomplishment, and it comes as no surprise he recognized Robertson's greatness as well.

After all, the two will forever be linked considering Westbrook not only surpassed the Hall of Famer as the all-time triple-double leader but also became the first player to average a triple-double in an entire season since Robertson when he did so three straight years from 2016-17 through 2018-19 as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Westbrook is on pace to average a triple-double again this season and entered play with averages of 22.0 points, 11.6 rebounds and 11.5 assists.

He and Robertson are the first two players who come to mind when thinking about the triple-double, and it was only fitting Westbrook recognized his counterpart after achieving the record.