What does Triple-double in Basketball Mean?

A triple-double in basketball is known to be the most challenging scoring that a single player can carry through out the game. A player needs to score at least ten points, ten assists, and ten rebounds in a single game, which is quite hard to attain.

According to basketball experts and enthusiasts, the easiest kind of triple-double to achieve is “points-rebounds-assists triple-double.” You first focus on aiming for the shot, then rebound, and then provide assistance to teammates.  Aside from this, centers have also been able to accomplish triple-doubles using blocks in place of assists. 

How to Achieve a Triple-double in Basketball?

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If you achieve a triple-double in basketball by any chance, you are indeed on the god-tier level. To serve as a little refresher on the 5 statistical categories,  points are measured when a player or the team successfully shoots the ball in the ring, depending on his distance (two points, three points, free throws). 

Rebounds are considered when a missed shot of one party has been taken or stolen by the other team. Assists are attributed to a player who does the passing of the ball to a teammate. The passing of the ball usually leads to a successful shot. It is the “pass” executed for a player to score. Meaning, teammates are “assisting” in the process of shooting by passing the ball. 

Blocks are measured through the number of shots obstructed/prevented by a defensive player by physically staving the ball off, and Steals are measured through the quantity where the ball has been stolen or taken away from the offensive team.

How Common is a Triple-Double in Basketball?

According to the Play Index of Basketball-Reference.com. there were 72,798 games played during the 1984-1985 season and only 1,242 triple-doubles recorded, which falls on a 1.7 occurring rate. In terms of headcounts, only 248 out of 2,401 players (9%) have achieved a triple-double score.

The most common scoring performance in a basketball game is the double-double. It is where a player scores 10 points or more on any of the 5 statistical categories. Double-double has a lot of occurrences in the history of the NBA.

Aside from triple-double, the less common scoring performance are the quadruple-double (10 or more points in any 4 of the 5 categories) and the quintuple-double (10 or more points on all of the 5 categories). 

Categories Where a Player can Score a Triple-Double

A player who hits double digits in at least three of the following categories will achieve triple-double:

1. Points

The easiest way to achieve a triple-double is to score 10 points, whether it comes from a free throw, a three-pointer, or a two-point basket.

2. Assists

It’s easier to dish out 10 assists if you are the ball handler or if your position in court is small forward or a point guard. 

3. Rebounds

The position in court that gets more rebounds are forwards and center; that’s why they are the ones who can easily grab 10 rebounds in a single game. However, the challenge comes in when all nine players in the team try to do the same thing.

4. Steals

In basketball history, there are only two players who achieve 10 steals in a single game, which means that it is uncommon to attain, but is not impossible to achieve towards triple-double. 

5. Blocks

Just like steals, 10 blocks is uncommon to achieve by a single player. There were eight players who had 10 blocks in a single game in history.

NBA Stars Known for their Triple-Double in Basketball Coup

Every basketball player plays an important role in making historical and remarkable legacy in the history of the NBA. Perhaps the same feeling overwhelmed Andy Philip of Philadelphia Warriors being the first-ever player to achieve such a score on December 14, 1950. 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists were his standing during that time.

In the 1960s and early 1970s,  Oscar Robertson was recognized as the master of the triple-double during that span of years. He almost had an average of a triple-double score at 25.7 points,  7.5 rebounds, and 9.5 assists, each per single game. Overall, history has it that he has 181 triple-doubles in his legacy which remains unbeatable up until today.

Outstanding NBA players who have the most numbers of triple-double scores:

Oscar Robertson – 181

He was renowned to be the all-time leader in triple-doubles that is why he is named “The Big O”.

Russell Westbrook – 151

In the basketball seasons 2017-2019, he set the record to have the most triple-doubles.

Magic Johnson – 138

He is the current title holder to have the most triple-doubles in the NBA playoffs.

Jason Kidd – 107

He has the skills to rebound and pass the ball efficiently making him a triple-double threat to his opponents.

● LeBron James  – 95

He is a regular triple-double scorer. Lebron James incurred most of his triple-double in the 2017-2018 season.


The triple-double is a perfect basis to label someone a proficient and a professional player. This occurrence continues to urge players to bring out the best in them and make histories like Robertson and Westbrook.

The continuous growth of players achieving triple-double is a sign of the league’s refinement. It pushes players to step out of their comfort zone and give their best shots. Ultimately, although triple-doubles require superb excellence in basketball, with this millennium’s players and enthusiasts, nothing is impossible. 

Since the world progressed and many basketball professionals and aspirants continue to be in the limelight, the statistics of triple-doubles were improved compared to the 90s records.  For the past years, the number of players achieving triple-doubles is increasing. With this, the quadruple-double not impossible to achieve as well.

Through hard work and dedication, a triple-double in basketball can be achieved. This rise and escalation mirror the development and breakthrough of the basketball league. It features and highlights players that possess so much potential within them.

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