NBA triple-double feats
EVERY hoops fan worth his salt knows what a triple-double is.
Yet the origin of the term “triple-double” remains unclear.
According to some sources, it was coined by former Los Angeles Lakers public relations director Bruce Jolesch during the 1980s in order to showcase the multi-dimensional skills of Lakers playmaker Earvin (Magic) Johnson, whose triple-double games mostly came from points, rebounds and assists.
Others claim that it was Philadelphia 76ers media relations director Harvey Pollack who invented the term during the same period.
According to Pollack, Dolph Schayes of the Syracuse Nationals (now the predecessors of the Philadelphia 76ers) might have posted the first triple-double in National Basketball Association (NBA) history when he chalked up 18 points, 22 rebounds and 13 assists against the New York Knickerbockers on February 8, 1951.
The NBA has been recording stats for points and assists since its inception in 1946-47 when it was known as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). Rebounding figures were first compiled during the 1950-51 campaign and steals and blocked shots were not official stats until the 1973-74 wars.
“The Big O” Oscar Robertson registered a triple-double right in his first-ever NBA game in 1960-61, a season wherein the future Hall of Famer averaged 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds and 9.7 assists in 71 appearances and earned NBA Rookie of the Year honors.
Other men to collect a triple-double with the fewest NBA career games include Arthur (Hambone) Williams, four games, San Diego (now Houston) Rockets, 1967-68; Earvin (Magic) Johnson, five games, LA Lakers, 1979-80; Cornelius (Connie, Hawk) Hawkins, five games, Phoenix Suns, 1969-70; John Wall, six games, Washington Wizards, 2010-11; and Guy William Rogers Jr., six games, Philadelphia (now Golden State) Warriors, 1958-59.
Seven-foot center Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets owns the record for the fastest triple-double in NBA history. Then in his third pro campaign, the 23-year-old Serbian accomplished the feat on February 15, 2018 when he amassed 30 points, a career-high 17 assists and 15 rebounds during the Nuggets’ 134-123 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in just 14 minutes and 33 seconds of action.
That shattered the old mark of Jim Tucker of the Syracuse Nationals, who as a rookie notched a triple-double of 12 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in 17 minutes during the Nats’ 104-84 drubbing of the New York Knicks on February 20, 1955. (Note that the NBA started compiling rebounds stats only in 1950-51.)
Most of Jokic’s stats came before halftime. He reached a T-D with 1:54 left in the second quarter.
Jokic, one of only three men in NBA annals to have a 30-point, 17-assist, 15-rebound game (the others being Houston’s James Harden in 2016 and Magic in 1981, submitted 10 triple-double performances during the 2017-18 wars).
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