What is a Double Double in Basketball?

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You probably heard NBA commentators praising NBA players for getting a double double in a game. What is a double double in basketball? It’s a famous stat line that has NBA fans applauding and in awe if any player ever gets it. 

What is a Double Double in Basketball?

A double double is a statistical achievement made in basketball. When a player reaches double figures (10 or more) in two of basketball’s five main stat categories, the player has achieved a double double.  

The 5 main stat categories used by most basketball games are the:

  1. Points 
  2. Rebounds
  3. Assists
  4. Steals
  5. Blocks 

In the entirety of a basketball game, the forwards and centers usually achieve double doubles by points and rebounds. The guards commonly get their double doubles by points and assists. Double doubles through steals and blocks are rare to see. Some legendary NBA defensive players have achieved this, however.  

Who Has the Most Double Doubles in the NBA?

Since the 1983-84 season, Tim Duncan holds the record for the most career double doubles in the NBA. Tim Duncan played for the San Antonio Spurs (1997-2016) and has recorded 841 double doubles in his NBA career. 

It’s a different story when seasons before the 83-84 are counted. Wilt Chamberlain holds the record for having the most double doubles of all-time. He has 968 double doubles and has a career stat average of 30.1 points and 22.9 rebounds per game.  

Former NBA player Wilt Chamberlain, record-holder for consecutive double doubles

Chamberlain also holds the record for consecutive double doubles with 227. Since post-merge of the NBA-ABA in 1976, Kevin Love holds the record of consecutive double doubles with 53.  

Notable Double Double Records

Tracy McGradyYoungest player to get a double double
Dikembe MutomboOldest player to get a double double
Wilt ChamberlainThe only player to reach over 40-40 points on a double double

What is a Triple Double? 

A triple double is an achievement where a player gets double figures (10 or more) in three of the five main stat categories. It’s extremely rare to get a triple, let alone average one. 

The term triple double was popularized in 1980 by Harvey Pollack and Bruce Jolesch. Achieving a triple double in NBA is a difficult feat. Those who managed to record triple doubles are considered great NBA players. 

How Do You Get a Triple Double in Basketball?

Most triple doubles come from the three main stat categories of points, assists, and rebounds. You have to be a very talented basketball player in order to achieve it. It requires you to score the ball in the hoop, share the ball to your teammates, and rebound the ball. 

What’s more difficult is getting a triple double with steals or blocks. In 2018-19 season, the stats leader for blocks was Myles Turner and he only averaged 2.69 blocks per game. Even in steals, the highest is 2.21 by Paul George

Players who recorded triple doubles with the steals or blocks stats are notably known for their defensive abilities like Hakeem Olajuwon and Draymond Green. 

While it is extremely difficult to get a triple double, there are a few things players can do to help increase their chances of doing so.

First, it’s crucial that they are wearing quality basketball shoes that properly fit. It might sound obvious, but if players are busy thinking about how their shoes feel a little uncomfortable, it will take their mind off the game.

Second, players need to focus on not doing illegal moves, such as carrying the ball. Every second they spend doing something incorrectly results in less time they have to achieve a triple double.

Who Has the Most Triple Doubles in NBA History?

The current holder of the most triple doubles in NBA History is Oscar “The Big O” Robertson. He tallied a total of 181 triple doubles in his 14-year career in the NBA. He’s also the first player to average a triple double in a single season. 

He was soon followed by Russel Westbrook who averaged a triple double in 3 straight seasons (2016-2019). In 2016, Westbrook tallied 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.4 assists and was named the Most Valuable Player in that season. 

A basketball player in defense tries to steal the ball

Notable Triple Double Records

  • Most Triple Double in a season: Russel Westbrook got a total of 42 triple doubles in the 2016-17 season. 
  • Youngest Player: Markelle Fultz, aged 19 years and 317 days. He tallied 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in a game against the Milwaukee Bucks. 
  • Oldest Player: Karl Malone, aged 40 years and 127 days. Malone recorded 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists against the San Antonio Spurs. 
  • Fastest Triple Double: Nikola Jokic recorded the fastest triple double in an NBA game. He achieved the record in 14 minutes and 33 seconds against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Related Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about double doubles in basketball.

Why Is It Called a Double-Double?

This accomplishment is called a double double because it features two stats with two digits. Therefore, a player can do a single double, a double double, a triple double, and so on.

What Player Has the Most Quadruple-Doubles?

Currently, there is no player who has had the most quadruple doubles yet. All of the players who have accomplished this feat, have only done it once, therefore, there is no winner.

Among those players who have accomplished a quadruple double, are Nate Thurmond, Alvin Robertson, Hakeem Olajuwon, and David Robinson.

Has Anyone Had a Quintuple Double in Basketball?

In an official NBA game, no player has ever recorded a quintuple double. However, there were a few players that came close. Hakeem Olajuwon recorded a quadruple double and was on the verge of a quintuple double.

He finished with 18 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists, 11 blocks, and only one steal. He came close to accomplishing the legendary feat three times. David Robinson, Andrei Kirilenko, and Draymond Green are three other players that came close to a quintuple double.


Getting a statistical achievement is no easy feat. Players get to be etched in the history books. If you want to impress coaches and other players, maybe you should try and get a double double. 

Remember also that basketball is a team sport and not a statistical competition. What’s more important is winning the game for your team. 

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.

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