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Oscar Robertson has owned the record for most career triple-doubles since 1961-62.
It had become an afterthought of when, not if, Westbrook would surpass Robertson this season with his triple-double tear. But the NBA world will celebrate Westbrook’s triple-double greatness tonight and when he breaks the record because milestones like these just don’t change hands often. The last time an NBA all-time record was broken was when Ray Allen passed Reggie Miller on the all-time 3-pointers made list in 2011. That was a decade ago!
This triple-doubles record has been The Big O’s since 1962. Only two men have ever recorded 180 or more triple-doubles. The legendary Magic Johnson never got past 138, Jason Kidd retired at 107 and LeBron James is the next active player with the most triple-doubles at 99. –Ohm Youngmisuk
Russell Westbrook recorded his 181st career triple-double, tying him with Oscar Robertson for most in NBA history. It is Westbrook’s 10th career triple-double versus the Pacers, his most against a single opponent in his career pic.twitter.com/umLEQ2ZO7m
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 9, 2021
Congratulations to Russell Westbrook 👏
Fitting that it happens in the Big O’s hometown. https://t.co/VZ4v3z9K9r
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) May 9, 2021
Wow. Wow. @WashWizards win in OT. @russwest44 with the game ending block to seal the deal. Russ ties Oscar Robertson for the all-time triple-double record. In 9th spot, playing great basketball.#DCAboveAll https://t.co/DFTridnniR
— Ted Leonsis (@TedLeonsis) May 9, 2021
Westbrook’s path to breaking Robertson’s record
Triple-double No. 1: The first triple-double of Westbrook’s NBA career came on March 2, 2009 with the Thunder — the only one of his rookie season.
Year 1 without Kevin Durant (2016-17): Westbrook recorded 42 triple-doubles to break the Big O’s single-season record set over 50 years prior.
The following year: In a visit to Atlanta, Westbrook joined Robertson, Johnson and Kidd as the only players with 100 career triple-doubles.
2019: Westbrook set the NBA record with 11 straight triple-doubles. Three of the four longest such streaks in league history belong to him. Later that year as a Rocket, Russ’ 28 points, 13 boards and 10 dimes moved him ahead of Magic Johnson on the NBA’s all-time triple-double list
Now? He’s since gone on to become the Wizards’ all-time triple-double leader.
Carving his name into NBA history
Westbrook recorded his 10th career triple-double vs the Pacers, his most against a single opponent. He is the fourth player in NBA history to record at least 10 triple-doubles against one team, joining Robertson, Johnson and Wilt Chamberlain.
Westbrook has a triple-double against all 30 teams not just once, but multiple times. While he has had never had a quadruple-double in his career, he has recorded a triple-double and at least 10 turnovers in a game five times. That is the most such games since individual turnovers were first tracked in 1977-78.
Over his career, only Westbrook and LeBron James rank within the top 10 in points, rebounds and assists. Since his rookie season in 2008-09, his 181 triple-doubles are more than double James’ second-place total over that span; Westbrook led all players on both teams in points, rebounds and assists outright 41 times in his career. That is the most such games in NBA history according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Westbrook has recorded his fourth season with 700 rebounds and 700 assists, passing Robertson for the most in NBA history.
He will finish as the league leader in triple-doubles for the sixth time in his career, matching Robertson for the third-most seasons in NBA history. Only Kidd (11) and Johnson (10) have more such seasons.
ESPN’s Stats and Information contributed to this story.