History was made on Monday at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, as Washington Wizards superstar Russell Westbrook became the NBA’s all-time triple-double leader. He passed Oscar Robertson, who recorded 181 triple-doubles during his legendary career and held the record since 1974.
Even though the Wizards lost to the Atlanta Hawks by one, it was still an incredible night for Westbrook, who will average a triple-double for an entire season for the fourth time. He received congratulations from several current and former players after breaking a record no one thought could be broken.
LeBron James, Jason Kidd, Gary Payton, and Magic Johnson are four of the best players in NBA history. However, they looked foolish after Westbrook broke Robertson’s record.
LeBron James, Jason Kidd, Gary Payton, and Magic Johnson once said no one would break Oscar Robertson’s record
LeBron, Kidd, Payton, and Magic were once asked if anyone could break Robertson’s triple-double record. All four legends said no.
Westbrook wasn’t in the league when the question was posed to the NBA greats. However, he still unintentionally made LeBron, Kidd, Payton, and Magic look unwise.
One of the most explosive point guards in NBA history, Westbrook had eight triple-doubles during his first six seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s racked up 174 over the last seven seasons with the Thunder, Houston Rockets and Wizards.
When Kevin Durant left the Thunder in the summer of 2016 to sign with the Golden State Warriors, something changed for Westbrook, and he started putting up video game numbers.
Russell Westbrook started making history in 2016-17
The 2016-17 season was the first campaign Westbrook and the Thunder played without Durant. The former UCLA Bruin had 42 triple-doubles and became the first player since Robertson in 1961-62 to average a triple-double.
Westbrook won the MVP Award and also led the NBA in scoring in 2016-17. He averaged a triple-double three seasons in a row after Durant signed with the Warriors. The nine-time All-Star put up 26.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 10.4 assists per game over his final 234 contests with the Thunder.
In his lone season with the Rockets in 2019-20, Westbrook averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists and registered eight triple-doubles. He was traded to the Wizards for John Wall before the 2020-21 season and has already broken Washington’s triple-double record.
Westbrook has developed a close relationship with Robertson over the past few years. He thanked the Big O and other players he looked up to after making history.
Russ speaks out on triple-double record
Westbrook thanked Robertson, Magic, and Kidd for inspiring him to play the way that he plays. Johnson is third all-time with 138 triple-doubles, Kidd finished his career with 107, and LeBron is the closest among active players with 99.
“It’s just a blessing,” Westbrook said. “You put so much into the game. You put in so much time. You sacrifice so much, and to be able to mentioned with guys like Oscar and Magic and Jason Kidd and those guys, it’s just something I never dreamt about when I was a young kid growing up in LA. I’m truly grateful for moments like this.”
Along with breaking Robertson’s triple-double record against the Hawks, Westbrook also surpassed 8,000 career assists, joining Robertson, LeBron, and Payton as the only players in NBA history to accomplish that feat with 20,000-plus career points.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.