What is a triple double in basketball and how is it obtained?

One of the most extraordinary achievements a player can make in a game is to record a triple double in basketball. If you are interested in NBA basketball, you have undoubtedly been exposed to the phrase “triple-double” at some point.

Achieving a triple-double in a basketball game used to be a major milestone that occurred very rarely, but in today’s game, triple-doubles occur with considerably greater frequency. Despite this, triple-doubles are only awarded to the best players in the game and are not something to be taken lightly.

Do you have any idea what it means to get a triple double in basketball? Don’t worry, because that’s exactly what we’re going to discuss in today’s article. And even if you already know the meaning, there will be some fascinating historical information and intriguing facts that you will appreciate even if you are already familiar with the term.

Definition of triple double in basketball

A triple double is when a player achieves double figures in three of the five different statistical categories during a single game. Most players today achieve a triple-double by scoring points, grabbing rebounds, and dishing out assists. It is quite difficult to record steals and/or blocks in double digits.

Triple doubles are not an end goal in themselves but are a by-product of good overall performance statistics. This is true even though achieving a triple-double is undeniably an impressive feat and almost always indicates that the player who achieved it had an incredible game.

How do you get a triple double?

A performance that is a triple-double is truly impressive and has many desirable qualities. All credit for a wonderful performance, from the praise of coaches and teammates to the satisfaction of the spectators who enjoy it.

As just noted, to achieve a triple double in basketball, a player must score double figures (ten or more) in three of the five statistical categories:


When it comes to achieving a triple double in basketball, scoring 10 points in a game is often the least difficult milestone to achieve. As long as you score, it doesn’t matter whether the points come from a two-point basket, a free throw, or a three-point shot; the important thing is that you score 10 or more points.


You have to grab 10 or more rebounds during a game, these can be either defensive or offensive rebounds. It is much easier for small forwards and power forwards to collect 10 rebounds in a single game, but there have been many guards and point guards who have made a name for themselves by being very good at it such as Russell Westbrook, Luka Doncic, and Chris Paul to name a few.

In any case, getting rebounds is a difficult task when there are nine other players on the court competing for the same position as you.


Players who primarily dribble the ball, such as the new-age point guard or small forward, have an easier time reaching 10 assists in a single game. They are often difficult to achieve, as they need to make good passes to teammates while in possession of the ball, and the play of that pass must result in points for the team.

Stealing the ball

Getting ten steals in a single game is very rare, but not impossible. Keep in mind that this is not an easy statistic to achieve, in fact, there are very few players who have reached this milestone in their careers.

Blocking shots at the basket

Blocks are slightly more frequent than steals and there are players who have reached the milestone of 10 blocks in a single game, some even more than once. However, compared to scoring, rebounding and assists are much harder to come by.

Characteristics and skills to achieve triple double in basketball

Characteristics and skills to achieve triple doubles in basketball

A triple double, like many other “flashy” things in basketball, is not easy to make, and you should not expect to acquire one unless you are willing to put in the necessary amount of effort to do so. They are not granted, and their occurrence is not the result of chance. On the contrary, triple-doubles are something that must be earned and contested.

There are five qualities you need to have to make a triple double in basketball, and they are as follows:

  1. Focus and determination: You will have four quarters or two halves to reach double digits in three different statistical categories, something that cannot be done unless you stay focused on the goal during game time. Concentration and determination are the keys to achieving this goal.
  2. Be the focus of attention: It will be difficult to get a triple double if you are not the player everyone is looking at while you are on the court. This doesn’t have to be the case in every single game, but at the very least in that particular game. If you don’t have it, you will struggle to enter enough information on the stat sheet.
  3. Versatility: You have to be very active on the court to achieve the goal of finishing with a triple double in basketball. You must score more than 10 points, accumulate 10 assists and grab at least 10 rebounds. The same goes for steals and blocks; to be successful in the latter areas, you have to be a competent defender.
  4. Physical stamina: Maintaining stamina is essential if you want to finish a basketball game; if you feel tired after the first half, you won’t have enough energy to play the second half. He will have to keep fighting throughout the game because it is doubtful that he will get the triple-double in the first half of the game.
  5. Timing: This is an essential aspect of the game because, in addition to possessing excellent basketball intelligence, you will have to know when and how to express yourself during the game. When to shoot, when to pass, when to attack the boards, when to be active on defense and when to run in transition.

After the game, the player will most likely feel completely drained if he has managed to record a triple double. The best players understand that getting a triple-double is physically demanding, but they also have the ability to recover quickly and return to action in the next game.

NBA players with the most triple-doubles made

The NBA is undoubtedly the league that has contributed the most triple doubles to basketball for decades. Let’s take a look at the players who lead the league with the most triple doubles to date:

RankPhotoPlayerTriple Doubles
1Russell Westbrook foto de perfilRussell Westbrook194
2Oscar Robertson foto de perfilOscar Robertson181
3Magic Johnson foto de perfilMagic Johnson138
4Jason Kidd foto de perfilJason Kidd107
5LeBron James foto de perfilLeBron James105
6Nikola Jokić foto de perfilNikola Jokić79
7Wilt Chamberlain foto de perfilWilt Chamberlain78
8James Harden foto de perfilJames Harden69
9Larry Bird foto de perfilLarry Bird59
10Luka Dončić foto de perfilLuka Dončić50

Frequently Asked Questions about triple double in basketball

What is the most common way to achieve a triple double?

The most typical triple double will consist of points, assists, and rebounds; however, this does not mean that there are no triple-doubles that include scoring in other more complex categories such as blocks and steals.

Why are triple-doubles so much more common in the NBA compared to other leagues?

Is the triple double overrated in basketball?


The triple double in basketball is a not-so-easy achievement, as achieving 10 or more in three different categories is no easy task; however, it is not impossible either. With the changes in basketball regulations, it looks like we will continue to see more players achieve a triple-double.

Esteban Gomes

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