What Does Triple Double Mean?

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A triple double is a basketball statistic achieved when a player records double digits (10 or more) in three of the following categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals, or blocks. It is considered a significant achievement in basketball as it reflects a player’s ability to contribute across multiple aspects of the game. Triple doubles are often associated with all-around players who have a high level of skill and versatility. The term “triple double” has become widely used and recognized in basketball, and players who consistently achieve this feat are highly regarded in the sport.

Do you recognize the names Russell Westbrook, Magic Johnson, Chelsea Gray, and Courtney Vandersloot? If you do, then you probably know that they are not only talented basketball players but also part of an exclusive club—the triple double club!

So, what exactly is a triple double? In the world of basketball statistics, it refers to a player’s performance in a game. The five main categories used to measure a player’s performance are points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. When a player reaches double digits in three of these categories, it is called a triple double.

If you have ever played or watched basketball, you might already be familiar with what each of these statistics represents. Points indicate the number of goals scored by a player. While most shots in basketball are worth two points, players can also score three-point shots or one-point free throws.

Rebounds occur when a player retrieves the basketball after a missed shot. Assists, on the other hand, happen when a player makes a pass that leads to a basket. Steals occur when one player takes the ball away from another, and blocks happen when a player blocks another player’s shot with their hand.

As you can see, these statistics provide valuable insights into a player’s performance. That’s why they are highly valued by coaches, team owners, and fans. Achieving a triple double is a clear indication that a player’s hard work and practice are paying off.

In the National Basketball Association (NBA), the career record for triple doubles is held by Oscar Robertson, who played for the Milwaukee Bucks and Cincinnati Royals. Known as “Mr. Triple Double,” Robertson achieved 181 triple doubles before retiring in 1974.

Triple doubles are less common in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), possibly due to the shorter duration of games and seasons. However, Tamika Catchings of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever made history by achieving a quintuple double, which means reaching double digits in all five categories. Catchings played from 2002 to 2016.

Achieving a quintuple double or a triple double is certainly an impressive accomplishment. However, a double double, which refers to reaching double digits in two of the major statistics, is also worth celebrating.

If your goal is to finish a basketball game with a triple double, keep practicing! Who knows, you might one day join the ranks of the greatest athletes of all time.

Give It a Try

Continue learning with the help of a friend, family member, or the activities below!

  • Discover more about the remarkable careers of Tamika Catchings and Oscar Robertson. What aspects of their achievements impress you the most? Summarize your findings for a friend or family member.
  • Expand your knowledge on the subject of statistics. Have you learned anything about statistics in school? Besides sports, where else do you think statistics could be valuable? Discuss this with a friend or family member.
  • Invite a few friends or family members to engage in outdoor activities. Visit a basketball court, baseball field, or skating rink. You could even find an open field for a game of tag. Just find an energetic way to enjoy quality time together!

Sources for Further Reading

  • https://jr.nba.com/double-double-and-triple-double/ (accessed 01 Apr. 2021)
  • https://www.basketball-reference.com/leaders/trp_dbl_career.html (accessed 01 Apr. 2021)
  • https://www.wnba.com/history_triple-doubles-dunks-and-20-20-games/ (accessed 01 Apr. 2021)
  • https://www.ducksters.com/sports/basketball/statistics.php (accessed 01 Apr. 2021)
  • https://www.indystar.com/story/sports/basketball/wnba/2014/12/17/the-tamika-catchings-you-may-not-know/20539977/ (accessed 01 Apr. 2021)
  • https://www.nba.com/stats/help/faq/ (accessed 01 Apr. 2021)
  • https://learnersdictionary.com/ (accessed 01 Apr. 2021)

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