As we enter Sunday afternoon in mid-April, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook is looking to break Hall-of-Famer Oscar Robertson’s record for most triple-doubles  in a single NBA season. He would also surpass the legendary Wilt Chamberlain for most triple-double games in an NBA career at 78.
Westbrook tied the mark less than a week ago against the Milwaukee Bucks and has come within a fingertip’s reach to the record the past two games. For a mark that has held ground for over fifty years, the sports world should be praising Russ for his accomplishments in pursuit of greatness. But where’s the roar…?
These days, statistics are the main frame of all acknowledgement, the obvious subject to all objects, the element of all forms of measurement of stature in all of sports. If we ever want to provide a highlight of an NBA night, a triple-double normally poses as the stable measurement in statistics. But how do we measure the value of a triple-double when the teams sculpts its game plan to favor a single player’s achievements…?
In a season where he is having to inherit the full leadership role due to the team’s offseason loss of all-star Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook has grabbed the bull by the horns and made the best of it. Some say that this is merely a one-man band and the team is bunch of jackrabbits prancing around one legitimate basketball player. But that’s rubbish. Not only has he led the team to 45-win season, but they have elso established themselves as a playoff team that isn’t going to be an easy play.
Russ has certainly made a fool of those critics who doubted the Thunder of possibly playing more than 82 games. He has become OKC’s foundation and helped craft a well-balanced team that will bring heat to the game’s best teams. In the age of the NBA when we criticize these pro athletes for not being “team players” and goofing on them for their one-on-one play rather than being dedicated towards plays and schemes, we now find ourselves hindering any acknowledgement for them passing the ball. Because assists are so crucial in accomplishing a triple-double, it has become a double standard of criticism from old school athletes and fans to new age.
If we looked at the all-time list of players to accomplish the most triple-doubles in NBA history and we would find atop a nice salt-and-pepper sprinkled mixture of vintage and new:
1. Oscar Robertson, 181.
2. Magic Johnson, 138.
3. Jason Kidd, 107.
4. Wilt Chamberlain, 78.
5. Russell Westbrook, 78.
6. Larry Bird, 59.
7. Lebron James, 54.
Michael Jordan, the “greatest” basketball player of all-time, doesn’t even crack the top ten! Jordan only collected *30 in his 15-year career. [*28 regular season, 2 playoff]
Let’s not forget Oscar Robertson held this record has dated back to the 1961-62 NBA season. The “Big O” also did it in his sophomore year in the NBA…but for a statistical mark to be guarded for 55 years is illustrious and honorable. It’s comparable to the MLB games played mark Cal Ripken Jr. surpassed back in 1995. IRON-ically, that streak lasted for 56 years!!
Rather than criticizing Russ for altering a team’s game plan to attain such a mark that measures a player’s hard work and dedication to teamwork, we should be meriting him. Not only has he led a team to playoff form, but he has also done so in style.