What Is a Double-Double in Basketball?

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Unless you're a serious basketball fan, you may not know what a double-double means but you've probably seen the results. A player who has scored at least 10 points and also racked up 10 assists, blocked shots, or other some other statistical achievement, is said to have scored a double-double. Although not as impressive as they used to be, scoring a double-double during a game is still an impressive feat for a player.

Ways of Scoring

The double-double gets its name from the double-digit stats a player racks up in two of basketball's statistical categories: assists, blocks, points, rebounds, and steals. The most common way to record a double-double is by scoring 10 or more points and grabbing 10 or more rebounds. Almost as common is a player scoring 10 or more points and dishing 10 or more assists.

Players occasionally put up double-doubles by reaching double digits in scoring and either steals or blocked shots, though these combinations are rare. And even more impressive feat is the double-O (sometimes called the 20-20 or double double-double), which is 20 points in two statistical categories.

Double-Double Leaders

Wilt Chamberlain was the first NBA player to put up 900 career double-doubles in the regular season and finished with 968. Chamberlain, who averaged a double-double in each of his 14 NBA seasons, even put up a double-double in an NBA-best 227 consecutive games. After the merger of the 

Former San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan is thought to be a prototypical double-double player and finished his career as the NBA playoff leader with 164 double-doubles in 19 postseasons and 841 in the regular season. Other NBA stars who are leaders in the 20-20 club include Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kevin Garnett, and Shaquille O'Neal.

Beyond the Double-Double

More impressive than a double-double is the triple-double, when a player scores double digits in three statistical categories, usually points, rebounds, and assists. Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook has been one of the league's leaders in recent years, notching 42 during his MVP 2016-17 season. In tournament play, Magic Johnson and LeBron James have been leading triple-double shooters. 

Only a few NBA players can lay claim to scoring a quad-double (double digits in four categories). The Houston Rockets' James Harden scored one ​on Jan. 8 2017, against the Toronto Raptors, making him the first player to do so since David Robinson in 1994.

A player earns a 30-30 or triple double-double by scoring at least 30 statistical points in two categories. The 30-30 is exceptionally rare. Charlotte's Dwight Howard scored a 30-30 in March 2018 against Brooklyn, becoming the first player since Kevin Love did it in 2010 when he was with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The only professional NBA player known to have scored a quadruple double-double is Wilt Chamberlain, who did it five times during his career with Philadelphia and Los Angeles. No player has ever recorded a quintuple double-double (double digits in all five statistical categories) in college or NBA basketball.