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How many quadruple doubles have there been in the NBA?

For any event of notable cultural significance – from the beliefs of ancient Scandinavians to the biography of Andy Warhol – it will have memorable moments, which became for one reason or another, remembered, hallowed, vaulted – special. On the basketball court, such a role is assigned to records, of which one of the most unique is the quadruple-double. We have seen a lot of triple-doubles, and in the modern period, it is no longer surprising for a player to average triple-double through an entire regular-season. However, achieving quadruple-double is much more difficult. For the people who have just started watching basketball and the NBA in general it is worth explaining exactly what a quadruple double is.

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What is a quadruple double?

What is a quadruple double? A quadruple-double simply a statistical line, in whicha player during a single game, records four of the five base counting categories, points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, in double-digits (10+). To achieve such a feat in addition to talent, a well rounded skill set and some versatile physical attributes – a sufficient amount of game time is also required. Not to mention even greater portion of luck. The official history of the NBA has only 4 recorded quadruple-doubles, the most recent of which took place more than 20 years ago. Even though a lot of players came close none of them managed to get to this historical achievement. Let’s have a look at those players who have got over the line! We should also emphasize that there has been no quintuple-double, where all five major counting stats are recorded in double digits, in a professional match of the NBA.

1. Nate Thurmond – 18 October 1974 (22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists, and 12 blocks)

Akron, the birthplace of “Alcoholics Anonymous” and a host of basketball talents, raised not only one of the most talented basketball players of the 21st century (Mr LeBron James), but also the author of the first-ever quadruple-double, Nate Thurmond. The dominant big man from the Golden State Warriors was somewhat lost against the background of his more eminent contemporaries but he was able to enter the history of the NBA, becoming the first author of a very unique statistical achievement.

It happened at the end of his career, with the Chicago Bulls. Remarkably, the record was set in the opening match of the season. Against the Atlanta Hawks, he was simply unstoppable and managed get to everything on the court. However, the center’s performance for the rest of the year was far from his best. Thurmond averaged 7.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.4 blocks.

2. Alvin Robertson – 18 February 1986 (20 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, and 10 steals)

The next author of a quadruple-double was another famous player Alvin Robertson, who is one of the most memorable guys in the history of the San Antonio Spurs. Inspired by his All-Star Game debut, Robertson produced a truly stellar performance: not only did he make a quadruple-double with steals but also managed to do it in just 36 minutes of court time.

The season, in general, came out very fruitful for the guard. In addition to participating in the All-Star game, Alvin was simultaneously awarded Defensive Player of the Year and the NBA’s Most Improved Player. He also lead the NBA in the steals with 3.7 per game.

Subsequently, the shooting guard managed to get close to another quadruple twice: in 1988, Robertson lacked two steals with the Spurs, and in 1990 – for the Milwaukee Bucks, he recorded 27 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists and 8 steals. Robertson was a versatile player, which every team would have wished to add to its roster. Throughout his career, he was phenomenal and did his job to a very high level every night.

3. Hakeem Olajuwon – 29 March 1990 (18 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists, and 11 blocks)

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In fact, the statistical milestone for one of the games greats was actually originally achieved by Olajuwon on March 3rd 1990, in a match against the Golden State Warriors. However in a twist of statistical quirk Rod Thorn, the Leagu’s incumbent Vice President, reviewed the game tape and reduced the number of assists to nine, thus depriving Olajuwon of another landmark moment in his career. Even though this subject remains controversial, Olajuwon only has 1 quadruple-double registered for his his career. Raised under the scorching sun of Africa talented and motivated Olajuwon twice managed to win the NBA title, taking maximum advantage while Michael Jordan was retired temporarily.

It is worth mentioning that the witness of the historic moment that evening was Alvin Robertson, who was a part of the opposing team. Hakeem was a tremendous player who not only terrorized opponents’ defenders, but himself was very active and prolific on defense. Hakeem’s post moves and strength enabled him to have an upper hand against almost every other player of his era.

4. David Robinson – 17 February 1994 (34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, and 10 blocks)

The author of the most recent quadruple-double was a prototype of the ideal center, one of the most educated athletes in history and pleasant in every sense – David “The Admiral” Robinson. Unlike Hakeem before him, Robinson’s first atempt at a quadruple double did not take place for quite objective reasons: in January 1994, the center fell slightly short when he “only” recorded 8 blocks. The full result was accomplished by Robinson a month later.

According to tradition, which later became good among the coaches of Spurs, the coach of the team John Lucas II said that at the end of the match he was angry at Robinson because the latter scored only 34 points instead of 41 (Robinson missed 7 free throws). In this you can see the routes of the Spurs Dynasty that dominated the first 20 years ofthe 21st Century. Starting off with Robinsons only title in 1999.


Which players came close?

After almost 27 years since it’s last apearance in a box score, the quadruple-double remains unachieved. Ricky Rubio, Tim Duncan, Andrei Kirilenko, Draymond Green – these players have come close but lacked a little to achieve the record.

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The case of Green is surprising because he needed points, maybe the easiest catagory to reach 10 in, to accomplish this remarkable milestone. Against the Memphis Grizzlies, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, 10 steals, 5 blocks, but only 4 points! Green has never been “famous” for scoring but this game will remain in his mind for a long time. Triple-doubles in the modern NBA happen frequently, but it remains very difficult to have double digits in 4 categories.