Hall-of-Famer Oscar Robertson wants everyone to know he’s a Russell Westbrook fan.
In an interview with the New York Times, Robertson shared his thoughts on the whole ‘triple-doubles’ craze and why he won’t be at all miffed if Westbrook breaks his record. All’s fair in the game of basketball.
Before the league even knew what to call a ‘triple-double,’ Robertson was averaging them over an entire season. On Monday night, when the Washington Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers, Westbrook equaled Robertson’s record and will average a triple-double in a season for the fourth time in his career. It was his 178th triple-double, just three shy of Roberson’s record of 181.
As Westbrook edges closer and closer to Robertson’s numbers, no one is happier to see Westbrook succeed than Mr. Triple Double himself. When asked whether he was rooting for Westbrook to break his own record, Robertson replied, “There’s no doubt about it. I hope he gets it. I think he’s one of the elite guards in basketball, and I think it’s ridiculous that some sportswriters criticize him because he has not won a championship.”
Game recognizes game: Oscar Robertson only wants the best for Russell Westbrook
The term “triple-double” wasn’t coined until the early 1980s, when Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers was posting insane numbers and analyst Harvey Pollack wanted to find a statistic to describe just how good of a player Johnson was.
Back then, people apparently just called Robertson’s big-game performances…big-game performances. Robertson said, “In those days, they focused on scoring and the blocking of shots. There wasn’t much publicity associated with it.”
These days, the talk of ‘triple-doubles’ continues to divide fans and has since desensitized the term to the point where some don’t believe it’s that great of a statistic anymore.
Well, Westbrook is doing it the most. Triple-doubles, that is. His tenth-seeded Wizards will face the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night as Westbrook fights to keep Washington’s playoff hopes alive. If he can record a triple-double in that game too, you can bet Robertson will be one of the first to congratulate him.