Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook just tied Hall-of-Famer Oscar Robertson for the most triple-doubles in NBA history during their 133-132 win over the Indiana Pacers.
Prior to Westbrook’s historic night, Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson, who had a knack of racking up triple-doubles himself, spoke about the 9-time All-Star closing in on the record. In a way, the 5-time NBA champion gave his appreciation and respect for Westbrook’s game.
Here’s what Magic said about Westbrook, via David Aldridge of The Athletic:
“When we show highlights, it’s how many points somebody had, how far can they shoot out on the court. Russell Westbrook is neither one of those things. He gets all these triple-doubles, but you don’t see him on the highlights.
We’re seeing guys who get 50 or 60 (points), or 45, or who had eight 3-pointers. But we didn’t appreciate and show him getting … I mean, the other night, you get, I think it was 20 boards? People have played 13 years, 15 years, and never get 20 rebounds. Same with assists. I know I got 24 a lot, but for him to get 24, there’s guards who’s played who would never get even 20 (assists). The things he’s been able to do, hopefully, we will say, ‘Give him his love, give him his respect.’ This is really big. This is something I couldn’t even do. I know how big it is.”
There have been critics about Westbrook purposefully stat-padding to get those triple-doubles. Nonetheless, Magic definitely knows how hard it is to rack up assists and rebounds, especially on a nightly basis.
Heck, not only is Westbrook doing this every night, he’s been on this triple-double tear over the last five seasons. After the conclusion of this campaign, Westbrook will average a trip-dub in four of the past five campaigns.
Just like Magic, let’s all appreciate what Russell Westbrook is doing while he’s still playing at an extremely high level.