Larry Bird: The Triple Doubles

In the beginning, there was no such thing. You just had a good game with double figures in points, rebounds and assists, which, admittedly, was a mouthful.

Then Laker public relations man Bruce Jolesch came up with the term "triple-double," and a new sports concept was born.

Bird's first such affair came in his 14th NBA game on the evening of Nov. 14, 1979. The opponent: Detroit. The numbers: 23 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists in 36 minutes. It was the first of 67 career triple-doubles, 58 of which came during the regular season. In addition, Bird would have 62 games in which he would miss a triple-double by either one assist (38 times), one rebound (23 times) or one basket (once).

Triple-doubles meant less than nothing to Bird, and he proved it in 1985 when he spurned an opportunity to rack up a quadruple-double. He was playing in Salt Lake City, and at the end of the third period he had 30 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 9 steals. The Celtics were up by 22.

When K.C. Jones was informed that Bird was one away from a unique milestone, he gave Bird a chance to go back in. Bird said no.

"I already did enough damage," he reasoned. "Why go for it, if we're up by 30? If it mattered, I'd have been out there trying to get it, but it wasn't no big deal."

Bird simply didn't care about triple-doubles. "That's just a meaningless stat which gets hyped by the media," he said. "I could get a triple-double every night if I want to, but it doesn't always help the team win."

Even Bird had to be impressed with himself the night of April 1, 1987. That's when he had 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the first half against the Bullets. "He's playing in his own league," gushed Washington coach Kevin Loughery. "Maybe it's a league other guys can't get to."

- Final triple-double: March 15, 1992, vs. Portland (49-14-12)

- Most in one season: 10 (1985-86, '89-90)

- Boston: regular season, 22; playoffs, 5

- Hartford: 2

- Away: regular season, 34; playoffs, 4


FLCeltsFan said...

Bird was so good. But he didn't play for the stats. He could have had a quadruple double but didn't want to go back in just for the stat. There will never be another player like him.

Lex said...

I think only a couple of players have ever had quadruple doubles, and he effectively had one after three quarters.

holy crap

Lex said...


Lex said...

For some reason I thought Fat Lever had one

FLCeltsFan said...

I'd forgotten the Nate Thurmond one. I thought for sure Oscar Robertson had one. Bird was one steal away from one but wouldn't go back in the game when offered. Gotta love that guy.

FLCeltsFan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FLCeltsFan said...

Yeah, his was in 3 quarters and he had a whole quarter to try to get that one steal but stats didn't mean that much to him.

Follow by Email