News That Matters

NBA players to have recorded a quadruple double

The NBA has had its fair share of star talents over the years with the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant just a few examples of the players who have graced the court since 1946. 

Since then though, only a distinct few have managed to achieve the feat of recording a quadruple-double. Here we pay tribute to the players in question.

Before we dive into the names in the frame, you might be wondering what a quadruple-double is. Well, let us fill you in. There are five key metrics by which basketball performance is measured namely points, rebounds, steals, assists and blocks. 

A quadruple-double occurs when a player hits double figures in four of those categories; it’s not easily done with just four players having managed it. Keep on reading to find out who.

David Robinson

The quadruple-double game

We kick of our list with the most recent occurrence of a quadruple-double but even that takes you all the way back to February 1994. Robinson was playing for the San Antonio Spurs when the Detroit Pistons came to town. The match, which ended in a 96-115 Spurs win, was a much more evenly contested affair than the score suggests. Robinson proved the difference. He netted 34 points – more than anyone else on this list – before hitting 10, 10, 10 in blocks, rebounds and assists to complete the quadruple-double. 

The player 

Make no mistake about it, Robinson didn’t nail his quadruple-double because of anything other than an insane amount of talent. The Naval Academy graduate was the first overall pick in the 1987 draft. It was the Spurs that selected him and that’s where he stayed until his retirement in 2003. Robinson arrived in the NBA with a huge amount of hype having led the NCAA in blocks and rebounds during his time at that level. Boy, he didn’t disappoint. 

He set a high bar in his inaugural season by winning Rookie of the Year alongside the first of 10 All-Star call ups. Robinson is also a two time NBA Champion and scooped the league MVP award in 1995 whist two Olympic Golds and a World Championship round of his trophy cabinet nicely.

Hakeem Olajuwon

The quadruple-double game

The fact we have been waiting 26 years for a quadruple-double since Robinson produced his sparkling display is proof that achievements like that don’t roll around all that often. That is a true statement; at least it is for most people. Hakeem Olajuwon is not most people. The seven foot center recorded two quadruple-doubles in his career. 

They came within 26 days of one another and both in March 1990; it’s highly plausible you’ll never see anything like it again. The first came on March 3rd. The Rockets visited the Golden State Warriors and left with a 129-109 victory in the bag. Their main man scored 29 points, grabbed 18 rebounds, 11 blocks and 10 assists. Then on March 29th Olajuwon was at it again as he teed up baskets for his teammates on 10 occasions, won 16 rebounds, 11 blocks and netted 18 points.

The player 

Nigerian born Olajuwon spent a total of 18 years in the NBA with all but two of them coming with the Houston Rockets, who took him at number on in the 1984 draft. 

He made the rookie first team in his inaugural NBA season and, after that, didn’t take long to cement his place amongst the best in the league on a more regular basis with a combined nine all-defensive team honours coming his way. That’s not all though. 

He also led the league on blocks in three seasons, rebounds twice and scooped back to back Finals MVP awards as the Rockets won consecutive Championships in 1994 and 1995; Olajuwon was named season MVP in the former. We could go on and on.

Alvin Robertson

The quadruple-double game

The next name on our list, Alvin Robertson, takes us back to the Spurs and, like Olajuwon, came out of the 1984 draft. The Spurs were hosting the Phoenix Suns; the match up would prove to be one of the highlights of a season that saw them fall at the first playoff hurdle. 

Robertson, who is the only non-center to ever record a quadruple-double, masterminded his performance courtesy of some top drawer defensive work. Yes, he hit 20 points and, yes, he posted 10 assists alongside 11 rebounds. 

It’s good but it’s nothing unique. Then came the fourth component of his quadruple-double – steals. Robertson managed to record 10 steals making him the only player to deliver a quadruple-double with steals as one of the measures.   

The player 

Right, we’ve already touched on a couple of bits about Robertson, so let’s crack on with some further detail. He joined the Spurs after graduating from Arkansas college as the seventh overall pick in the 1984 draft. Despite being hot property, it wasn’t until his now renowned 1986 season that he started to show his class. 

Of course, his quadruple-double came in the same year but it was far from an anomaly in his displays. He was named Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, made the All-Star game and made the defensive second team. We guess that’s the sort of reward you get when posting a field goal conversion of 51.4% and leading the league on steals. 

He wasn’t just outperforming his peers though with his average of 3.7 steals per game remaining a NBA record today. Even Robertson couldn’t get close to that number again despite leading the league a further two times (1987 and 1991). Those three years helped him post a record breaking career average in steals.

Nate Thurmond

The quadruple-double game

Finally, we come to the first ever player to produce a quadruple-double. Nate Thurmond and his Chicago Bulls teammates welcomed the Atlanta Hawks to the Chicago Stadium. The sides went at it hammer and tong for 48 minutes but couldn’t be separated at the end of quarter four. Overtime was needed but eventually the Bulls ran out 120-115 winners. 

Why? Largely because of the impact Thurmond had on the match. His quadruple-double was unbelievable. Firstly, nobody had ever done it before, which always makes an achievement more special but, secondly, he’s the only player to record a quadruple-double with room to spare. What we mean by this is that all four of his statistics were well clear of the 10 needed. He scored 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists and 12 blocks. Insane.

The player

The other three players we’ve mentioned have hit their quadruple-doubles fairly early in their NBA careers. Not Thurmond. Thurmond was a first round pick by the San Francisco Warriors in 1963 and he’d go on to spend 11 years with the franchise making the All-Defensive first team twice and featuring in the All-Star game on six occasions. 

Then came a move to the Bulls and it was actually his first appearance for the team when ‘Nate the Great’ recorded his quadruple-double. Unfortunately, it proved the high point of Thurmond’s post Warriors career. 

After two year years with the Bulls he joined the Cavaliers but there was a mismatch of styles and he struggled for minutes. Despite that, he’s still ranked as one of the NBA’s best ever players; his time as a Warrior was that good.

There you have it, the four players to record a quadruple-double. You can check TwinSpires Edge article for further info on this topic:

How long will we wait for the next one?