7 NBA records that are even more untouchable than Oscar Robertson's 41 triple-doubles
By: Adi Joseph
Oscar Robertson’s record of 41 triple-doubles in a season was supposedly unbreakable. Then Kevin Durant left Russell Westbrook to his own devices, and the Thunder point guard turned into a triple-double cannonball.
Westbrook already has tied Robertson and has three games remaining to break the record — all while he’s also locked up a triple-double average for the season. This is one of those things that we never really believed we’d see in a season, and it’s been a whirlwind — one dramatically affecting the MVP race — to witness.
Are no records sacred? That’s not quite accurate. The pace-and-space modern era has dramatically affected the NBA record books, but we managed to find seven* feats that no one in this era seems capable of touching.
1. Rasheed Wallace’s 41 technical fouls in one season (2000-01).
Arguably the most untouchable NBA record ever, thanks to the new(ish) rule that players are suspended once they reach 16 unsportsmanlike techs. Now, one could draw 41 technicals based on small rules infractions like calling timeouts that the team doesn’t have. But a player would almost have to try to hurt his team by doing that sort of thing.
2. Walt Bellamy’s 88-game regular season (1968-69).
Another one that could arguably be untouchable, Bellamy was able to do it because he traded midseason from the Knicks to the Pistons. He had played 35 games with New York, but the Pistons had only played 29 games at the time of the trade. So Bellamy ended up not missing a game — and playing 88. This won’t happen again because the schedule is so much better-balanced in today’s NBA world, with the league actively trying to minimize tight schedules for rest purposes.
3. A.C. Green’s 1,192 consecutive games played.
Speaking of rest, it seems highly unlikely that a player would even attempt to do what Green managed. The Lakers, Suns, Mavericks and Heat power forward missed only three games in his entire career, and they were all in his second season — meaning he had more than 14 consecutive years of not missing a game. Rest, injury and simple stakes make it unlikely that anyone will replicate this.
4. Dennis Rodman’s 29.7% single-season total rebound rate (1994-95).
Rodman grabbed nearly 30% of the available rebounds while he was on the court in 1994-95. This is particularly fascinating because it came in his second season with the Spurs, as he was becoming a real problem for the team. That number is the product of a bit of selfishness and remarkable knack for getting rebounds. No other player has ever topped 27%, and Rodman owns six of the seven best seasons in the statistic.
5. Darryl Dawkins’ 386 personal fouls in one season (1983-84).
That was 4.765 fouls per game, over 81 games. Can you even imagine a player being allowed to do that now? Coaches wouldn’t tolerate it, and opponents would exploit it. No one has come within 40 of Dawkins’ record since 2000, as personal fouls across the NBA have gone down (from 51.6 per game in 1983-84 to 40.0 per game this season). Remarkably, Dawkins was doing it for a playoff-bound Nets team.
6. Bill Russell’s 11 championships.
Yeah. Nobody’s doing this.
7. Wilt Chamberlain’s … everything.
Let’s see. Wilt put up season averages of:
• 50.4 points per game (1961-62)
• 27.2 rebounds per game (1960-61)
• 48.5 minutes per game (1961-62)
• 17.0 free throw attempts per game (1961-62)
He also had single-game records with 100 points (which actually might be the easiest of these to break) and 55 rebounds. This man’s NBA records have their own Wikipedia page. Bow down.