After turning 40, only one NBA player managed to complete a triple-double – Karl Malone – ClutchPoints

Despite the fact that we have recently witnessed a mild inflation of the value of the triple-double, courtesy of Russell Westbrook, there is no doubt it has remained one of the most respected and admired single game achievements in the NBA.

Not recording a triple-double doesn’t necessarily mean that a player didn’t have a monster performance. You might recall LeBron having “just” a double-double with 52 points, 11 assists and 9 rebounds (Lebron was actually stripped of the final rebound), or a similar performance by Dwyane Wade from the 2008-2009 season when he had an amazing 50/9/10 performance in a triple OT affair against the Jazz. However, achieving a triple-double, even of the low-key 10/10/10 variety, virtually guarantees that a player had a substantial impact on the game.

Associated Press

Recording double-digits in at least three statistical categories during a game suggests that the player is either close to or at the peak of his game, has a well-rounded set of skills, and gets enough playing time to fill up the statsheet. Although Karl Malone’s triple double of 10 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists wasn’t extraordinary, it was very much awe-inspiring if you consider the following:

1.   At 40 years, 127 days of age he was quite past his prime.

Even though he had won the MVP award just four years earlier at the age of 36, it’s hard to think that his body and game were even close to their prime at over 40 years of age.  Last season, only five players older than 30 recorded a triple double, and only Lebron was older than 32.

2.   He didn’t actually get much playing time, only 26 minutes.

When deteriorating athleticism and skillset become a limiting factor, one would expect that attaining a triple-double would be facilitated by longer time spent

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