Say what you will about the triple-double statistic and how it might be an overrated way of judging a player’s production, it is without a doubt attractive to see it on a stat sheet. Having triple-double ability means, at the very least, a player has the physical and mental intangibles to do the most important things on the floor.
Oscar Robertson is mainly known as the original triple-double king before Russell Westbrook took the crown after averaging one for 4 straight years. But which players have had the highest-scoring performances while grabbing a triple-double? By looking throughout NBA history, here are the 14 players with the highest scoring triple-doubles ever, with at least 50 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 10 assists. While Westbrook seems to get triple-doubles the easiest in NBA history, the real king might be James Harden.
14. Richie Guerin - 50 Points, 11 Rebounds, 13 Assists
Kicking off the list is 6-time All-Star and Hall of Famer Richie Guerin, native New Yorker and one of the most impactful players of the early 1960s. Guerin was unstoppable against the Philadelphia Warriors on February 25, 1962; becoming the first player to ever record a 50-point triple-double. The 6’4” shooting guard did this without the prevalent three-pointer, an indication of how spectacular the Knicks superstar was in his day.
13. Elgin Baylor - 50 Points, 15 Rebounds, 11 Assists, 48 Minutes
Elgin Baylor is one of the best forwards to ever play the game, but he managed to take his game to another level on February 13, 1963, when he put up 50 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists against the Boston Celtics. The fact Baylor put up this performance against the legendary Lakers rivals is only fitting and is another example of why “The Big Hurt” was a prime-time superstar and first-ballot Hall of Famer.
12. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 50 Points, 15 Rebounds, 11 Assists, 45 Minutes
Anytime a center can put up a triple-double, we know that player is truly one-of-a-kind. That perfectly describes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the only man who has a legitimate argument of usurping Michael Jordan as the GOAT. Kareem was fresh off an MVP Award win a year prior (his 3rd so far), but he followed it up with a dominant 50-point triple-double performance. Abdul-Jabbar was truly a genius on the court and had a tremendous ability to affect all areas of the floor.
11. Russell Westbrook - 50 Points, 16 Rebounds, 10 Assists, 37 Minutes
What triple-double list is valid without Russell Westbrook on it? The athletic phenom was on another level on April 9, 2017, against the Denver Nuggets, dominating his matchup en route to a ridiculous 50-point, 16-rebound performance in only 37 minutes. The way Westbrook approaches the game is a sight to behold because he will go for every loose ball and grab every rebound. Of course, he is unstoppable when his shot is falling, as he made 41.7% of his threes and 53.1% of his field goals that night.
10. James Harden - 50 Points, 10 Rebounds, 11 Assists, 35 Minutes
Before the Los Angeles Lakers became the powerhouse they are today, they were not able to stop most superstar offensive players and James Harden was one of them in 2018. The Beard put up a 50-piece in 35 minutes but also grabbed 10 rebounds and 11 assists. A +14 at the end of the game, The Beard was truly unstoppable and set the ground for another legendary triple-double performance the following month.
9. James Harden - 50 Points, 11 Rebounds, 10 Assists, 38 Minutes
James Harden had a strong case for the MVP Award in 2019, falling short to Giannis Antetokounmpo mainly due to team record. But The Beard was spectacular all season long, the highlight being a 50-point triple-double in 38 minutes. Harden took advantage of a weak Sacramento Kings squad, destroying the opposition and finishing the game with a +17 in plus-minus.
8. Wilt Chamberlain - 51 Points, 29 Rebounds, 11 Assists, 53 Minutes
In 1963, Wilt Chamberlain did something that was not seen prior to this. The dominant center not only scored 51 points but pulled down 29 rebounds and dished out 11 assists. That kind of production around the paint is unbelievable, and no other center in NBA history could ever repeat this performance if they tried. What is even more unbelievable? Wilt outdoes himself a few years later.
7. Russell Westbrook - 51 Points, 13 Rebounds, 10 Assists, 45 Minutes
What more is there to say about the great Russell Westbrook? The dominant star might be the most athletic point guard in NBA history because no player can match up with his size, strength, and explosiveness. Westbrook is also the greatest stat-stuffing point guard ever, using his size to pull down rebounds with ease and get to the basket whenever he wants. Of course, this would be a sign for things to come as Westbrook would win MVP the following year.
6. James Harden - 51 Points, 13 Rebounds, 13 Assists, 39 Minutes
It seems Harden must have a 50-point triple-double every season, and he did it again in 2017. The Beard did not need much time to get it done either, putting up a triple-double in under 40 minutes. Harden has been unstoppable over the last 5 years at least, and that is why many regard him as one of the best offensive players ever. Against the Philadelphia 76ers, there was simply no stopping the future Hall of Famer.
5. Elgin Baylor - 52 Points, 25 Rebounds, 10 Assists, 52 Minutes
Los Angeles Lakers legend Elgin Baylor put up 52 points in 52 minutes but managed to pull down 25 rebounds and dish out 10 assists. In terms of the best players to never win a ring, Baylor is right up there. If he had won a championship, we might be looking at a top-10 player who ever played the game. The forward was sensational all year in 1961, the same season Bill Russell captured MVP.
4. Wilt Chamberlain - 53 Points, 32 Rebounds, 14 Assists, 48 Minutes
Against the Los Angeles Lakers in 1968, Wilt Chamberlain repeated a similar performance he put up 5 years earlier, except putting up better numbers in less time. Wilt is known as the man who basically owns the record books because we will never see a player as physically dominant as he was. Bigger, taller, stronger, and faster than any big in the game, Chamberlain once again made it known he is one of the best to ever do it.
3. James Harden - 53 Points, 16 Rebounds, 17 Assists, 42 Minutes
Yet again, James Harden appears on the list. It was clear Harden was benefitting from Mike D’Antoni’s system because literally, the entire offense flowed through The Beard. The powerful shooting guard was in his bag against the New York Knicks, putting up video game numbers. This game alone might have been enough to place Harden in the Hall of Fame because no other shooting guard in the NBA right now can repeat this performance.
2. Russell Westbrook - 57 Points, 13 Rebounds, 11 Assists, 42 Minutes
Russell Westbrook’s MVP season was a special one, as he was arguably the best individual player in the league. The explosive point guard had a sensational 57-point triple-double against the Orlando Magic on March 29th, 2017; but did it with alarming efficiency. Westbrook was not his usual inconsistent self, shooting 40.0% from three and 52.5% from the field while attempting 40 shots. With no one else on the team to help him after Kevin Durant left, Westbrook was the deserving MVP that year.
1. James Harden - 60 Points, 10 Rebounds, 11 Assists, 46 Minutes
Unsurprisingly, James Harden has the most spectacular scoring triple-double in NBA history. He managed to play almost every minute of the game against the Orlando Magic to secure an unbelievable record of statistics, something The Beard did better than anyone else in his prime. This was also the season where Harden captured league MVP after falling to Russell Westbrook a year prior. Perhaps modern NBA rules and lack of physicality helped Harden accumulate these statistics, but there is no denying he is the greatest offensive player to ever put up triple-doubles.