Hail Russell Westbrook, the new king of triple-doubles
Russell Westbrook was widely feted by NBA greats after the Washington Wizards star broke Oscar Robertson's 47-year-old record for career triple-doubles with his 182nd yesterday morning (Singapore time).
The 32-year-old achieved the feat with 28 points, 13 rebounds and 21 assists in the Wizards' 125-124 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
Robertson's record was broken with 8min 30sec left in the fourth quarter as Westbrook grabbed his 10th rebound of the game for his fifth triple-double in a row and 36th in 62 games this season.
The 2016/17 NBA Most Valuable Player, who sank a basket to get the Wizards within a point with 30.1 seconds left, even missed a three-pointer with 2.3 seconds left that could have won the game.
But he did enough to make history.
Robertson, 82, was one of numerous basketball luminaries who offered congratulations to Westbrook as part of a video tribute the Wizards tweeted.
"I'm very happy for you," Robertson said. "Your family is very proud of you, and I salute you for all your accomplishments in the game of basketball."
The next three players on the all-time triple-double list behind Westbrook and Robertson - No. 3 Magic Johnson (138), No. 4 Jason Kidd (107) and No. 5 LeBron James (99) - all saluted Westbrook, too.
Said Johnson: "You know I know how hard it is to get a triple-double, and the fact that I couldn't even pass Oscar Robertson, so you did something I couldn't even do, and I'm proud of you."
Kidd added: "What a feat. Incredible. You left me a long time ago, but you are going to go down as Mr Triple-Double."
James said: "It's an incredible feat. Someone had to do it. Why not you? Impressive, bro. Impressive."
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Westbrook, who spent 11 seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder before being traded to the Houston Rockets in 2019 and then to the Wizards this term, allowed himself some self-indulgence.
He said: "You put so much time, sacrifice so much for the game and to be able to be mentioned with guys like Oscar and Magic, Jason Kidd and those guys is just something I never would have dreamt about as a young kid growing up in LA.
"I'm truly grateful for moments like this. Normally, I don't like to pat myself on the back, but tonight I will." - AFP, REUTERS