It is not known for an absolute certainty, but it's believed that the first triple-double in NBA history occurred in 1951 when Dolph Schayes of the Syracuse Nationals had 18 points, 22 rebounds and 13 assists in a game vs the New York Knicks. Dolph Schayes was only 22 years old when he recorded the first triple-double in NBA history, but he is not the youngest player to ever have a triple-double in a NBA game.
These are the youngest and the oldest players in NBA history to record triple-doubles in a game. A triple-double occurs when a player records double-digit stats in three of the five following categories, points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks.
Oldest player to record a triple-double in a NBA game
- Karl Malone - 40 years and 127 days
The oldest player to record a triple-double in NBA history is Karl Malone, who had a triple-double when he was 40 years and 127 days old. To date, Karl Malone is the only NBA player over the age of 40 to record a triple-double.
Karl Malone's record setting triple-double occurred on November 28, 2003, when he was playing for the Los Angeles Lakers vs the San Antonio Spurs. In the game, Malone had 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. Remarkably, Karl Malone recorded the triple-double while only playing 26 total minutes in the game.
The Lakers routed the Spurs in the game, 103-87. The 2003-04 season was Karl Malone's last season in the NBA. After playing 18 NBA seasons with the Utah Jazz, Malone went to the Lakers in 2003-04 to try and finally win a NBA championship. The move almost worked, as the Lakers made it all the way to the NBA Finals, were they lost to the Detroit Pistons in five games.
Youngest player to record a triple-double in a NBA game
- LeBron James - 20 years and 20 days
The youngest player to ever record a triple-double in a NBA game is LeBron James, who had a triple-double when he was 20 years and 20 days old. LeBron's record setting triple-double occurred on January 19, 2005, when he had 27 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers vs the Portland Trail Blazers.
In a great bit of irony, the player who held the record prior to LeBron James was Lamar Odom, who had a triple-double on December 30, 1999, at the age of 20 years and 54 days, when he had 10 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in a game. The irony is that LeBron James had a birthday on December 30, 1999, when he turned 15 years old.
In just a little over five years from his 15th birthday, LeBron James was in the NBA and set the record for the youngest player to ever record a triple-double. To date, LeBron James has the seventh most triple-doubles in NBA history (regular season), and is likely to end up in the top five all-time in triple-doubles.