What Is a Double Double in Basketball? – Explained!

In basketball, player performance is often measured by a set of statistics that reflect their contributions during a game. These statistics include points scored, rebounds collected, assists made, steals taken, and blocked shots.

Each of these categories represents a different aspect of the game, such as scoring, defense, and teamwork. A “double-double” is a statistical achievement where a player accumulates a total of ten or more in two of these five categories during a single game.

For example, a player might score 15 points and secure 12 rebounds, or provide 10 assists while stealing the ball 10 times. This term is used to denote a significant individual performance that contributes to the team’s overall success.

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The Basics

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A double-double is a performance metric in basketball where a player achieves double-digit numbers in two of the five key statistical categories during a single game. The term signifies a notable level of achievement in the sport.

The five statistical categories that are considered for a double-double are:

  • Points: The total number of points a player scores.
  • Rebounds: The number of times a player retrieves the ball after a missed field goal or free throw.
  • Assists: The number of passes a player makes that directly lead to a teammate scoring.
  • Steals: The number of times a player takes the ball away from an opponent, resulting in a change of possession.
  • Blocked Shots: The number of attempts a player successfully prevents an opponent from scoring by deflecting the ball during a shot attempt.

Accomplishing a double-double is a testament to a player’s skill and ability to perform well in multiple facets of the game. It is a statistical achievement that highlights a player’s versatility and significant contribution to their team’s efforts in a game.

Historical Context

The term is believed to have been inspired by the Double-Double burger from the In-N-Out Burger chain, with NBA player Ralph Simpson reportedly using the term in the 1970s to describe his on-court achievements.

The significance of the double-double in basketball history is considerable, as it represents a player’s ability to excel in multiple areas of the game. Wilt Chamberlain, one of the most dominant players in NBA history, is known for his remarkable record of 968 career double-doubles, a testament to his all-around skill and impact on the court.

His record for the longest continuous streak of double-doubles stands at 227 consecutive games from 1964 to 1967. Other notable players who have consistently achieved double-doubles include Tim Duncan, Karl Malone, and Kevin Garnett, among others.

These players have left an indelible mark on the sport, showcasing their versatility and contributing significantly to their teams’ successes.

Common Combinations

When a player scores ten or more points and also secures ten or more rebounds, it is referred to as a points and rebounds double-double. This combination reflects the player’s effectiveness in scoring as well as their ability to retrieve the ball after missed shots, which is crucial for defensive and offensive plays.

A points and assists double-double is achieved when a player not only scores ten or more points but also delivers ten or more assists. This indicates the player’s scoring capability and their role in setting up scoring opportunities for teammates, showcasing their playmaking skills.

Lastly, rebounds and assists double-double occurs when a player gathers ten or more rebounds and provides ten or more assists. This combination is less common and highlights the player’s defensive contributions through rebounding and their offensive impact through assisting other players in scoring.

These combinations are significant achievements in basketball and demonstrate a player’s comprehensive abilities on the court.

The Significance


The significance of a double-double can be understood in three key aspects.

Indicator of a Player’s Versatility

Achieving a double-double demonstrates a player’s ability to perform well in multiple facets of the game, highlighting their versatility on the court. It indicates that the player is not just a specialist in one area but possesses the capability to make significant contributions in various roles, enhancing the team’s overall performance.

This versatility is crucial, as it allows the player to adapt to different game situations and be effective in multiple positions, whether it’s scoring, rebounding, or assisting.

Impact on the Game’s Outcome

Players who achieve a double-double often have a considerable impact on the outcome of the game, as their dual contributions are vital in both offensive and defensive plays. Their ability to influence the game in two statistical categories can shift the momentum in their team’s favor and alter the course of the match.

This dual impact can demoralize opponents while simultaneously boosting their own team’s morale, leading to a higher probability of the team’s success.

Reflection of a Player’s Skill Set

A double-double is a clear reflection of a player’s comprehensive skill set and proficiency in different aspects of the game. It serves as a testament to their hard work, training, and dedication to mastering various skills required to excel in basketball.

Achieving such a feat consistently not only showcases their physical abilities but also their mental acumen in understanding the game, making strategic decisions, and executing plays effectively under pressure.

Notable NBA Records

The NBA has witnessed several players who have consistently achieved double-doubles, showcasing their ability to excel in multiple statistical categories. Here are some of the most notable double-double records.

Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain holds the record for the most career double-doubles with 968, a testament to his dominant presence on the court. His incredible record includes the longest streak of consecutive double-doubles, achieving this feat in 227 consecutive games between the 1964 and 1967 seasons.

Chamberlain’s achievement in this area underscores his unparalleled skill and endurance, marking him as one of the greatest players in NBA history.

Tim Duncan

Known as “The Big Fundamental,” Tim Duncan has a remarkable record of playoff double-doubles, surpassing Magic Johnson in this category. His consistency in achieving double-doubles, primarily in the points-rebounds category, played a crucial role in his team’s success in the playoffs.

Duncan’s ability to perform under pressure and his fundamental skills in scoring and rebounding make him an iconic figure in NBA playoff history.

John Stockton

John Stockton, one of the greatest point guards in NBA history, is renowned for his points-assists double-doubles. His combination of precise passing and scoring ability made him a consistent double-double performer, contributing significantly to his team’s offensive flow.

Stockton’s mastery in managing the game and setting up teammates, along with his scoring prowess, solidified his reputation as a legendary playmaker and scorer.


Can a player achieve a double-double with steals and blocked shots?

Yes, a player can achieve a double-double with any two of the five key statistical categories, including steals and blocked shots. However, this combination is rare due to the difficulty of accumulating high numbers in both defensive categories in a single game.

Is a triple-double more significant than a double-double?

A triple-double, where a player reaches double digits in three statistical categories, is considered more significant due to its rarity and the demonstration of exceptional versatility and skill in multiple aspects of the game.

How does a double-double impact a player’s value in the team?

Achieving a double-double generally increases a player’s value within the team, as it indicates their ability to contribute significantly in multiple areas, thus making them a more versatile and valuable asset to the team’s overall strategy and success.

Are double-doubles more common among certain positions?

Yes, double-doubles are more common among positions like centers and power forwards, who are more likely to accumulate high numbers in points and rebounds. Point guards may also frequently achieve double-doubles in points and assists.

Can a player achieve a double-double in a losing effort?

Yes, a player can achieve a double-double even if their team loses the game. The achievement is based on individual performance and is independent of the game’s outcome.

Does a double-double guarantee a player more playing time?

While achieving a double-double is indicative of a player’s skill and contribution, it doesn’t automatically guarantee more playing time. Coaches consider various factors, including team strategy, player matchups, and overall team dynamics.

Bottom Line

In summary, a double-double is a basketball statistic that signifies a player’s ability to achieve double-digit numbers in two different statistical categories within a single game. It serves as an important indicator of a player’s versatility and skill set, reflecting their capability to influence various aspects of the game significantly.

The role of a double-double in highlighting player achievements is substantial. It not only showcases an individual’s talent and contribution to the team’s performance but also places them among the elite players who have the proficiency to excel in multiple areas of the sport.

Overall, the double-double is a testament to a player’s hard work and dedication to the game, marking their achievements and setting a benchmark for aspiring athletes.