Basketball players strive to accomplish a variety of milestones when they step onto the court. There are a few goals on everyone’s mind – one is a double-double. Although each player sets his or her own goals, there are a few that are on everyone’s mind. I don’t mean the one from In-N-Out!

a couple of men playing a game of basketball

What is a double-double in basketball?

In a double-double game, a player has scored at least ten points, grabbed at least ten rebounds, assisted at least ten times, blocked ten shots, or stole at least ten steals. In the past, double-doubles have been recognized as a sign of productivity.

Despite the fact that double-doubles are much more common today than in previous generations, they are no less thrilling or difficult.

Learn everything you need to know about the double-double by reading on!

The Evolution of Double-Doubles

The double-double’s significance evolves as the game of basketball evolves. Double-doubles in the modern era have been shaped by changes in playing styles, team strategies, and statistical analysis.

basketball player about to free throw

Getting a Double-Double

Basketball today demands more than just a single-faceted player. It becomes more and more important to have multiple facets to your game as your opponents become more skilled.

Dribbling and passing are important skills to learn if you are a good shooter. Start learning how to score if you are good at rebounding. Learn how to strip the ball if you’re good at blocking the ball.

Being versatile will keep you off the bench regardless of how good you are at one specific skill. On the court, coaches are looking for players who can do a variety of things.

A basketball coach wants a versatile player who can do everything. You can show your coach and teammates that you are dependable and skilled by earning a double-double.

During a game, a double-double is achieved when you win double digits in at least two of the following statistical categories – points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks.

Here are some categories to consider:

  • Points: Most players will often achieve double digits in points in their first game, and this is the easiest accomplishment they can achieve. The only thing you need is five baskets, and perhaps less if you are a three-point shooter. In the first half or even in the first quarter, it’s not uncommon to see players score 10 points.
  • Steals: It is extremely difficult to record 10 steals in a game today. No NBA team averaged more than 10 steals per game during the entire 2018-2019 season (not just one player).
  • Blocks: It will be just as difficult to record 10 blocks in a single game as it is to record 10 steals. During the 2018-2019 NBA season, the Warriors averaged 6.2 blocks per game, the most blocks per game of any team (not player).
  • Rebounds: The big men (power forwards and centers) on the floor will have an easier time grabbing 10 rebounds in a single game since they’re often under the basket. A center is more likely than a power forward to get rebound opportunities, depending on their playing style.
  • Assists: Assists are more likely to be recorded by ball handlers, such as point guards and small forwards. Most players will struggle to score a lot of points by passing the ball so often, but the best players will succeed.

Double-doubles are not the highest basketball achievement and are not as coveted as triple-doubles, but a triple-double can only be achieved once you have achieved a double-double.

This is the first step.

In my opinion, a double-double requires much more skill than passing, rebounding, scoring, stealing, or blocking.

Even the best player in the world won’t achieve a double-double unless he or she also possesses the following factors:

  • Work Ethic: Hard work is the key to achieving a double-double. Double-doubles require determination and staying determined for all four quarters if you are going to earn them.
  • Basketball IQ: Playing smart and making the right decisions will put you in a better position to score a double-double. By leveraging the strengths of your teammates and yourself, you’ll succeed.
  • Playing Time: To achieve double-doubles, you’ll need enough playing time. Despite being possible, scoring a double-double from the bench will be tough.

Having those three things will make it much easier to achieve a double-double. The other two things will eventually lead to you getting playing time, even if you don’t get it now.

Once that happens, it’s all about taking advantage of your opportunities to entice your coach to give you more playing time.

Double-Doubles in Different Leagues

There are various basketball leagues around the world that practice the double-double in addition to the NBA. Double-digit figures have been achieved by players from different continents and in different competitions, contributing to the statistic’s global appeal.

grayscale basketball players

Double-Doubles: How Common Are They?

The NBA has always had a high percentage of double-doubles, but the number has increased significantly in recent years. College basketball still has a lot of them, but high school or middle school basketball doesn’t.

In comparison to the other combinations, steals and blocks are much less common in double-doubles.

Draymond Green and Lou Williams are the only players in the league who have ever recorded more than 10 steals in a game.

There have been more than 150 instances in history where players have accumulated 10+ blocks in a single game. In most cases, a double-double is made up of a combination of points, assists, and rebounds.

The “conventional double-double” refers to a double-double in which points and rebounds are included, which occurs more often than any other type of double-double.

Most double-doubles are made by centers and forwards, but they account for over 90% of all double-doubles.

The second most common type is points and assists. Guards are typically the only ones who get double-doubles and they make up a much smaller percentage of them.

It is common to have a double-double. It’s likely that you’ll see one every NBA game, but it’s possible you’ll see more.

During the 2018-2019 season, over 200 players had double-doubles – with over 70 having more than ten double-doubles.

As double-doubles become more common, players will fight to score 20 points rather than 10. There is something new-age about the 20-10 double-double in basketball today.

It is generally easy for teams to reach 10 points in today’s game since scores are consistently higher.

Famous Double-Double Achievers

We’ve briefly discussed how most double-doubles include points and rebounds, while most others contain points and assists.

Guards make up only a small percentage of players who achieve double-doubles in basketball, with forwards and centers being among the most likely.

Double-doubles have been earned by plenty of players over the years. Over 2,000 double-doubles were recorded in the NBA in 2018-2019, and nearly half were recorded by just 20 players – only three were guards.

Even though they played around 80 games, three players achieved 60+ double-doubles during the 2018-2019 season. Nikola Vucevic (center), Rudy Gobert (center), and Andre Drummond (center) led the league with 69, 66, and 60 points, respectively.

The following five players have consistently gotten double-doubles in the NBA:

  • Hakeem Olajuwon: In his career, he recorded 774 double-doubles with points and rebounds
  • Kevin Garnett: He recorded 741 point-rebound double-doubles during his career
  • Shaquille O’Neal: 727 double-doubles with points and rebound
  • Tim Duncan: He had 841 point-rebound double-doubles during his career
  • Karl Malone: Recorded 811 double-doubles with points and rebounds

Listed above are five players who each had two double-doubles! All of them played center or power forward, but they are now retired.

group of men playing basketball

All-Time Double-Double Performances

Throughout their careers, many players have consistently recorded double-doubles, but there are some double-double performances to be remembered.

Double-doubles are achieved when two of the following are achieved – 10+ points, 10+ rebounds, 10+ assists, 10+ steals, or 10+ blocks. For a double-double, you need at least ten points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks, but there’s no maximum.

Nevertheless, there have been some amazing double-doubles recorded by players, including the following:

  • Wilt Chamberlain: Against the Knicks in 1962, he scored 100 points and grabbed 25 rebounds
  • Elgin Baylor: Against Wilt Chamberlain in 1961, he scored 63 points and grabbed 31 rebounds
  • Scott Skiles: a 155-116 victory over the Denver Nuggets in 1990 saw him score 22 points and dish out 30 assists
  • Wilt Chamberlain: Against Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics, Chamberlain scored 34 points and grabbed 55 rebounds
  • Michael Jordan: In 1990, he grabbed 18 rebounds and scored 69 points against Cleveland Cavaliers

Aside from those five performance, there have been several other memorable double-doubles. Chamberlain achieved 227 consecutive double-doubles between 1964 and 1967.

A 51-game streak by Kevin Love since 1976 is the longest, while Karl Malone holds the second-longest streak at 51 games.

At 42 years old, Dikembe Mutombo was the oldest player to record a double-double in basketball, and Tracy McGrady was the youngest.

Even though the double-double in basketball has lost some of its luster, it’s still something to be proud of for any basketball player. The coaches of today, however, expect it to come consistently from their players.

In other words, don’t let your first double-double turn you into a lazy person. Don’t let it discourage you from becoming a double-double machine. Then your teammates and coaches will start to notice you.

aerial photography of men playing basketball


What is a double-double in basketball? 

A double-double in basketball refers to a player achieving double-digit figures in two distinct statistical categories during a single game. This typically involves points and rebounds, but it can also include other categories like assists, steals, and blocks.

Who holds the record for the most double-doubles in NBA history? 

Wilt Chamberlain holds the record for the most double-doubles in NBA history. He consistently dominated multiple statistical categories during his illustrious career.

Can a player achieve a double-double in points and assists? 

Yes, a player can achieve a double-double in points and assists by recording at least ten points and ten assists in a single game. This reflects a player’s ability to both score and create opportunities for teammates.

What is a triple-double? 

A triple-double goes a step further than a double-double, requiring a player to achieve double-digit figures in three distinct statistical categories during a game. This often involves points, rebounds, and assists.

How does a double-double impact team performance? 

A double-double indicates a player’s ability to contribute significantly across multiple areas of the game, which can enhance a team’s overall performance. It showcases versatility and a well-rounded playing style.

basketball hoop in close up photography


A double-double is a shining thread that binds a player’s versatility, skill, and impact together in the intricate tapestry of basketball. This demonstrates the all-encompassing nature of the sport, where players’ ability to influence the game in multiple ways serves as a measure of success. Think about this the next time you see a player achieve a double-double during a basketball game.


David Harris is a former player and after many years of writing and testing hundreds of products associated with the game, created this website to share his tips, basketballs and gear.  I look forward to continuing to grow and build this site and sharing great content.

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