NBA / Sep 28, 2011 / 5:15 pm

The Best NBA Line You’ve Never Heard Of

Alvin Robertson

This all started a week ago when I stumbled on an old article about Rajon Rondo‘s freakish rebounding numbers. Friends got to talking. People got to arguing. Everyone got to debating. Now, I’m looking through box scores from all over trying to find the craziest numbers. Honestly though, it doesn’t get much more unique than a quadruple-double.

Alvin Robertson was pretty good. He wasn’t great, no one wrote books about him or even clamor 15+ years later that he was a great player (actually, we did). He also scored the first basket in the Raptors’ history as an NBA franchise, which if you know those fans at all, this makes him something like a honorary God in Toronto.

Forgetting some of the off-the-court charges pressed against him in recent years, on the night of February 18, 1986, Robertson dropped 20 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals for the Spurs in a 120-114 win over Phoenix despite playing only 36 minutes. I don’t need to do the math do I? That’s pretty crazy (NOTE: one year earlier to the day, Larry Bird had 30, 12, 10 and nine steals despite sitting out the fourth quarter. Woah.). Robertson wouldn’t be one of the players you’d expect to have a quadruple-double, especially when it’s only happened four official times.

Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson are like the ultimate “quad-dub” players. If you needed to build a replica for a science museum of an all-around, totally dominant player, those would be your guys: Smart, athletic, quick, fast, strong, coordinated, unselfish, could play both ends and have the touch to finish. So it’s no surprise that they once did it as well:

Olajuwon, 3/29/90 vs. Milwaukee (ironically Robertson was playing): 18 PTS, 16 REB, 10 AST, 11 BLK

Robinson, 2/17/94 vs. Detroit: 34 PTS, 10 REB, 10 AST, 10 BLK

Nate Thurmond was another player who did it, the center finishing with 22, 14, 13 and 12 blocks during the early portion of the 1974-75 season. Before him, who knows? No one kept track of individual defensive stats.

Nowadays, we are in the age of specialization. From the eight-year-old who gets scolded by his pops because he wants to play two sports instead of one to technology to the NBA where players can now make it in the league with one specific skill, there are very few jack-of-all-trades anymore. Even the best players don’t always guard each other. “We have to save their energy,” coaches will tell you. It makes some sense. But this attitude isn’t yielding too many quadruple-doubles.

Tim Duncan came close during the closeout win in the 2003 NBA Finals (21, 20, 10 and eight blocks) but has anyone threatened that mark since? Not likely. Even with otherworldly talent like LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin, none of them will probably ever be the next Alvin Robertson.

Which game was the most impressive?

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  • Trey Bing Bay

    How close did Jordan get?

    I’m too lazy to google it.

  • shuttles

    Trying to think of who could possibly pull off a quadruple-dub… seems pretty tough but someone will do it eventually. I can only really think of four guys I could conceivably see doing it right now though. In order of likelihood:

    1. Rondo
    2. CP3
    3. Josh Smith
    4. Bogut

    I can’t see a guy like Lebron ever getting 10 steals, or a guy like Griffin ever getting 10 blocks, or a guy like Howard or McGee ever getting 10 assists. Probably missing some better candidates though.

  • shuttles
  • King

    gotta be the quad double

  • P

    Nate Thurmond was another player who did it, the center finishing with 22, 14, 13 and 8 blocks during the early portion of the 1974-75 season.

    Am I missing something or is this a typo?

  • P

    Just googled it.. Nate had 12 blocks that game in OT.

  • http://www.zwani.com/graphics/funny_pictures/images/88funny-pictures128.jpg JAY

    Another freakish stat is the 5×5; getting at least 5 in 5 different categories… 5pts, 5blk, 5 stls, 5 assists and 5 rebs. Kirilenko did it a few games in one season in the mid 2000s, and once he got at least 6 in all five categories.

    He and Olajuwon are the only players to do it.

    Olajuwon did it in ridiculous fashion… 38 points, 17 rebounds, 12 blocks, 7 steals, and 6 assists.
    I find it amazing that there are people who actually believe Shaq was a better center. I love Shaq, but come on… Hakeem had no weakness. <– That pretty much sums him up. I'll take the monster whose coaches gave the ball to in late-game situations over the beast who's coaches subbed-out late in games in fear of him being sent to the foul line…. but that's an argument for another day. DIME is due for another "Who's Better" article anyway. ;)

  • Jzsmoove

    It’s weird that I had not seen or heard much bout Nate. Thurmond quad dub. I have seen most publications and videos bout NBA stats but didn’t come across this. I thought the feat was only accomplished 3 times.

  • north

    Alvin Robertson, 30 points in the first ever Raptors game. I loved that guy. Pity the Bucks threw him out with the trash after all he did for them. Glad he ended up with Toronto though… they were one of the 10 teams to beat the Bulls that year. Remember?

  • First & Foremost
  • King

    kG and tim coulve did it in their prime. Coming up with their height and skills if they develop maybe anthony davis or Andre Drummond can do it in the future

  • Omar

    I can see Perry Jones doing it, maybe even possibly Quincy Miller too… nobody in this draft will do it… we will soon find out….

  • paurubiofresa

    didnt shaq do it in the playoffs one time? against the blazers if i remember correctly.

  • yoda

    too bad we don’t have stats from mid 60’s when wilt played. who knows what that freak had back then. the stilt was stat machine, that was for sure

  • SwissArmyKnife5

    @ Sean Sweeney Dime needs to do a full article like this. What ever happened to the all around threats in basketball.Scottie Pippen in my opinion was the last of his kind, who else can really lead there team in every major stat, and before anyone answers that Pip was a good defender not just a steals guy.I believe Pip was pound for pound the best all-around player in the NBA.

  • Fraz

    That Olajuwon 5×5 line is ridiculous. And @Swiss, I gotta agree with you. Jordan is the best to ever do it but Pip was the best all around player. He was the prototype.

  • Krayzie

    Amare had 49 Pts, 11 Reb, 6 Ast, 5 Stl, 2 Blk against Pacers Nov 5th 2008. Not quite 5-5’s but still impressive..