In the NBA, the triple-double is probably the most well-known and respected of the unofficial stats. Achieving a triple-double indicates that you’re a “complete player” who excels at multiple facets of the game. Among active players, Jason Kidd is the leader with 106 career triple-doubles, while Oscar Robertson is the all-time leader with 181.
As difficult as it is to achieve a triple-double in the NBA, I’m introducing a stat that is even more difficult to achieve: the triple-zero. This is achieved by playing at least 20 minutes in a game and finishing with exactly zero points, zero rebounds and zero assists.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “How hard can that be to achieve? All you have to do is do nothing!” Sure, but the challenge is actually staying on the court long enough to reach the 20-minute minimum when you’re contributing virtually nothing to your team’s cause. Most coaches will probably bench a player before he gets there. Here’s the proof that triple-zeros are hard to come by: There have only been 31 of them since the 1986-87 season, according to Basketball-Reference.com.
Here is the illustrious list of non-achievers, sorted by date.
A few names and games stand out on this list:
- The inspiration for this stat was the fact that Joel Anthony managed to get two triple-zeros in January. If you’re a Miami Heat fan, you’re nodding your head with sad recognition right now. With his second triple-zero, “The Warden” joins the elite “Multiple Triple-Zeros Club” that includes teammate Carlos Arroyo and Jason Collins as its members.
- Walter McCarty is the only player on the list to actually wear the uniform number zero while achieving his triple-zero. Impressive.
- It’s unsurprising that Bruce Bowen has a triple-zero since his contributions typically didn’t show up on a boxscore. Also, there’s no stat for kicks to the face.
- Derek Fisher’s triple-zero on November 4, 2009 had the highest degree of difficulty of any of these — he’s the only player to manage a triple-zero in over 30 minutes of playing time. If you’re curious, the Lakers won that game over the Rockets, 103-102.
So there you have it. I like to think that this will go down as my contribution to basketball history, in much the same way that ESPN bowling broadcaster Rob Stone is known for inventing the term “hambone” to describe when a bowler gets four strikes in a row.
Who’s your pick for the next triple-zero? I predict that Joel Anthony will become the only player in NBA history (as far as we know) to get three triple-zeros in his career — and he might even do it this season. He continues to make me proud to be Canadian.