Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook is about to break Oscar Robertson’s all-time triple-double record.
Robertson couldn’t be happier.
“There’s no doubt about it. I hope he gets it,” Robertson told The New York Times on Wednesday.
Robertson, 82, played in the league from 1960-74, both with the Cincinnati Royals and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Hall of Famer racked up 181 career triple-doubles over his 14 seasons in the NBA, the most in league history.
Westbrook — after putting up another triple-double in the Wizards’ matchup against the Bucks on Wednesday night in Milwaukee — now has 179 career triple-doubles to his name. 19 of those triple-doubles came in his last 23 games. He needs just three more to become the NBA’s all-time leader, and has six games in the regular season left to pull that off this year.
Magic Johnson is currently third on the NBA’s all-time list with 138, followed by Jason Kidd’s 107. LeBron James is the closest active player to Westbrook, but he has only 99. James Harden and Nikola Jokic are the only other active players in the top-10.
Westbrook is averaging 21.8 points, 11.3 rebounds and 11.2 assists per game this season headed into Wednesday’s game, the fourth season in his career that he’s averaged a triple-double. He was the first player to pull that feat off since Robertson back during the 2017-18 season, too — which prompted Robertson to congratulate him in person.
“I totally enjoy the way Westbrook plays,” Robertson told The New York Times. “He’s a dynamic individual. They’ve moved him around to different teams and I don’t know why, because I think he’s one of the star guards in basketball. I guess they thought that when he went to Washington that he would not be that effective, but, man, he’s done a tremendous job.”
Is it OK that Westbrook doesn’t have a title?
One of the biggest criticisms that surrounds Westbrook is the fact that he hasn’t ever won an NBA championship.
The 32-year-old veteran came close in 2012, but fell in the NBA Finals to the Miami Heat.
In Robertson’s eyes, however, that criticism is completely invalid — especially considering how often players in the league move around in today’s game.
“I think it’s ridiculous that some sportswriters criticize him because he has not won a championship,” Robertson told The New York Times. “Players don’t win championships by themselves. You’ve got to have good management. You need to get with the right group of players.
“Look at Brooklyn: Who could have done this years ago? How things have changed. It seems now that what’s happening in basketball, and I haven’t seen it happen in football yet, is players will get together and say, ‘Let’s go and play for this team so we can win.’ Years ago, you wouldn’t have thought of doing that.”
More from Yahoo Sports: