This has been used to make the case for Robertson as a truly unique talent, and conversely, to label the rest of his career as a mild disappointment, since Robertson seemingly peaked at the age of 23.
Any evaluation of "early" NBA statistics has to take into account the number of possessions per game, however. This can be a little difficult to estimate, since turnovers weren't kept as a statistic back then, but it's pretty clear that 1962 was one of the fastest paced seasons ever (only 1961 was faster). Robertson's feat was only possible because of the huge number of potential rebounds and assists available.
Awhile back, I decided to find out if any other NBA player might have recorded an entire season triple double, if they had the same advantage to work with.
The player who benefits most from this is Oscar Robertson. Robertson also recorded pace adjusted triple doubles in 1963 and 1964. Robertson's best season was probably 1964. He just missed another triple double that year, with 31.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 11.0 assists. Pace adjusted, this becomes 34.0 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 11.9 assists.
Magic Johnson had two pace adjusted triple double seasons, in 1982 and 1983. Given Magic's all around brilliance, that comes as no surprise.
The next name, however, will surprise you. Darrell Walker had an unremarkable 10 year career that ended on the deep bench of the 1993 Chicago Bulls. He was always an excellent rebounder for a guard, and a few years earlier, for the 1990 Washington Bullets, he averaged 9.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 8.0 assists. The Bullets didn't benefit much from Walker's strange stat line. They won only 31 games. But if you put Walker's numbers into the wayback machine, he emerges in 1962 with 11.9 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 10.0 assists.
Grant Hill, as a young player on the Pistons, was a regular triple double threat. His 1997 season, pace adjusted, looks really impressive: 29.3 points, 12.4 rebounds, 10.0 assists. I don't think anything does a better job of capturing the stat inflation in the NBA from 1958 to 1968 than that.
Lastly, Jason Kidd, in the tail end of his prime, posted two pace adjusted triple doubles in 2007 for the Nets, and 2008 for the Nets and Mavericks. Kidd's 2007 translates to 17.7 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 12.5 assists.
You might be asking, where's LeBron James? While Bron has come very close to this fictional achievement in a couple of seasons, he's always fallen a few rebounds or assists short. Perhaps as Dwyane Wade ages, and Bron has to carry more of the load in Miami, he'll be on this list, too.