Despite the Pelicans' loss to the Jazz last night, Anthony Davis had a triple-double to ensure his 25th birthday wasn’t completely ruined. He scored 25 points, had 11 rebounds, and finished it off with 10 blocks. In the history of the NBA 44 players recorded 10 or more blocks in a game and it happened a total of 156 times.
This feat was accomplished by Mark Eaton 19 times in his career making him the leader in this category. The single-game record holds Elmore Smith, playing for the Lakers on October 28th, 1973 against the Blazers. Smith had 12 points, 16 rebounds, and 17 blocks. More blocks than rebounds!!! The second place is shared by Manute Bol and Shaquille O’Neal who had 15 in a game. Bol did it twice for the Washington Bullets in ’86 and 87’ while Shaq did it in his younger days as a Magic player in ’93. Third place is shared by Mark Eaton and Elmore Smith who both had two games with 14 blocks.
When it comes to all-time blocks, the best ever was Hakeem Olajuwon. The Dream was a defensive monster on both ends of the floor and his footwork, explosiveness and defensive instincts enabled him to block 3,830 shots in his career. Right behind him is Dikembe Mutombo. The famous finger wag and ‘’not in my house’’ happened 3,289 times. Third place is held by the all-time scoring champion. Kareem was also a dominant defensive player with 3,189 blocks in his career.
You may have noticed that we are missing a few names on these lists. All the rankings have to be taken with a grain of salt as blocks were not tracked in the era of Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. It would be safe to assume that they would be near the top if not at the very top of these lists.
There are two active players on the Top 25 list, Dwight Howard at 18th place with 2,030 blocks and Pau Gasol at 21st place with 1,913. Anthony Davis just celebrated his 25th birthday so there is a lot of playing time in front of him to improve his total currently at 935 blocks, but if I were Hakeem I wouldn’t be concerned. The magical 3,830 seems to be out of reach.
Stats courtesy of NBA.com and Basketball-Reference. Photo courtesy of Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports