The first-ever recorded quadruple-double game happened on October 18 in 1974. Nate Thurmond did it in his first game in a Chicago Bulls jersey against the Atlanta Hawks. Thurmond finished the game with 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists, and 12 blocks displaying tremendous versatility on both ends of the floor.
It’s important to mention that blocks and steals weren’t recorded until the 1973-1974 season. Thurmond wasn’t so fascinated by his accomplishment because he knew guys like Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain did it several times during their career in the ’60s.
“There were plenty of quadruple-doubles back in the 1960s. When I first came into the league, I played alongside Wilt Chamberlain, and there were nights he and I were playing volleyball out there on the floor, blocking shots, deflecting passes, and tipping rebounds. So it’s fairly obvious that Wilt had plenty of chances to get double figures in four categories.”Nate Thurmond, via NBA.com
Thurmond also had a lot of respect for Bill Russell, who could also have a quadruple-double every game. Russell was a defensive juggernaut for the Boston Celtics. His primary role for the Celtics was to rebound and block shots; however, many fans don’t know he is one of the first centers with tremendous passing ability.
“Bill Russell could also fill the stat sheet and was a threat for a quadruple-double on a nightly basis. He was a great shot-blocker and passer, besides being a tremendous overall defender.”Nate Thurmond, via NBA.com
Thurmond didn’t think anything special about his accomplishment, especially since he said he knows for a fact he did it numerous times before, and nobody paid any attention to it.
“You think I never had a quadruple-double before 1973-74 when the NBA first started recording blocks and steals? Let me put it this way: I had 12 blocks in my quadruple-double game, and it was my 12th year in the league. That’s with two bad knees and more than 30,000 minutes pounding NBA floors, night after night. You bet I had plenty of quadruple-doubles before 1974.”Nate Thurmond, via NBA.com
It’s crazy even to imagine how many actual quadruple doubles Wilt, Russell, and other players accomplished during the ’60s, and now it seems almost impossible for any player to achieve that feat. We see players getting triple-doubles like it’s nothing, but we’ll still have to wait for someone from the younger generation of NBA players to join an elite group of players that did it before.