A triple-double is a basketball term, when defined as an individual performance in a game in which a player accumulates double-digit totals (i.e., 10 or more) in any three of these categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots. The most common way for a player to achieve a triple-double is with points, rebounds, and assists, though on occasion players may record 10 or more steals or blocked shots in a game. The term itself was coined by former Los Angeles public relations director, Bruce Jolesch in order to showcase Magic Johnson's versatility.
A triple-double is seen as an indication of an excellent all-around individual performance. In the National Basketball Association (NBA), they are rare but not unheard-of, as the top players usually accumulate a little fewer than 10 in a season (out of a possible 82 games in the regular NBA season). At the collegiate level, however, they are exceptionally rare (though double-doubles are much more common). There are two reasons for this: the shot clock in men's college basketball is 35 seconds as opposed to 24 seconds in the NBA and college games last only 40 minutes instead of 48 in the NBA. Both timing issues considerably reduce the number of possessions in a game and thus the chances for amassing large numbers in any one statistic, much less all three. It should be noted that the criteria for an assist have been relaxed over time.
Triple-doubles are also exceptionally rare in games contested under FIBA rules, in which games also run for 40 minutes (albeit with a 24-second clock like that in the NBA).
There has been occasional controversy surrounding triple doubles made when a player achieves the feat with a late rebound. Players on nine rebounds in a game have sometimes been accused of deliberately missing a shot late in the game in order to recover the rebound - a few have even gone so far as shooting off their opponent's basket trying to score a triple-double. To deter this, NBA rules allow rebounds to be nullified if the shot is determined not to be a bona fide scoring attempt, thus nullifying a triple-double achieved in this manner.