Darrell Walker not surprised Russell Westbrook beat his triple-doubles record

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Chase Hughes
·3 min read
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Walker not surprised Westbrook beat his triple-doubles record originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Darrell Walker knew it was only a matter of time.

The former Bullets guard, now the head coach of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, held the Wizards franchise record for career triple-doubles for three decades. But once Washington traded for Russell Westbrook, the modern NBA's king of the triple-double, that record was officially in jeopardy.

"I really wasn’t aware of [the record] until early in the year when Westbrook was traded from Houston to Washington," Walker told NBC Sports Washington. 

"A couple of my players said ‘Coach, your triple-doubles record is getting ready to be broken pretty soon.’ I said what happened? They said Westbrook got traded to the Wizards. I said ‘well yeah, that won’t last long.’ I knew it was coming."

Walker got his record-setting 15 triple-doubles over three years, or 772 days, from 1989 to 1991. He got his 15th triple-double in his 251st game playing for the franchise.

Westbrook needed only 38 games across 96 days to get to 16. He then got his 17th triple-double the next night.

"Russell Westbrook is a fantastic player. I knew he was going to do it. I’m surprised it took that long. I thought he would do it in the first 25 games. The guy was already averaging a triple-double before," Walker said.

Walker, 60, played for the Bullets from 1987 to 1991. He was a 6-foot-4 combo guard who was All-Rookie in 1984 and won a championship ring with the Bulls in 1993. Walker recalls playing in Washington with teammates like Moses Malone, Bernard King, Jeff Malone and Harvey Grant, and for head coach Wes Unseld.

Back then, triple-doubles weren't a popularized stat like they are today. Westbrook has had something to do with that: He became the first player since Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double in a full season, doing it four straight years from 2015 to 2019.

"Nobody was chasing triple-doubles. Guys just went out and played basketball and if you wound up with a triple-double, that’s just what you had. It happened a lot," Walker said.

Soon after Walker's playing career ended in 1993, he entered the coaching ranks and has worked in various jobs around basketball ever since, some of them in Washington.

Walker is the only person to coach both the Wizards and the Mystics. He actually coached them in the same year, in 2000, as well as the Rockford Lightning of the CBA.

"I did a triple-hitter," Walker said.

Walker will never forget when he was asked to coach the Mystics. At the time he was working in Washington's front office when he got a call from Unseld and then-Wizards executive Michael Jordan.

"I was with Bernard King in his car. We were in Atlanta, GA and had just finished having lunch together. Wes Unseld and Michael call me about coming back and taking over for the Mystics," Walker said.

Walker would move on to be an assistant coach at various NBA stops before becoming a head coach in the college ranks. He's been at UALR since 2018 where he led them to a 21-10 record in 2019-20. 

Now his name is back in the news in the NBA with Westbrook passing him in the Wizards' record book.

"To have that broken by a guy of his caliber of player, I couldn’t ask for anything else. He plays hard on both ends of the court, night in and night out, basically the way I did," Walker said. "So, I’m happy that Westbrook broke it."