Russell Westbrook turned an offseason slight by Kevin Durant into a place among the basketball immortals.
On Friday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder point guard secured a triple-double average for 2016-17. Moreover, he's just one triple-double away from setting the record for most in a season.
Westbrook's ridiculous, MVP-caliber campaign will go down as one of the greatest seasons in NBA history — but it's not quite the greatest.
Here's where Westbrook stands among the 10 greatest individual seasons since the NBA-ABA merger. Our apologies to Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and the rest of the pre-merger legends.
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Hakeem Olajuwon, C, 1992-93 Houston Rockets
26.1 points, 13.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 4.2 blocks, 1.8 assists per game; 52.9 percent FG%; 27.3 PER
Olajuwon had more success the next season, winning his first NBA title as well as the MVP award, but he was at his very best in the final year of Michael Jordan's first threepeat.
The only thing that could have made this season any better for Olajuwon would have been a quadruple-double, which he recorded in 1990.
Larry Bird, SF, 1987-88 Boston Celtics
29.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.6 steals, per game; 52.7 percent FG%, 41.4 percent 3P%; 27.8 PER
Bird set a Celtics single-season scoring record at just under 30 points per game in what turned out to be the final year of his elite peak. Injuries limited him to just six games the next season, and Boston's dynasty fell apart almost overnight.
LeBron James, SF, 2012-13 Miami Heat
26.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.7 steals per game; 56.5 percent FG%, 40.6 percent 3P%; 31.6 PER
LeBron's such an absurd basketball player, you could make a case his 2016-17 season is the best of his career. I'll take peak Miami LeBron by just a hair over this version, though, because of the defensive intensity and athleticism The King still displayed on a nightly basis four years ago.
If only we could put 2016-17 LeBron's brain in a 27-year-old LeBron's body, we'd have the greatest basketball player of all time.
Kobe Bryant, SG, 2005-06 Los Angeles Lakers
35.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.8 steals per game; 45.0 percent FG%; 34.7 percent 3P%; 28.0 PER
Labeling Kobe a "volume scorer" does a massive disservice to how good the Black Mamba was.
In 2006, he poured in buckets from all over the court and somehow managed to do it while shooting right around his career field goal percentage. There was no containing a 27-year-old Kobe wreaking havoc on the NBA in the Lakers' post-Shaq years.
Speaking of the Big Aristotle ...
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Shaquille O'Neal, C, 1999-2000 Los Angeles Lakers
29.7 points, 13.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 3.0 blocks per game; 57.4 percent FG%; 30.6 PER
Shaq was the most dominant player in NBA history — and the 1999-00 season was the ultimate proof. He manhandled the opposition for 79 regular season games (before deciding conditioning was overrated the next year) then steamrolled through the playoffs. We'll never see anything quite like a 27-year-old Shaq ever again.
Are you starting to sense a trend with these ages, by the way?
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Michael Jordan, SG, 1990-91 Chicago Bulls
31.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.7 steals per game; 53.9 percent FG%, 31.2 percent 3P%; 31.6 PER
Hey, look! Another "age 27" season by one of the all-time greats.
I admit I'm cheating a little bit on this one by giving MJ extra credit for his postseason success, as he won his first title and Finals MVP in 1991. Jordan's regular season holds up under scrutiny as well, however, as he led the NBA in scoring and made first team All-NBA and All-Defense.
This was the season Jordan went from the game's most prolific scorer to a true contender to the title of the greatest of all time. For that alone, it belongs on this list.
Michael Jordan, SG, 1986-87 Chicago Bulls
37.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 2.9 steals, 1.5 blocks per game; 48.2 percent FG%; 29.8 PER
What? Are you really surprised His Airness is the only player to appear twice on this list?
Jordan set the non-Wilt-Chamberlain scoring record in his third season, playing 40 minutes per game after suffering a nasty foot injury the year before. And he never looked back.
Yet as great as Jordan was, he was limited by the NBA's reluctance to adopt the 3-point line. The same can't be said for the top three on this list.
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Stephen Curry, PG, 2015-16 Golden State Warriors
30.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 2.1 steals per game; 50.4 percent FG%, 45.4 percent 3P%; 31.5 PER
The 27-year-old Curry (that number again!) spearheaded an NBA revolution last season, taking the Association's infatuation with 3-point shooting to a whole new level.
His box score stats don't capture the full extent of his impact as the unanimous MVP. Teams had to break their entire defensive schemes to account for the Warriors point guard, as leaving him open from 35 feet was a non-starter.
Yet these days, Curry's excellence is old news ...
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Russell Westbrook, PG, 2016-17 Oklahoma City Thunder
31.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 10.4 assists, 1.7 steals per game; 42.6 percent FG%; 34.7 percent 3P%; 30.8 PER
Curry might have had a better statistical season last year than Westbrook has this year, but I'm taking the Thunder point guard over the two-time MVP for one simple reason: His quest for the triple-double record has been fueled by a thirst for revenge, and I love how petty the NBA can be.
The man averaged a triple-double for an entire season in the modern NBA. He's on the verge of breaking the all-time triple-double record. What more do you want from him? A championship, you say? HATER!
Thanks for one of the most entertaining seasons ever, Russ. I can't wait to see what you do in the playoffs.
James Harden, SG, 2016-17 Houston Rockets
29.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 11.2 assists, 1.5 steals per game; 44.1 percent FG%; 34.5 percent 3P%; 27.3 PER
I don't know if James Harden is the MVP. Westbrook's historic season is pretty impressive.
And yes, I know how preposterous this sounds. When I sat down to do this exercise, Harden at No. 1 wasn't the answer I expected. Westbrook seemed like the obvious answer after topping Curry last year. But Harden's genuinely having a more productive season than even Westbrook. The only argument in favor of the latter is those nice, round numbers.
That's all thanks to the 3-point line, sure, which you can argue discredits Harden's season. He and the Rockets push the limits of what we're willing to accept with basketball.
You can call him gimmicky if you want. Me? I call that taking advantage of the rules, playing the game the way it's supposed to be played — and the greatest offensive season in modern NBA history.
What Westbrook has done is more impressive because of the arbitrary milestones we hold so dear, and that's fine. I'm as big a fan of triple-doubles as the next person. But the numbers don't lie here.
Oh, and yes: Harden is in his "age 27" season. Who could have guessed?