Russell Westbrook wrote his way into NBA history on Monday, bagging the 182nd triple-double of his career to break Oscar Robertson's 47-year-old record.

Washington Wizards star Westbrook, who had equaled Robertson's record of 181 triples on Saturday, sealed his record-breaking triple with 8min 33sec remaining in Monday's game against the Atlanta Hawks.

It was Westbrook's 36th triple of a season in which he is already assured of averaging a triple-double per game.

A triple-double occurs when a player makes double-digit tallies in three of the five major statistical categories in a game -- points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.

Westbrook has averaged a triple-double per game in four of the last five seasons, an eye-popping statistic that ensured he rapidly caught and overtook Robertson's historic bench mark, which had stood since 1974 and was once widely regarded as unbeatable.

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The 32-year-old Westbrook now has several seasons left in his career to extend his record, with few of his contemporaries anywhere near his total.

Westbrook has nearly twice as many triple doubles as his nearest rival amongst currently active players.

After Westbrook with 182, LeBron James is in second spot with 99 triples, while James Harden is third with 58.

Only two other players after Westbrook and Robertson have scored 100 or more triples on the all-time rankings, with Earvin "Magic" Johnson third with 138 and Jason Kidd fourth with 107.

Johnson had paid tribute to Westbrook's record-breaking career prior to Monday's game, saying the Wizards ace didn't always get the credit he deserved.

"When we show highlights, it's how many points somebody had, how far can they shoot out on the court," Johnson told The Athletic.

"Russell Westbrook is neither one of those things. He gets all these triple-doubles, but you don't see him on the highlights.

"The things he's been able to do, hopefully, we will say, 'Give him his love, give him his respect.' This is really big. This is something I couldn't even do. I know how big it is."

Westbrook's critics meanwhile have accused him of artificially inflating his personal stats to keep his triple-double tally ticking over, noting that a career which has included stints with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets and a 2017 NBA Most Valuable Player award has yet to yield an NBA Championship.

However Robertson himself is among those who have dismissed the criticism of Westbrook's failure to land a championship ring.

"I think he's one of the elite guards in basketball, and I think it's ridiculous that some sportswriters criticise him because he has not won a championship," Robertson told the New York Times.

"Players don't win championships by themselves. You've got to have good management. You need to get with the right group of players."

Westbrook meanwhile said he owed his achievements in part to the standard set by Robertson half a century ago.

"To be in the conversation with Oscar, for one, I want to thank him because he set the stage and sacrificed a lot of things for us to be able to go out and play," Westbrook said after equalling Robertson's record on Saturday.

"The times he played in and the things he was able to do back in the day has allowed me to be able to do the things I want to do today.

"I am just grateful for him, his words and appreciative of his support as well."

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