Hakeem Olajuwon's Phantom Quadruple-Double

The quadruple-double is one of basketball’s most elusive feats. Only four players have managed to rack up double-digit totals in four major statistical categories (points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks) in a single game since the NBA began tracking steals and blocked shots at the beginning of the 1973-74. Nate Thurmond, Alvin Robertson, Hakeem Olajuwon, and David Robinson all have one quadruple-double to their names.

The NBA very briefly had a fifth quadruple-double in its record books, though. On March 3, 1990, Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets absolutely dissected the hapless Golden State Warriors en route to a 129-109 blowout. Olajuwon ended the game with a monstrous triple-double stat line: 29 points, 18 rebounds, and 11 blocks.

The Dream had come achingly close to a bigger milestone. He finished the game with nine assists, meaning he was only one thin dime away from putting up what would have been the third quadruple-double in league history. Houston’s starting five for the game included such luminaries as Mitchell Wiggins and the immortal Buck Johnson; if just one more of the passes they received from the Hall of Fame big man had turned into a bucket, he would have had his quadruple-double.

It’s not clear whether Olajuwon knew or even cared how close he’d come to the arbitrary milestone, but Rockets coach Don Chaney and team media-relations director Jay Goldberg sure did.

The pair reviewed the game tape immediately after the final buzzer and “found” what seemed to be an uncredited assist for Olajuwon in the first quarter. The team quickly issued a revised box score that credited Olajuwon for 29 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists, and 11 blocks. Bingo! Quadruple-double achieved!

Recount

The NBA gives its statisticians a bit of latitude when it comes to determining what exactly counts as an assist thanks to the inherently subjective nature of the stat. Having team officials review game tapes and revise box scores goes well beyond “latitude” and right into “chicanery” territory, though. When the league caught wind of the revision, director of operations Rod Thorn asked if he could take his own peek at the tape.

That’s where the quadruple-double got a little less quad-y. Three days later, Thorn announced his findings. On further review, Olajuwon didn’t deserve 10 assists, and the original box score that gave him credit for nine dimes would remain the official record of the game. Thorn didn’t think much of the Rockets’ shenanigans; he publicly said, “A box score should not be changed after the fact for the purpose of achieving a statistical milestone.”

According to Thorn, if the box score had been erroneous, finding and fixing the problem was the league’s prerogative. Thorn opted against fining the Rockets for their box score manipulation. (He could hardly blame Chaney and Goldberg for looking for a bright spot in an otherwise mediocre season that would see Houston post a 41-41 record.) Chaney’s reaction: “What they think is an assist and what we think is an assist must be two different things.”

It Wasn't That Close

The really funny thing, though, is that Thorn was being charitable just by letting Olajuwon keep the nine assists he had received credit for on the undoctored score sheet. According to the story Knight-Ridder ran over the flap, a source at the league office claimed that Thorn and the league might have let Olajuwon keep that phantom tenth assist if the other nine had been legit. The source said that Olajuwon had already received some awfully generous hometown scoring in the original box score; the league thought he had only really earned six or seven assists.

This odd footnote didn’t prove to be much of a setback for Olajuwon. Just three weeks later he dropped a legitimate quadruple-double with 18 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists, and 11 blocks in a 120-94 Rockets win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

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Win a Trip to Any National Park By Instagramming Your Travels
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If you're planning out your summer vacation, make sure to add a few national parks to your itinerary. Every time you share your travels on Instagram, you can increase your chances of winning a VIP trip for two to the national park of your choice.

The National Park Foundation is hosting its "Pic Your Park" sweepstakes now through September 28. To participate, post your selfies from visits to National Park System (NPS) properties on Instagram using the hashtag #PicYourParkContest and a geotag of the location. Making the trek to multiple parks increases your points, with less-visited parks in the system having the highest value. During certain months, the point values of some sites are doubled. You can find a list of participating properties and a schedule of boost periods here.

Following the contest run, the National Park Foundation will decide a winner based on most points earned. The grand prize is a three-day, two-night trip for the winner and a guest to any NPS property within the contiguous U.S. Round-trip airfare and hotel lodging are included. The reward also comes with a 30-day lease of a car from Subaru, the contest's sponsor.

The contest is already underway, with a leader board on the website keeping track of the competition. If you're looking to catch up, this national parks road trip route isn't a bad place to start.

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15 Dad Facts for Father's Day
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Gather 'round the grill and toast Dad for Father's Day—the national holiday so awesome that Americans have celebrated it for more than a century. Here are 15 Dad facts you can wow him with today.

1. Halsey Taylor invented the drinking fountain in 1912 as a tribute to his father, who succumbed to typhoid fever after drinking from a contaminated public water supply in 1896.

2. George Washington, the celebrated father of our country, had no children of his own. A 2004 study suggested that a type of tuberculosis that Washington contracted in childhood may have rendered him sterile. He did adopt the two children from Martha Custis's first marriage.

3. In Thailand, the king's birthday also serves as National Father's Day. The celebration includes fireworks, speeches, and acts of charity and honor—the most distinct being the donation of blood and the liberation of captive animals.

4. In 1950, after a Washington Post music critic gave Harry Truman's daughter Margaret's concert a negative review, the president came out swinging: "Some day I hope to meet you," he wrote. "When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!"

5. A.A. Milne created Winnie the Pooh for his son, Christopher Robin. Pooh was based on Robin's teddy bear, Edward, a gift Christopher had received for his first birthday, and on their father/son visits to the London Zoo, where the bear named Winnie was Christopher's favorite. Pooh comes from the name of Christopher's pet swan.

6. Kurt Vonnegut was (for a short time) Geraldo Rivera's father-in-law. Rivera's marriage to Edith Vonnegut ended in 1974 because of his womanizing. Her ever-protective father was quoted as saying, "If I see Gerry again, I'll spit in his face." He also included an unflattering character named Jerry Rivers (a chauffeur) in a few of his books.

7. Andre Agassi's father represented Iran in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics as a boxer.

8. Charlemagne, the 8th-century king of the Franks, united much of Western Europe through military campaigns and has been called the "king and father of Europe" [PDF]. Charlemagne was also a devoted dad to about 18 children, and today, most Europeans may be able to claim Charlemagne as their ancestor.

9. The voice of Papa Smurf, Don Messick, also provided the voice of Scooby-Doo, Ranger Smith on Yogi Bear, and Astro and RUDI on The Jetsons.

10. In 2001, Yuri Usachev, cosmonaut and commander of the International Space Station, received a talking picture frame from his 12-year-old daughter while in orbit. The gift was made possible by RadioShack, which filmed the presentation of the gift for a TV commercial.

11. The only father-daughter collaboration to hit the top spot on the Billboard pop music chart was the 1967 hit single "Something Stupid" by Frank & Nancy Sinatra.

12. In the underwater world of the seahorse, it's the male that gets to carry the eggs and birth the babies.

13. If show creator/producer Sherwood Schwartz had gotten his way, Gene Hackman would have portrayed the role of father Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch.

14. The Stevie Wonder song "Isn't She Lovely" is about his newborn daughter, Aisha. If you listen closely, you can hear Aisha crying during the song.

15. Dick Hoyt has pushed and pulled his son Rick, who has cerebral palsy, through hundreds of marathons and triathlons. Rick cannot speak, but using a custom-designed computer he has been able to communicate. They ran their first five-mile race together when Rick was in high school. When they were done, Rick sent his father this message: "Dad, when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!"

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