The most rebounds in a game by an NBA player is 55 by Wilt Chamberlain on November 24th, 1960, against the Boston Celtics. This is no surprise. Throughout his career, Chamberlain averaged 22.9 rebounds. In the 1960-61 NBA season, Chamberlain averaged 27.2 rebounds a game.
IN ADDITION, Wilt Chamberlain has had 38+ rebounds in a game 29 TIMES and Bill Russell 23 TIMES! There are no players from the 1983-84 NBA Season and onwards with 38+ rebounds in a game. The only other players to have more than 38+ rebounds in a game were:
Jerry Lucas (40 Rebounds)
Neil Johnston (39 Rebounds)
Maurice Stokes (38 Rebounds)
As a result, when looking at which players had the most rebounds in a game, we'll look from the 1983-84 NBA Season and onwards. If we were to include players from before then, we would only be talking about Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell.
However, I do want to briefly cover Maurice Stokes and his 38 rebound game. Stokes was drafted in the 1955 NBA Draft by the Rochester Royals as the second pick!
Unfortunately, Stokes had an extremely short three-season career as he was diagnosed with post-traumatic encephalopathy (i.e., paralyzation). Nonetheless, he still made the best of his three-season career. He was a:
3x All-NBA Second Team
Rookie of the Year
1955-56 Rebounding Leader
Hall of Famer
Stokes was always a fantastic rebounder. At only 6'7," throughout his career, he averaged 17.3 rebounds. As a rookie in the 1955-56 NBA season, he led the league in rebounds per game (16.3). This also happened to be the same season where Stokes had his 38 rebound game.
On January 14th, 1956, against the Rochester Royals, Stokes put up:
26 Points, 14 Assists, 38 Rebounds
11/18 FG, 4/9 FT
Not only did Stokes grab 38 rebounds, but he also had a triple-double! What makes this more impressive is that he was a rookie!
In addition, he was playing against one of the best Power Forwards in the league back then, Adolph Schayes, who, in the 1955-56 NBA season, averaged 20.4 points and 12.4 rebounds! This would be Stokes career-high in rebounds in a game.
Heads up, but if a player is on this list multiple times (ex: Dennis Rodman, Dikembe Mutombo, etc.), I will only go in-depth into their highest-rebound game, so I can use more space to talk about other players that only appear once.
Now back to the players who recorded the most rebounds in a game from the 1983-84 NBA Season and onwards!
Table of Contents:
26 Rebounds (24 Players)
24 PLAYERS are tied for the tenth-most rebounds in a game. The 24 players that have grabbed 26 rebounds in a game are:
One 26 Rebound Game: Clint Capela, Anthony Davis, Enes Kanter, DeAndre Jordan, Reggie Evans, Tim Duncan, Joel Przybilla, Andre Biedrins, Erick Dampier, Shaquille O' Neal, Lorenzen Wright, Chris Webber, Jayson Williams, Ervin Johnson, Charles Barkley, Dikembe Mutombo, Patrick Ewing, Charles Shackleford, Otis Thrope, and Charles Oakley.
Two 26 Rebound Games: Andre Drummond and Al Jefferson.
Four 26 Rebound Games: Dwight Howard.
Seven 26 Rebound Games: Dennis Rodman.
As said previously, if a player here doesn't show up under this section, that means that they've had a game where they grabbed EVEN MORE rebounds!
To start the list of players with the tenth-most rebounds in a game is Clint Capela. Clint Capela's 26 rebound game happened on January 20th, 2021, against the Detroit Pistons. This beat his previous career-high of 25 rebounds during the 2017-2018 NBA season when Capela was still with the Houston Rockets.
It's not surprising that Capela was able to grab 26 rebounds this game. Capela was against the Detroit Pistons, the worst team in the Eastern Conference during the 2020-2021 NBA season. In addition, Capela led the league in RPG in the 2020-2021 NBA season with 14.3 rebounds a game.
In just the Second Quarter, Capela grabbed 10 REBOUNDS! This was the same number of rebounds the entire Detroit Pistons' roster had in the Second Quarter!
However, if the game didn't go into Overtime, Capela would not have beaten his previous career-high. By the end of the fourth quarter, Capela 'only' had 24 rebounds, one away from tying his last career-high and two from beating it. Thankfully, in OT, Capela would grab two more rebounds, beating his previous record.
Besides his rebounding, Capela was also the best player in this game. He put up:
27 Points, 26 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 1 Steal, and 5 Blocks
10/18 FG, 7/12 FT
Anthony Davis' 26 rebound game happened on January 2nd, 2019, against the Brooklyn Nets.
This is slightly more surprising than Capela's 26 rebound game, as although Davis is a good rebounder, that's not what he's known for.
This game happened amid Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers trade 'rumors.' Rumors are in quotation marks because it was basically guaranteed that AD was leaving for the Lakers.
As a result, he only played 56 games for the New Orleans Pelicans this season. With more time to rest, maybe that was what led to his increase in rebounds. As not only did he have a 26 rebound game, but this was his career-high in RPG as well (13.1)
As for the game, although AD and the resting of the Pelicans starting five played well, the bench was half-asleep, ending in a 121-126 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
AD outrebounded his entire team this game! The next two players with the most rebounds were Jrue Holiday and Julius Randle with four! Altogether, besides AD, the Pelicans only had 15 rebounds...
AD's 26 rebound game is impressive as the Brooklyn Nets had five players grab more than five rebounds this game:
Ed Davis: 12 Rebounds
Jarrett Allen: 11 Rebounds
DeMarre Carroll: 6 Rebounds
D'Angelo Russell: 5 Rebounds
Like Capela, AD was the best player in this game. He put up:
34 Points, 26 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 1 Steal, and 3 Blocks
12/25 FG, 2/6 3P, 8/10 FT
Reggie Evans' 26 rebound game happened on March 27th, 2013, against the Portland Trailblazers. Throughout his thirteen-year career, Evans averaged 7.1 rebounds, so not a lot. He only averaged more than ten rebounds in two seasons. One of those seasons, being the same season, he would record his 26 rebound game.
The Brooklyn Nets didn't lack any decent rebounders. They had prime Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace, but I guess Evans just took over this game.
Evans almost had as many rebounds as the entire Nets team. Everybody but Evans grabbed 28 rebounds. However, he did outrebound the Portland Trailblazers' starting lineup by four!
J.J. Hickson: 7 Rebounds
LaMarcus Aldridge: 4 Rebounds
Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, and Nicolas Batum: 3 Rebounds
Like Capela, Evans grabbed 10 REBOUNDS in a single quarter! What makes it more impressive than Capela's ten rebounds is that 5/10 of the rebounds were offensive rebounds.
Offensive rebounds are harder to grab, and in the 2012-2013 NBA season, Evans averaged 3.3 offensive rebounds. That means in just a quarter, he already exceeded his season average by 1.7.
Like everybody else on this list so far, Evans also had a fantastic performance:
22 Points, 26 Rebounds, 3 Assists, 1 Steal
9/13 FG, 4/9 FT
Al Jefferson had TWO 26 rebound games. The first game happened on January 13th, 2010, against the Houston Rockets. The second game happened on April 16th, 2012, against the Dallas Mavericks.
Unlike everyone on this list so far, Jefferson's 26 rebound games happened during down-seasons. In the 2009-10 NBA season, Jefferson was averaging 9.3 rebounds. That still is a lot, but in the previous season, he was averaging 11.0 rebounds.
In the 2011-2012 NBA season, Jefferson averaged 9.6 rebounds. Better than 9.3, but not by a lot.
There are a lot of peculiar similarities in both games. Obviously, Jefferson grabbed 26 in both games, but in both games:
Went to THREE OVERTIMES!
Jefferson would have ended with 20 rebounds if the games didn't go into overtime.
In OT1 and OT2, Jefferson grabbed three rebounds. In OT3, Jefferson didn't grab any rebounds.
January 13th, 2010 Stats:
26 Points, 26 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 1 Steal, 1 Block
12/26 FG, 2/3 FT
April 16th, 2012 Stats:
28 Points, 26 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 1 Steal, and 2 Blocks
Joey Przybilla's 26 rebound game happened on March 22nd, 2008, against the Los Angeles Clippers.