OK, it is a great thing that Kevin Love has tied John Stockton and Kevin Garnett for longest recorded double-double streak since 1987 (37 games). Love will, no doubt, pass KG and Stockton in his next game.
But let's not claim that Love is setting an "NBA record" by doing so. Wilt averaged 50 points and 27 boards in the 1961-62 season. Here is his game log: http://newsgroups.derkeiler.com/Archive/Alt/alt.sports.basketball.nba.la-lakers/2008-05/msg02598.html
His lowest rebound total for any game was 15.
When you average 50 a game, you clearly never get close to being held under 10 in any game. And he wasn't (Russell held him to 26, 28 and 30).
So we know through the hard work of some guy in 2008 that Wilt had AT LEAST an 80 game streak. In his first 7 seasons in the league, Wilt averaged at least 33 points and at least 22 rebounds a game. In his first 4 seasons his points total never fell below 37.6 and his rebounds total never fell below 24.3.
So, unless there was one game where he got ejected, it is likely that Wilt had a double-double streak of at least 4 years (311 games) and pretty likely that he had a 7 year streak (543 games by my count). You want to move into the theatre of the possible-but-not-likely? Wilt had 12 years in which his stats were better than Kevin Love's current stats (both on scoring and rebounding for 11 of those years). Wilt was hurt one year and played only 12 games, so in that stretch he played around 11 seasons of basketball. 11 X 80 games = 880 games. It is possible that Wilt had an 880 game double-double streak. http://www.nba.com/history/players/chamberlain_stats.html
(Side note -- Wilt led the league in scoring and rebounding almost every year between 1961 and 1965 and in NONE of those years did he win the MVP! Talk about getting jobbed. You wonder why Wilt had a testy relationship with the media?).
Even if we assume the occasional ejection or injury or bad game, if you take those 880 games and divide them up into streaks of 300, 100, 200, 200, and 80, Love's 37 really isn't anything approaching an "NBA record."
So why do we cut off double-double streaks at 1987? Was 1987 just a really great year? Do we miss the Reagan Administration that much? Are we trying to use a cutoff date for before Pervis Ellison and Stacy King joined the league?
Well, it is simpler than that -- we use 1986-87 not because it is the last 25 years. That is a coincidence. Go to Michael Jordan's stats on baketball-reference.com: http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jordami01.html
Look up his 1986-87 game log -- comes right up. Look at his game log for 1984-85 -- you can't. The basketball-reference folks don't go back before 1986-87. That is why we use 1986-87, because people have done half of our work for us. I am sure that somewhere in a dusty old library we can find enough newspaper box scores to figure out exactly how many games in a row Wilt had with a double-double. No one wants to do that....and add me to that list.
But we KNOW, for sure, that Wilt had 80 consecutive double-doubles, so let's stop referring to Love's streak as an "NBA Record."