National Basketball Association: Number of Steals in Individual Game Records

Read to get a detailed view of the Importance of steals, and related records in the history of the National Basketball Association.

In the world of basketball, a player on defence who successfully and aggressively causes a turnover is said to have registered steal(s). However, this can be accomplished by intercepting and controlling an opponent’s pass or dribble, as well as by catching it. A foul is committed if the defender touches the offensive player’s hands. Steals are said to be recorded for the first time in the NBA, during the 1973–74 season. 

As per circulated information, even if they don’t end up with control of the live ball, defensive players who initially force the turnover are given credit for steals. The defensive player must start the activity that results in the turnover in order to earn a steal; they cannot just benefit from it. Every time a defensive player records a theft, an offensive player must be given credit for a turnover.

Facts Associated with Steals:


Good anticipation, speed and quick reflexes are all considered important characteristics of effective defenders, and as well necessary for ball stealing. Steals, like blocked shots, aren’t necessarily regarded as a reliable indicator of a player’s defensive prowess. Moreover, a failed steal might have the capability of putting the defender out of position and preventing them from recovering in time, which would let the offence score. As a result, trying to steal is considered risky. Even though they carry a high level of danger, steals frequently result in a fast break for the defending side. According to reports, there isn’t a standard position where a player can get a lot of steals. 

In the NBA, some of the top defensive experts in the steals category include names like Hakeem Olajuwon, Walt Frazier, Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan, Chris Paul, Michael Ray Richardson, Alvin Robertson, John Stockton, Jerry West, and Clyde Drexler. 

The below pointers contain further information regarding the maximum steal records: 


  • Most steals in a game: 

> 11 by Larry Kenon, San Antonio Spurs (at Kansas City Kings) on December 26, 1976

> 11 by Kendall Gill, New Jersey Nets (vs. Miami Heat) on April 3, 1999

  • Most steals in a half: 9 by T. J. McConnell, Indiana Pacers (vs. Cleveland Cavaliers) on March 3, 2021
  • Most steals in a quarter: 8 by Fat Lever, Denver Nuggets (vs. Indiana Pacers) on March 9, 1985

According to reports, there are primarily two kinds of steals: intercepting a pass and interfering with a dribble. It’s uncommon for a player to excel in both areas. Depending on their skills, intelligent defenders are typically proficient in one or the other technique.

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