Was NBA 2003 Draft Class One of the Finest in Last Decade?

Published 03/28/2020, 3:23 AM EDT

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Draft of 2003 was legendary in every sense. It was also probably one of the most talented draft pools in NBA history. Four of the first five picks in that draft are NBA All-stars and part of the 2008 Olympic Gold medalist team. Overall nine players have participated in All-Stars game from this draft. This draft also accounts for 26 championships from the 15 players over the years.

1st pick in that draft was LeBron James for Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron since then has obviously turned out to be the face of the NBA. LeBron James is now 3 times NBA champion, 4 times MVP and 3 times Finals MVP. He also has 16 trips to his name in NBA All-Star.

2nd pick was Darko Milicic for Detroit Pistons. This pick obviously was not as fruitful but still, Darko has a ring to his name. Carmelo Anthony was the third pick for Denver Nuggets. Chris Bosh was picked 4th by Toronto Raptors in that draft. Since then, Chris has turned out to be one of the finest from Raptors’. When he left Canadian capital for Miami, he was an all-time leader in points, rebounds, blocks, double-doubles, free throws made and attempted, and minutes played for Toronto. All these stats, just back his claim for being a Raptors legend.


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5th pick in the draft was Dwyane Wade for Miami Heat. Wade is a Miami legend and has won 3 NBA titles with 1 Finals MVP to his name. He has been Miami faithful for all his life, until his retirement in 2019. Wade is also probably the best ever to wear No 3 in the NBA.

Big 3 of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade also came from this draft. LeBron left Cleveland and Bosh left Raptors in 2010 to join their fellow draft player Wade in Miami. The Trio then appeared in 4 consecutive Finals in NBA and won 2 consecutive championships in 2012 & 2013 for Miami Heat. They were the major pillars on which the ‘Heats Dynasty’ stood upon.

Chris and Wade have now retired while LeBron James is still going strong in his 17th year in the NBA for LA Lakers. Like LeBron, Carmelo Anthony is also playing in the NBA for Portland Trail Blazers. Notably, in the top 5 picks only Carmelo has not won an NBA championship ever. But he still holds a unique record to his name, as he is the only player in NBA to win three Olympic Gold Medals.


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Wade didn’t know about LeBron James before the 2003 NBA Draft

Dwyane Wade didn’t know about high-school LeBron James and 2nd pick Darko Milicic before the draft. He disclosed this while he was doing Instagram live with his fellow draft player Carmelo Anthony. Melo and Wade were discussing the NBA Draft 2003 during the live.

Dwyane told Carmelo on what he thought about him before the draft, “Damn, this little chubby dude is nice”. To this, Carmelo broke into laughter. Former Heat star continued with how he didn’t know about LeBron James from High School, point of view. He said that he remembered Carmelo playing and doing amazing things on the court. That’s why 3 times NBA champion thought that Anthony would be going to be the No.1 pick in the draft.


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Wade continued that in his mind he didn’t know about LeBron James and definitely didn’t heard about Darko Milicic before the draft. To which Carmelo surprisingly replied with a, “Who”? To which Wade chuckled and said, “Guy who went No.2, ahead of you”.



Written by:

Anukul Chauhan


One take at a time