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Basketball player selection

2003 NBA draft
General information
Sport Basketball
Date(s) June 26, 2003
Location The Theater at Madison Square Garden (New York City, New York)
Network(s) ESPN
58 total selections in 2 rounds
League NBA
First selection LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)
← 2002
2004 →

The 2003 NBA draft was held on June 26, 2003, at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. The NBA announced that 41 college and high school players and a record 31 international players had filed as early-entry candidates for the 2003 NBA draft.[1] The Cleveland Cavaliers, who had a 22.50 percent probability of obtaining the first selection, won the NBA draft lottery on May 22, and Cleveland chairman Gordon Gund said afterward his team would select LeBron James.[2] The Detroit Pistons and the Denver Nuggets were second and third, respectively. This draft was the first draft to be aired on ESPN after they picked up the license from TNT.

The 2003 draft is known for having one of the deepest talent pools in NBA history. The draft contained 15 players who combined for 26 championships. Four of the top five picks are NBA All-Stars and “Redeem Team” Olympic Gold Medalists: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James. Many players have been in the starting line-ups of their respective teams; nine have participated in an All-Star Game, Dwyane Wade was named NBA Finals MVP in 2006 and won NBA championships with the Miami Heat in 2006, 2012 and 2013, as well as the NBA All Star Game MVP in 2010. Boris Diaw won the Most Improved Player Award in 2006, Jason Kapono won the three point shootout in back-to-back years in 2007 and 2008, James Jones won the three point shootout in 2011, Leandro Barbosa won the Sixth Man Award in 2007, Kyle Korver set the NBA record for three point shooting percentage in 2010 (53.6%), and in the 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013 seasons, LeBron James won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award, and the NBA Finals MVP in 2012, 2013, 2016, and 2020. Carmelo Anthony won the 2013 NBA scoring title and was the only player in NBA history to win at least three Olympic gold medals[3] until Kevin Durant won his third one in 2021. Zaza Pachulia and David West won NBA championships with the Golden State Warriors in 2017 and 2018. Matt Bonner won NBA championships with the San Antonio Spurs in 2007 and 2014. Dahntay Jones and Mo Williams won the NBA championship in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Luke Walton won three NBA championships, two as a player with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and 2010 and one as an assistant coach with the Warriors in 2015. Chris Bosh left the Toronto Raptors in 2010 as its all-time leader in points, rebounds, blocks, double doubles, free throws made and attempted, and minutes played; he went on to win championships with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013.

The 2003 draft class has drawn comparisons to the 1984 and 1996 NBA draft classes[4] but is also known for the Detroit Pistons’ selection of Darko Miličić with the second overall pick over other prospects who went on to have much more success in the league.[4] Only one player from this draft, Nick Collison, played his entire career for the team that drafted him. As of 2023, James is the only remaining active player from the 2003 draft class.

Eleven of the players selected in this draft never played in an NBA game throughout their professional basketball careers. Two of those players were the sole selection of the draft by their respective teams: Malick Badiane (Houston’s only pick) and Paccelis Morlende (Philadelphia’s only pick).

Draft selections[edit]

LeBron James was one of the most anticipated first overall draft picks in the history of any sport. He is the second high school draftee to be a first overall pick, the first being Kwame Brown in 2001, and was followed by Dwight Howard in 2004.[5]
Carmelo Anthony was selected 3rd overall by the Denver Nuggets.
Chris Bosh, selected 4th overall by the Toronto Raptors, was the first member of the draft class to be elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Dwyane Wade was selected 5th overall by the Miami Heat.
Chris Kaman was selected 6th overall by the Los Angeles Clippers.
David West was selected 18th overall by the New Orleans Hornets.
Josh Howard was selected 29th overall by the Dallas Mavericks.
Mo Williams was selected 47th overall by the Utah Jazz.
Kyle Korver was selected 51st overall by the New Jersey Nets (traded to the Philadelphia 76ers).
PG Point guard SG Shooting guard SF Small forward PF Power forward C Center
^ Denotes player who has been inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
* Denotes player who has been selected for at least one All-Star Game and All-NBA Team
+ Denotes player who has been selected for at least one All-Star Game
# Denotes player who has never appeared in an NBA regular season or playoff game
~ Denotes player who has been selected as Rookie of the Year
Round Pick Player Position Nationality[n 1] Team School/Club Team
1 1 LeBron James*~ SF/PF