Thursday, 23 May 2024

Top Moments: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade Headline 2003 Draft Class

NBA.com takes a trip down memory lane to revisit the defining moments that have shaped the history of the NBA. In a league filled with legendary drafts like the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, the 2003 NBA Draft class managed to carve out their own special place in history.

LeBron James, the undisputed star of the draft, was selected as the number one pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Joining him in the top five were basketball greats Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. The talent that emerged from this group was truly unparalleled.

With a combined total of eight All-Star appearances, four Olympic Gold Medals, two NBA Finals MVPs, and one four-time league MVP, the impact of the 2003 class cannot be overstated. James, Anthony, Bosh, and Wade have left an indelible mark on the NBA, shaping the league’s landscape for the past decade.

But it’s not just the top four picks that made this draft class legendary. The likes of Chris Kaman, David West, Josh Howard, and Mo Williams have all made their mark in the league with multiple All-Star appearances. Late-round picks such as Jason Kapono, Zaza Pachulia, Steve Blake, Matt Bonner, Keith Bogans, James Jones, and Kyle Korver have also had successful careers in the NBA.

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One of the defining moments for this class was when Dwyane Wade teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal to bring the Miami Heat their first NBA championship in 2006. Carmelo Anthony became the face of the Denver Nuggets, leading them to the 2009 Western Conference Finals. Chris Bosh led the Toronto Raptors to their first Atlantic Division championship. And LeBron James, during his first stint with the Cavaliers, established himself as the best player in the league, winning two MVP awards and leading the team to their first NBA Finals in 2007.

However, it was the free-agency bonanza of 2010 that truly solidified this draft class’s impact on the league. LeBron James and Chris Bosh decided to join forces with Dwyane Wade in Miami, forming the iconic “Big Three.” They went on to win back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013, with LeBron James earning multiple MVPs and Finals MVPs.

All of this started on June 26, 2003, a day that changed the NBA forever. The impact of the 2003 draft class continues to be felt throughout the league to this day.