LeBron James’ Iconic NBA Draft and the Fate of Other Picks

LeBron James was picked No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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James is now in his 20th season and is still regarded as one the best players in the NBA and one of the best players of all time, with four MVPs and four titles. He’s in his fifth season with the Los Angeles Lakers.

LeBron James smiles while running down the court in 2022.
LeBron James. 
Luis M. Alvarez/AP Images

Darko Milicic was picked No. 2 overall by the Detroit Pistons.

darko milicic 2003 nba draft

REUTERS/Mike Segar


Considered one of the biggest draft busts ever, Milicic played for six teams in ten years. He later played overseas, became a kickboxer, and then worked and lived on an apple farm in Serbia.

darko milicic




Carmelo Anthony was picked No. 3 overall by the Denver Nuggets.

carmelo anthony 2003 nba draft

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton


A 10-time All-Star, Anthony bounced around after years with the Nuggets and Knicks. After falling out of the NBA, he had a solid comeback with the Portland Trail Blazers and spent last season teamed up with LeBron on the Lakers. He is now a free agent and hoping to return to the league once more.

Carmelo Anthony

Sean Gardner/Getty Images



Chris Bosh was picked No. 4 overall by the Toronto Raptors.

chris bosh 2003 nba draft

REUTERS/Peter Jones


Bosh’s career took a turn when he was twice diagnosed with blood clots. Bosh attempted to make comebacks, but teams didn’t want to sign him. He gave up on his comeback, and the Heat retired his number in 2019. He is now a music producer, recently published his first book, and has even dabbled in coding.

Chris Bosh

Joe Skipper/AP



Dwyane Wade was picked No. 5 overall by the Miami Heat.

dwyane wade 2003 nba draft

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton


Wade spent 14 of his 16 NBA seasons with the Miami Heat. He retired at the end of the 2018-19 season. He was a 13-time All-Star. He now is a basketball analyst, philanthropist, and recently joined the Utah Jazz ownership group.

Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade attend "In America: An Anthology of Fashion," the 2022 Costume Institute Benefit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City.
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade attend “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” the 2022 Costume Institute Benefit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 02, 2022 in New York City. 
Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Chris Kaman was picked No. 6 overall by the Los Angeles Clippers.

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Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty


Kaman retired from the NBA in 2015-16. He played 13 seasons, making one All-Star team, and made $86 million. It’s unclear what he does now, but he was inducted into the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame in 2018. He does still dabble in hoops, having recently competed in a Michigan 3-on-3 tourney.

Chris Kaman

via WOOD TV8/YouTube



Kirk Hinrich was picked No. 7 overall by the Chicago Bulls

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REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton


Hinrich played 13 seasons in the NBA, 11 of them with the Bulls. He now works with Sanford Power basketball, a training facility in the midwest.

kirk hinrich

SUX Sports/YouTube


TJ Ford was picked No. 8 overall by the Milwaukee Bucks.

tj ford

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images


Ford had to retire in 2012 because of a spinal injury. He now runs basketball camps for Texas high school players.

tj ford

Texas Longhorns/YouTube



Michael Sweetney was picked No. 9 overall by the New York Knicks.

michael sweetney 2003 nba draft

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton


He fell out of the league in 2007 after struggling with weight issues. He is now an assistant coach at Yeshiva University after running basketball camps in Israel. He also advocates for mental wellness after opening up about his own struggles with depression.

michael sweetney



Jarvis Hayes was picked No. 10 overall by the Washington Wizards.

jarvis hayes 2003

Doug Pensinger/Getty


Hayes played seven seasons in the NBA. He is now an assistant coach at Georgia State University.

jarvis hayes




Mickael Pietrus was picked No. 11 overall by the Golden State Warriors

mickael pietrus 2003 warriors

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson


He was a solid role player around the league for years, last playing in 2013. As of 2015, he was playing internationally. It’s unclear what he does today.

mickael pietrus

Rich Pedroncelli/AP


Nick Collison was picked No. 12 overall by the Seattle Sonics.

nick collison

M. David Leeds/NBAE via Getty Images


Collison played for the Sonics/Thunder for his entire career. He announced his retirement in May 2018 and the team retired his jersey in 2019. He now works with the Thunder’s front office.

Nick Collison

Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images


Marcus Banks was picked No. 13 overall and traded to the Boston Celtics.

marcus banks boston celtics rookie

Jamie Squire/Getty Images


Banks played internationally after ten years in the NBA. He has worked as an analyst on NBA TV and played in the Big3. He now runs a basketball academy.

marcus banks

Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


Luke Ridnour was picked No. 14 overall by the Seattle Sonics.

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Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images


Ridnour retired in 2016 after 12 years in the NBA. He occasionally trains basketball players and works with his son’s basketball team.

luke ridnour 2016

William Jessup University/YouTube

Reece Gaines was picked No. 15 overall by the Orlando Magic.

reece gaines 2003

Ed Betz/AP


Gaines played seven years in the NBA and is now a coach on the Austin Spurs, the Spurs’ G League affiliate.

recce gaines

Park Community Credit Union/YouTube


Troy Bell was picked No. 16 overall and traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.

troy bell 2003 nba draft



Bell only played one season in the NBA. He has since played overseas, most recently in Argentina. He is also an R&B artist.

troy bell now


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Zarko Cabarkapa was picked No. 17 overall by the Phoenix Suns.

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REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton


He only played for three years in the NBA. In 2015, he became the sports director of the Adriatic Basketball Association League.

zarko cabaraka

ABA Liga/YouTube


David West was picked No. 18 overall by the New Orleans Hornets.

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Elsa/Getty Images


West was a two-time All-Star, playing for four teams in 15 years. He retired in 2018 and is now the COO for The Collegiate Basketball League.

David West



Sasha Pavlovic was picked No. 19 overall by the Utah Jazz.

sasha pavlovic 2003 nba draft

REUTERS/Steve Wilson


After 10 years as a role player in the NBA, he returned to play in Europe. He was cut from the Greek club Panathinaikos in early 2016. As of 2018, he said he was retired and weighing his future.

Sasha Pavlovic

via EuroHoops TV


Dahntay Jones was picked No. 20 overall and traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.

dahntay jones 2003 nba draft

REUTERS/Steve Wilson


Jones bounced around the NBA, last playing in 2017. He has since played in the Big3 and appeared on several networks as an analyst.

Dahntay Jones



Boris Diaw was picked No. 21 overall by the Atlanta Hawks.

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Jamie Squire/Getty


Diaw played 14 seasons in the NBA, playing a key role in the Spurs’ 2014 championship. He played professionally in France in 2017 and now appears to travel the world.

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via Instagram/Boris Diaw


Zoran Planinic was picked No. 22 overall by the New Jersey Nets.

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Ed Betz/AP


Planinic went back to Europe in 2006 and was the MVP of the 2012 Eurocup while playing for the Russian team BC Khimki Moscow. He most recently played for the Turkish club Efes in 2014.

zoran planinic

Roberto Finizio/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images


Travis Outlaw was picked No. 23 overall by the Portland Trail Blazers.

Travis Outlaw

Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images


After seven seasons with the Blazers, Outlaw bounced around the league and eventually fell out in 2014 after being waived by the 76ers. He now hosts basketball camps in Mississippi.

travis outlaw

Matt Slocum/AP

Brian Cook was picked No. 24 overall by the Los Angeles Lakers.

brian cook 2003 nba draft

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images


Cook last played in the NBA in 2014. After playing in Japan, Cook played in the Big3 in 2018.

brian cook

Stephen Brashear/BIG3/Getty Images


Carlos Delfino was picked No. 25 overall by the Detroit Pistons.

carlos delfino 2003 nba draft

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton


Delfino last played in the NBA in 2013. He has since played internationally. He was cut by one Italian team in 2018 for “almost violent behavior” with the coach. He is still an active player and now plays for Carpegna Prosciutto Pesaro in Italy.

Carlos Delfino

Roberto Finizio/Getty Images



Ndudi Ebi was picked No. 26 by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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He played for two years in the NBA and has played overseas, most recently in France. He now works for a sports and entertainment consulting firm

Ndudi Ebi

Roberto Serra – Iguana Press/Getty Images


Kendrick Perkins was picked No. 27 overall and traded to the Boston Celtics.

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Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


Perkins was a successful role player for several teams. He last played for the Cavaliers in 2018. He is now an ESPN analyst.

kendrick perkins espn

via YouTube/ESPN


Leandro Barbosa was picked No. 28 overall and traded to the Phoenix Suns.

leandro barbosa 2003 nba draft

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton


Barbosa played 14 years in the NBA, winning Sixth Man of the Year and two championships with the Warriors. He last played with the Suns in 2017, then in Brazil. He officially retired in 2021 and is now a coach and player-mentor for the Warriors. This season he became an assistant for the Kings.

Leandro Barbosa

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images


Josh Howard was picked No. 29 overall by the Dallas Mavericks.

josh howard 2003 nba draft

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton


Howard left the NBA in 2013 after an injury-plagued career. He became the head coach of the Piedmont International University basketball team in 2016 and in 2020 was hired as head coach of the University of North Texas at Dallas.

Joshua Howard


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