- The 2003 NBA Draft is regarded as one of the best of all time.
- The first fives picks alone produced NBA legends like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade — some of the most successful players in NBA history.
- Like all drafts, it also produced busts who didn't accomplish much in the NBA and fell out of the league quickly.
- Today, many players are still involved in basketball while some have moved on entirely.
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The 2003 NBA Draft remains one of the most legendary drafts in NBA history.
Though it may lack the depth of the classic 1996 Kobe Bryant draft, it was among the most top-heavy we've ever seen: LeBron James went first, and the top five picks were rounded out by Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade.
Of course, like all drafts, it also produced some famous busts, role players, and players who went into other fields after their playing days were over.
See what happened to the top 29 picks of the draft below:
Tony Manfred contributed to this report.
Source: Argus LeaderTJ Ford was picked No. 8 overall by the Milwaukee Bucks. Ford had to retire in 2012 because of a spinal injury. He now runs basketball camps for Texas high school players.
Source: ESPNMichael Sweetney was picked No. 9 overall by the New York Knicks. He fell out of the league in 2007 after struggling with weight issues. As of 2019 he was an assistant coach at Yeshiva University and an advocate for mental wellness after opening up about his own struggles with depression.
Source: Jarvis Hayes/TwitterMickael Pietrus was picked No. 11 overall by the Golden State Warriors 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. Nick Collison was picked No. 12 overall by the Seattle Sonics. 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.
Source: ForbesMarcus Banks was picked No. 13 overall and traded to the Boston Celtics. 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. Luke Ridnour was picked No. 14 overall by the Seattle Sonics. Ridnour retired in 2016 after 12 years in the NBA. He occasionally trains basketball players and works with his son's basketball team.
Source: Yakima HeraldReece Gaines was picked No. 15 overall by the Orlando Magic. Gaines played seven years in the NBA, and is now a coach on the Austin Spurs, the Spurs' G League affiliate. Troy Bell was picked No. 16 overall and traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. Bell only played one season in the NBA. He has since played overseas, most recently in Argentina. He is also an R&B artist.
Source: BC InterruptionZarko Cabarkapa was picked No. 17 overall by the Phoenix Suns. He only played three years in the NBA. In 2015, he became the sports director of the Adriatic Basketball Association League.
Source: HoopsHypeDavid West was picked No. 18 overall by the New Orleans Hornets. West was a two-time All-Star, playing for four teams in 15 years. He retired in 2018. Sasha Pavlovic was picked No. 19 overall by the Utah Jazz. 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.
Source: EuroHoopsDahntay Jones was picked No. 20 overall and traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. Jones vounced around the NBA, last playing in 2017. He has since played in the Big 3 and appeared on several networks as an analyst.
Source: Bleacher ReportBoris Diaw was picked No. 21 overall by the Atlanta Hawks. 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.
Source: Boris Diaw/InstagramZoran Planinic was picked No. 22 overall by the New Jersey Nets. Planinic went back to Europe in 2006 and was the MVP of the 2012 Eurocup while playing for Russian team BC Khimki Moscow. He most recently played for the Turkish club Efes in 2014. His cousin is Clippers center Ivica Zubac. Travis Outlaw was picked No. 23 overall by the Portland Trail Blazers. 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.
Cook last played in the NBA in 2014. After playing in Japan, Cook played in the Big 3 in 2018. Carlos Delfino was picked No. 25 overall by the Detroit Pistons. Delfino last played in the NBA in 2013. He has since played internationally, most recently in Italy, but was cut by the team in 2018 for "almost violent behavior" with the coach.
Source: EuroHoopsNdudi Ebi was picked No. 26 by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He played two years in the NBA and has played overseas, most recently in France.
Source: BeBasketKendrick Perkins was picked No. 27 overall and traded to the Boston Celtics. Perkins was a successful role player for several teams. He last played on the Cavaliers in 2018. He is now an ESPN analyst. Leandro Barbosa was picked No. 28 overall and traded to the Phoenix Suns. 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 this year. Josh Howard was picked No. 29 overall by the Dallas Mavericks. Howard left the NBA in 2013 after an injury-plagued career. He became as head coach of the Piedmont International University basketball team in 2016 and in 2020 was hired as head coach of University of North Texas at Dallas.
Source: Hoop DirtNow, see how some of the NBA's biggest stars have changed over time...