How Lebron James and the 2003 Draft are Forever Together

Lebron James was the #1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft (the first draft I ever attended). 4 of the top 5 picks will be hall of famers (James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh). After doing some research on this draft class, Lebron James has a connection to 19 of the 59 other players drafted, including playing with 9 of them throughout his career. Only 7 active players remain from this draft (as of the end of the regular season) and another 7 are currently head or assistant coaches in the NBA, college and G-league levels or NBA front office personnel.

But how is Lebron tied to so many different players from this draft class?

The Friends

  • #1 pick Lebron James. Lebron has played with 9 players from this draft. Kyle Korver and Kendrick Perkins were both members of the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals team. Former Cavs teammates include Jason Kapono, James Jones, Mo Williams, Dahntay Jones, Sasha Pavlovic, and Dwayne Wade. His Heat teammates include Wade, Jones, and Chris Bosh.
    • James Jones and Lebron James played in 7 straight NBA finals together, before Jones finally retired after 2017 to join the Phoenix Suns front office
    • Mo Williams joined the Cavs in 2008 and made the all star team with Lebron in 2009. He left Cleveland and rejoined from 2015-2017 and is now an assistant coach for Cal-State Northridge.
    • Lebron and Dwayne Wade won 2 championships together in 4 attempts in Miami from 2010-2014. Wade joined Lebron in Cleveland in 2017, but was traded to Miami at the deadline.
    • Kyle Korver has been Lebron’s teammates for back-to-back finals seasons and Kendrick Perkins joined the Cavs in late April

The Warriors

  • Lebron lost his second consecutive finals to the Warriors, who have two members of this draft – Zaza Pachulia and David West.
  • In 2015, the first time Lebron lost to the Warriors they had Lenadre Barbosa
  • In 2015-16, Lebron won his third NBA title, first as a Cav. The Warriors assistant coach (who was interim HC for 19 games) was Luke Walton, the __ pick in this draft. Walton is now the Lakers HC, and hopes to woo Lebron to LA
  • Willie Green replaced Walton as an assistant in Golden State and won a ring the last 2 years

The Other Championships (Wins and Losses)

  • Boris Diaw and Matt Bonner were teammates on the Spurs 2014 NBA championship team that beat Lebron’s Heat in the NBA finals.
  • Lebron’s first title came in 2012 against the the Oklahoma City Thunder, who had Nick Collison
  • In Lebron’s Cavs run part 1, his Cavs lost to the Magic in the eastern conference finals, against Mickael Pietrus and Brian Cook

Mike is a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) and an alum of the University of Cincinnati.

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