Who Were the 4 Players Taken Ahead of Dwyane Wade in the 2003 NBA Draft?

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Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat gestures toward the Heat fans.

For Dwyane Wade, another monumental basketball moment will take place Saturday. Wade, a three-time NBA champion and 13-time All-Star, is set to officially be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Wade was recently labeled by Heat president Pat Riley as the best player to ever wear a Miami Heat uniform. The Heat selected Wade, a Marquette standout, with the fifth overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. How good were those four players taken before him?

Dwyane Wade heads strong list of stars to be enshrined into the 2023 Hall of Fame

Dwyane Wade is a member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team after a stellar career that spanned 16 years. Wade won a championship in just his third season in the NBA after Miami selected him with the fifth overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft.

Riley gave Wade the ultimate compliment, saying he was the best player in team history. With players like LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, and Jimmy Butler all donning the Heat uniform, that’s some serious praise.

“As a Heat player, Dwyane is the greatest player who ever put on a uniform for us,” Riley said, per The Miami Herald.

“LeBron was here for four years and gave us a tremendous lift and helped Dwyane achieve what he wanted to achieve,” Wade said. “But over the body of work here in Miami, Dwyane is the greatest player who ever played for the Heat. That’s not an insult to LeBron. That’s because of his longevity and the short term that LeBron was here.”

Wade’s efforts on the court earned him a place in the Hall of Fame. He, along with other stars like Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Paul Gasol, and Gregg Popovich, among others, will be officially enshrined at Saturday’s ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Two of the players drafted ahead of Dwyane Wade became his Miami Heat teammates

While Wade was the fifth overall player taken in 2003, all but one taken ahead of him went on to NBA stardom. Two of them were Wade’s teammates during their consecutive championships in 2011 and 2012.

James went first overall and went on to become the greatest NBA player of his era. He’s widely considered one of the best to ever play the game.

At No. 4, the Toronto Raptors selected Chris Bosh, a 6-foot-11 forward/center out of Georgia Tech. Bosh was an 11-time All-Star and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2021. He and James joined Wade in Miami before the 2010-11 season, and they put together back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2-13.

At No. 3, the Denver Nuggets took Carmelo Anthony out of Syracuse. Anthony played 19 years in the league, earning 10 All-Star appearances. A future Hall of Famer, Anthony was also named to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.

The only player who didn’t pan out in the NBA taken before Wade was Darko Milicic, drafted by the Detroit Pistons with the second overall pick. Although Milicic lasted 10 years in the league, he bounced around with six different teams. He averaged six points in his career.

With Bosh already in, Wade will more than likely be the second of four to reach the Hall of Fame of the top five picks in that top-heavy 2003 NBA Draft.