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“I’m better than LeBron James”: The former 2nd pick of the 2003 NBA Draft, Darko Milicic argued that he was better than the Los Angeles Lakers superstar

Advait Jajodia

"I'm better than LeBron James": The former 2nd pick of the 2003 NBA Draft, Darko Milicic argued that he was better than the Los Angeles Lakers superstar

Former number 2 pick of the 2003 Draft, Darko Milicic would often argue that he was better than LeBron James.

People often consider the 2003 NBA Draft to be one of the most talented classes in NBA history. With superstars like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh headlining the class, along with stars like Chris Kaman, Kyle Korver and David West, the Draft class was stacked.

Despite plenty of talent available in the class, the Detroit Pistons, with their 2nd pick, added big man Darko Milicic to their squad. And very early in his career, Darko became one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history.

The 7-footer center played merely 4.7 minutes and put up only 1.4 points and 1.3 rebounds in the 34 games he played for the Pistons. The Serbian player played 10 long seasons in the league, averaging only 6 points and 4.2 rebounds in a very underwhelming career.

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Darko Milicic would argue that he was better than LeBron James

The fact that Milicic was drafted before three future Hall-Of-Famers will always make his failure of a career stand out even more. However, on a recent podcast appearance, NBA draft expert Chad Ford revealed that he too would’ve drafted Darko as the 2nd pick, if he was the Pistons’ manager. On the “The Ryen Russillo Podcast”, the expert explained:

“I personally thought he was worthy of the number two pick in the draft,” Ford admitted. “I personally — if I had been a general manager — would have taken [Milicic] over Bosh or Dwyane Wade.”

Ford also explained how Darko would often argue with people saying he was better than King James.

“Yeah, and look, there’s some ego involved too. He read the hype, and Darko was a confident dude. Whatever you want to say about Darko, he would argue to your face, ‘Oh, I’m better than LeBron James’.”

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Clearly, the Pistons would have been a much more happy organization had they selected either Melo or DWade or even Bosh over Milicic.

Although, what’s done is done. In this 2021 Draft, the Pistons have the overall first pick. Hopefully, the Detroit front office has learnt their lesson after the entire Darko Milicic fiasco and will be more careful with their prestigious draft pick this offseason.

About the author

Advait Jajodia

Advait Jajodia


Advait Jajodia, a seasoned NBA journalist, has had a passion for the game for over a decade. His journey from admiring Kobe Bryant's precision to being in awe of Stephen Curry's long-range mastery instilled a profound understanding of basketball. With a background as a two-time National-level player, Advait uses his experience on the hardwood to offer insightful analysis. Over three years of dedicated sports journalism has equipped the 21-year-old with a unique perspective, reflected in his prolific portfolio of 3,700+ articles.

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