The 2003 NBA draft was one of the most impressive in the history of the game. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade were all taken in the top five.
In the weeks leading up to the draft, there was debate about who should go first overall between James and Anthony. James was the next Jordan, but a high school student who may or may not have been ready for the rigors of the NBA.
Anthony had just led Syracuse University to a national title as a freshman and his stock was possibly as high as it ever was.
James went first to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, Darko Milicic the Serbian center, went to Detroit in what was one of the biggest busts in draft history, and Anthony fell to Denver at number three.
The process of going through the draft together formed a bond between the four Americans taken in the top five. That bond was so strong that it led to the creation of the Miami Heat team that just won the NBA title.
Anthony is now the only member of that elite fraternity to not have his own NBA title, but after watching his friends get theirs, he thinks he is close.
I believe that my time is coming, Anthony said Tuesday morning at Madame Tussauds New York during an unveiling of his own wax figure. I'm a big believer in that, whether it's this year or next year. I truly believe that my time is coming and we're going to keep playing for that.
To that end, Anthony has been in Los Angeles working on a new training program since the Heat knocked the Knicks out in the first round of the playoffs. Anthony has already shed 12 pounds and he says he is making an impression with Knicks coaches.
Me and coach Woodson talk, and me and the training staff talk, and there are some things that they would like to see coming back into this season, Anthony said. Right now, I exceeded their expectations, and when they saw me the other day, they were kind of shocked to see me down in weight. They came to my workout, they saw it. They're actually excited about how much hard work that I'm putting in and the things I'm doing right now.
Anthony has developed a reputation as a player who can seem uninterested and passive at times, and one who can become a bit of a ball hog at others. But he has spent time working with teammates Tyson Chandler and Jeremy Lin this summer in hopes of bridging those gaps too.
Anthony appeared to resent Lin's rise to fame while he was on the bench with an injury, but Lin repeatedly told reporters that Anthony was a very good teammate. That sense of team play and cohesion is another facet of his summer workouts.
It was good, man, Anthony said. Myself, Tyson and Jeremy was out there in LA working out and training and things like that, and the coaching staff came out there and gave their support. The training staff was out there. We're just trying to get that camaraderie right now, that family mentality and trying to create a bond -- not just on the court, but off the court as well right now.
Anthony also said he thought that injuries were to blame for the way the Knicks season ended last year and that he and his teammates were anxious to get back at it next season.