The 2003–04 NBA season
was the 58th season of the National Basketball Association
. The season ended with the Detroit Pistons
defeating the Los Angeles Lakers
4-1 in the 2004 NBA Finals
- This was the final season for the original two-division format in both the Eastern and Western Conferences, before each of the conferences added a third division the following season. As a result, this would also be the final season for the NBA Midwest Division, as the Minnesota Timberwolves were that division's last champion.
- The Houston Rockets play their first game at the Toyota Center.
- The All-Star Game was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The West won 136-132; Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal is named Most Valuable Player.
- The Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic introduced new team uniforms.
- Prior to the start of the season, Karl Malone and Gary Payton took major paycuts to leave their teams and join Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal on the Lakers for a chance at a possible NBA title; that title chase came to an end in the NBA Finals, as the Detroit Pistons won 4-1.
- Behind their "Big Three" of Kevin Garnett, Latrell Sprewell, and Sam Cassell, the Minnesota Timberwolves amassed the best record in the Western Conference, and were expected to finally win a first round playoff series. They won two and advanced to the Western Conference Finals, which they lost to the Lakers.
- Scoring in the league reached an all-time low. Many teams recorded their franchise lows in several scoring categories.
- LeBron James (1st overall to Cleveland), Carmelo Anthony (3rd overall to Denver), Chris Bosh (4th overall to Toronto), and Dwyane Wade (5th overall to Miami), among others, form one of the strongest drafts in NBA history. Among the highly touted rookies, Anthony and Wade led their teams to the playoffs, and Wade's play pushed the Heat into the second round. James went on to win NBA Rookie of the Year.
- After eight losing seasons, the Memphis Grizzlies secure a 50-32 record to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. It was also their final season at the Pyramid, before moving to their new arena the following season.
- All Texas teams make the playoffs in the same year for the first time in 14 years.
- All Midwest Division teams finished over .500, but the Jazz miss the playoffs.
- Scottie Pippen returned to play for the Chicago Bulls.
C NBA Champions
2003-04 NBA statistics leaders