Back in June, one of LeBron James’ former teammates, Drew Gooden, revealed that LeBron once told him he thought he could survive a plane crash if he was ever involved in one. According to Gooden, LeBron said he would simply stuff his shirt and pants with a ton of pillows and then jump out of the plane right before impact in order to avoid what would seem like an inevitable death. LeBron’s plan seemed insane, but hey, the guy has managed to stay healthy for the better part of the last 15 years while playing in the NBA, so who knows? Maybe he would survive something that just about no one else has ever has.
LeBron made an appearance on UNINTERRUPTED's Road Trippin’ podcast alongside his teammate and good friend Dwyane Wade on Monday, and while the majority of the episode centered around LeBron and D-Wade telling stories about the crazy times they’ve had together, LeBron did veer off at one point and share one of his own memories. It was about a time that he was almost certain that he was going to be involved in a plane crash and get to test out his wild survival theory.
On the podcast, LeBron talked about how the Cavaliers’ team plane was old—very old—when he first joined the team in 2003. It was so old LeBron complained about it early and often, and when Dan Gilbert became the Cavs' majority owner in '05, LeBron said it was one of the first things he brought to Gilbert's attention. Initially Gilbert ignored it. Less than a year later, ownership’s attitude changed dramatically after Gilbert and several other VIPs were forced to take the plane to NBA All-Star Weekend. LeBron, Gilbert, and the others endured a flight that was so bad everybody on board was convinced the plane was going to go down.
Let’s allow LeBron to walk us through what happened:
"Our team plane at the time, I had always complained about our team plane. It was old. It was run down. And I’m not even a guy who is afraid of flights. I had one time—the first time I had ever flew—and then after that, I was good.
But I always felt something could happen to this plane. It was painted the old Cavs colors, Carolina blue and orange. It was the old plane, and they owned it. The team owned it. But it was over. I noticed it, and this was the first year our new regime took over the team. I was like, 'Listen, if you want to start with helping us become a better franchise, we need a new fucking plane.'
So anyways, long story short, we take the plane from Cleveland…and we go to Detroit to pick up the ownership because that’s where they’re based at. So we go to Detroit, pick up everybody in Detroit, and we’re now taking the plane from Detroit to Houston. When I tell you every single person on the plane from Detroit to Houston thought they were going to die, I mean literally."
Our owner’s wife was pregnant at the time. She threw up multiple times. A couple of my family members—DJ Montage—threw up. Our stewardess broke her ankle. We looked into the kitchen at one point during the flight and there was smoke coming out of the kitchen. The lights were flickering on and off. I was like, 'Oh my God, no one wants to listen to me. I believe this is it.' Obviously, I’m still here to talk about it. Nothing happened. But the following year, we had a new plane.
LeBron also talked about how, despite the impending doom everyone on the flight felt, he managed to keep things light by playing cards. "Deal the mothafucking cards!" he remembers yelling. "I’m here to play cards."
The LeBron and D-Wade podcast is chock-full of other excellent stories (including one about the infamous banana boat incident). Head here to listen to the entire thing, with the LeBron/plane crash bit coming at around the 33-minute mark.