LeBron James’ former teammate Drew Gooden once told a story about how LeBron had a sure-fire plan to survive a plane crash. 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.
During a podcast from UNINTERRUPTED, LeBron James and teammate Dwayne Wade talked about this one time where LeBron was about to try his insane 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.
Here is what LeBron said:
“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 anyway, 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.
That’s a pretty insane story! The entire NBA landscape could have changed if something were to have happened to LeBron.