LeBron James Recounts the Time He Thought He Was Going to Die in a Plane Crash

Dec 18, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

What would the world be like without LeBron James? We may never know, but it was once possible, according to the man himself. 

On December 11, the NBA superstar appeared on UNINTERRUPTED’s Road Trippin’ podcast with teammate Dwayne Wade and recounted a terrifying time on a team trip. LeBron had complained to the team’s management about how old the team’s aircraft was when he joined the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003.

A few years into his career, LeBron brought up the subject again with the Cav’s new owner, Dan Gilbert, who again brushed off his comments. But after a harrowing experience that included broken ankles and lots of puke, the team’s leadership decided to invest in a new airplane.

Hear about the near-death experience from LeBron himself:

“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 scare — 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 that plane. 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 body 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.”

It appears that the team operated an old Boeing 737-200 around the time of the incident. According to Airfleets.net, the aircraft was delivered in 1975 to Frontier Airlines and was also operated by Southwest and Continental Airlines. The Cavaliers stored the 737 in November of 2006 and now usually charter aircraft from Delta.

Cleveland Cavaliers  Boeing 737-291 N583CC

Possibly referring to the same incident, LeBron’s old Cavaliers teammate Drew Gooden said that LeBron told him that he would be able to survive a plane crash by strapping pillows to himself and jumping out of the airplane right before it crashed into the ground.

You can listen to the podcast here, and LeBron fills in the details about the plane incident about 33 minutes into the program.

H/T: Complex

Featured image by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.