Devastated LeBron James leaped from balcony into pool after 2011 NBA Finals defeat, Dwyane Wade says

In 2011, LeBron James was still in pursuit of his first NBA Championship. James and the Miami Heat advanced to the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.

The Heat were ultimately defeated by the Mavs, with Dirk Nowitzki receiving Finals MVP honors. After the crushing defeat James, his wife Savannah, his teammate and friend Dwyane Wade, and his wife Gabrielle Union decided to take a vacation in the Bahamas.

During a recent sit down with Showtime’s Rachel Nichols recalled how hard James took the loss.


Dwyane Wade and LeBron James talk during a game

Dwyane Wade #3 and LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat talk during a break in the action against the Dallas Mavericks during Game Five of the 2011 NBA Finals on June 9, 2011 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

LeBron went on to win two championships during his tenure with the Heat. He later returned to Cleveland brought home the franchise’s first ever title, and won a ring with the Lakers in 2020.

But Wade’s memories from the 2011 offseason potentially offer some insight into LeBron’s mindset as he faced the pressure of failing to secure his first championship.


According to Wade, LeBron looked down at a swimming pool from a balcony right after arriving at the hotel.

Nichols asked Wade if James was aware of the risk jumping presented. An injury from the jump would have certainly impacted James’ career.

“He said how deep do you think that is? [I said] I don’t know, eight or nine feet? He said let me see. [He] took his stuff off, jumped in the pool from the balcony. I promise you … This dude is crazy,” Wade said.

Miami Heat's LeBron James speaks to the media

Miami Heat’s LeBron James speaks at a media availability before training for the NBA Finals game Four against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas June 6, 2011.  (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

But Wade mentioned that he did not believe James was thinking about the risk of injury at the time. Perhaps James was simply using the leap as a way to escape from basketball for a brief moment.

James has previously said that vacation served as a turning point for him.

LeBron has previously recalled that vacation as a turning point in his career. He said on the first day of the trip, Wade and Union had candid conversations about LeBron’s identity and public persona as a villain (via ESPN):

“They were just like, ‘Listen, you need to get back to who you are. We understand the portrayal of what they want you to become right now. That’s not you,” James recalled when he spoke about a conversation with Wade and Union.

“You didn’t get to this point in your career by playing the game with the black hat and with that mentality of it’s me against the world. You need to get back to that Magic Johnson feeling, mixed with some other guys — that Penny Hardaway flair, but still that determination of MJ [Michael Jordan]. You need to get back to that because that’s just who you are. You are who you are. You’re no one else. Don’t try to be no one else.'”

Dwyane Wade stands near LeBron James

Dwyane Wade #3 and LeBron James #6 with referee Joey Crawford during Game Five of the 2011 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks on June 9, 2011 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

After the leap and the conversation, James apparently was able to unwind for the remainder of the vacation. 

James, now in his 20th season in the NBA, is the league’s all-time leading scorer


He is hoping to win the 5th title of his career. But first, James and the Lakers will have to get past the Memphis Grizzlies.

Los Angeles currently leads its first-round series against Memphis 3-2. Game 6 tips off at 10:30 p.m. EST. If the Grizzlies win, they will force a Game 7, which would take place on Sunday.

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