HOUSTON – Houston Rockets guard Courtney Lee was busy celebrating a victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday night. That was before his life flashed before his eyes.
"Once I saw him out of the corner of my eye, I hit the brakes and tried to swerve," said Lee. "At that time, it was too late."
Lee is talking about a nasty two-car crash which he was involved in after the game. The Rockets guard says he and two passengers were heading down McKinney in downtown Houston when, out of nowhere, they were hit by another car traveling at a high rate of speed down Louisiana.
"If I had to guess, probably (he was going) 80 to 100 miles per hour," said Lee. "I saw him at the last second. I tried to swerve right to try and avoid him, or try to nip the back of his car, but he was coming so fast that hit us straight on when I swerved."
Lee and both passengers were able to walk away from the accident unharmed.
According to the Rockets guard, the other driver is listed in critical condition.
"The first thing that was going through my mind was because I had two passengers and I was trying to change the angle of the impact so they wouldn’t get hit head on," said Lee. "The second thing that went through my mind was cover myself, because those airbags were coming out pretty fast. Once the accident went down, I asked everyone in the car if they were all right and, from then on, I told everyone to get out of the car because when the air bags go off, it has that smell of something burning so I wasn’t sure if the car was on fire."
"The person in the back seat (with Lee), first thing that came out of his mouth was ‘Praise the Lord’ that we were all able to get out of the car," said Lee. "That’s the way I felt."
His teammates were glad to see him back and healthy.
"Accidents happen fast, you know, so I’m glad he’s OK," said Rockets head coach Kevin McHale.
"I asked him right away when I saw the tweet, ‘How are you feeling’ and stuff like that because it is scary and you never know what the results are," said rookie teammate Chandler Parsons. "He is good to go and we’re happy to see that."
Lee tweeted after the accident "Thanking God right now!!! Thanking Cadillac for airbags!! Without them I could have lost my life tonight and two others close to me". He joked after shoot-around on Monday that he does need a new car.
"I actually got the call from the manager at Cadillac this morning (Monday) asking me to do a commercial," Lee said with a laugh. "I think from now until I am done driving, I am going to drive a Cadillac…it saved my life."