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Pack & Prep

LeBron James wants you to pack a candle


"It has a lot to do with the energy of the universe." (Agreed.)

by Rebecca Willa Davis | 06.03.2019

If there’s any justice in the world, right now LeBron James is wearing a very plush bathrobe while lying in a very plush hotel bed (that’s definitely not located in San Francisco or Toronto), surrounded by candles.

That’s because we’re in the midst of the NBA finals, and for the first time in 13 years, James—arguably the greatest basketball player…ever—didn’t lace-up for a single playoff game. If you have to be somewhere that’s not the court, it might as well be your happy place. And according to a recent interview with James, that happy place is filled with flamed lights.

Yes, we have something in common with one of the greatest living athletes, because apparently he always travels with candles. “I have to light a candle in my room on every road trip while I’m in my room. It has a lot to do with the energy of the universe. I’m very high on that—I actually get that from my wife,” James explained in the interview. (Totally get it—that’s why here at The Glassy we cheerlead hard for palo santo’ing your Airbnb.)

“I have to light a candle in my room on every road trip while I’m in my room. It has a lot to do with the energy of the universe.”

“But I also just love the smell of candles. You know, hotel rooms can have a stagnant smell. I think a candle gives it a fresher smell,” he added. In fact, a number of things come into play (no pun intended) when it comes to why James lights up, but the short of it is: “The energy, the essence behind a candle, and also the smell quality of just keeping me as comfortable away as I am when I’m home.”

Which just about summarizes the goal of any frequent flyer: You’re really just trying to make your not-home feel a little bit more like home—and sometimes the easiest, most carry-on-friendly way to do that is stowing some wicked wax in your suitcase.

There’s also the fact that studies have connected scent memory to anxiety relief (cue freaking out over flight delays or dealing with jet lag). According to a 2016 review, researchers found that “odors that evoke positive autobiographical memories have the potential to increase positive emotions, decrease negative mood states, disrupt cravings, and reduce physiological indices of stress, including systemic markers of inflammation.”

LeBron James travel candle from Diptyque
Photo: Courtesy of Diptyque

If you’re wondering what “champion” smells like, it’s a blend of roses and black currant leaves—AKA Diptyque’s Baies candle, which James regularly packs. (Pro tip: It comes in a highly portable 1.23-ounce size as well as an ultra-chic, all-black XL 10.2-ounce version if you’ll be on the road for a while and don’t mind checking your bag.)

But if he leaves his at home, the basketball player isn’t above picking one up on the road (think of it as a very functional souvenir); “I’ll actually walk down to the gift shop at the hotel and see if they have good ones. Any time I’m staying at the Four Seasons—I don’t know the brand that they work with, but they have a great selection of candles,” he said.

You don’t need a championship ring to appreciate the concept of the travel candle—and whether you’re headed to Los Angeles, Miami, or even Akron, consider lighting a travel candle on your next trip in honor of James.

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