The NBA community suffered a tragic loss as former NBA swingman Rasual Butler was killed in a car accident early Wednesday morning. Butler was driving with his wife, former American Idol star Leah Labelle. Labelle, 32, was an R&B singer who became famous after appearing on the third season of American Idol. This happened at around 2 a.m. in Studio City, California, when he lost control of his Range Rover and crashed into a wall.
Butler, 38, was a second round pick by the Miami Heat in the 2002 NBA Draft out of La Salle University. He starred at La Salle for 4 years, averaging 19.3 point-per game over his college career.
He was known as a 3 and D guy throughout his journeyman career, making stops in Miami, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago, Toronto, Indiana, Washington and San Antonio. He had various stops in the D-League along the way and also participated in the Big 3 league started by Ice Cube.
In the 2012-2013, Rasual Butler found himself out of the NBA. He worked hard to fight his way back, playing the whole year with the Tulsa 66ers in the NBA D-League. That effort earned himself a contract for the next season with the Indian Pacers. The year looked like it might be his last.
The next season he only received a training camp invite for the Wizards in 2014. His chances of making the team were slim to none. After an impressive preseason shooting the ball and a wrist injury to Bradley Beal, he made the team. He quickly became one of the top options off of coach Randy Wittman’s bench. He hit 91 three’s and shot 38.7 percent from distance that year, becoming one of the best three-point options off the bench that season. He retired after the 2015-2016 season with the San Antonio Spurs.
Although Rasual Butler never had a huge impact on the court, only averaging 7.5 points per game over his 13-year NBA career, he was known to reporters, coaches and teammates alike as one of the nicest and caring guys in the league. He was known for his locker-room presence and mentoring younger players. He had those intangibles you just couldn’t measure with a stat. Many former players and teammates sent condolences on twitter after the news came out.
Devastated to hear the news about the passing of my former teammate, Rasual, & his wife. My thoughts and prayers go out to their families during this difficult time. Rasual was an amazing teammate and an even better person. He will truly be missed!
— Lamarcus Aldridge (@aldridge_12) January 31, 2018
So sad this morning to here about my friend and teammate 😢 RIP Rasual Butler appreciate the people around u because u never kno 😔😔😔
— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) January 31, 2018
My heart is heavy, God Bless Rasual Butler and his wife Leah Lebelle 😢😢😢 great A1 guy on and off the court, i can’t believe this here God Bless him and his family ❤️❤️
— Anthony Morrow (@MrAnthonyMorrow) January 31, 2018
Damn this one hurts! RIP Rasual Butler & his wife Leah. Sounds so cliche, but Rasual was really one of the good ones!!
— Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) January 31, 2018
Rest easy my brother. See you when I get there!!! pic.twitter.com/Npsnib7k5t
— Allen Iverson (@alleniverson) January 31, 2018
Saddened by the news and the loss of Rasual Butler and his wife Leah. Talk about a great dude and family man. I know he had many stops during his 13 year NBA journey, but he was beloved becasue of his work ethic in Indiana. New guardian Angels..
— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) January 31, 2018
Very sad day for me, Rasual was not only a great teammate but great guy in this league. My prayers and condolences go out to their families.
RIP 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/ZdcDPBcHIG
— Eric Gordon (@TheofficialEG10) January 31, 2018
We send our deepest condolences to Rasual and Leah’s family.
Featured photo by Variety Magazine
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