News, Culture & Society

Former NBA player Rasual Butler and wife die in car crash

Rasual Butler and Leah LaBelle attend the 2017 NBA Awards at Basketball City – Pier 36 – South Street in New York City last June

Former NBA journeyman forward Rasual Butler and his wife were killed in a single-car accident in California on Wednesday.

Butler, who has been out of the NBA since 2016, crashed his Range Rover near Studio City in Los Angeles around 2am local time, according to TMZ. The vehicle reportedly hit a parking meter before slamming into a wall and flipping over.

Police believe he was speeding.

Butler’s wife Leah LaBelle, 31, was a contestant during the 2004 season of ‘American Idol.’ LaBelle was a Canadian-born American R&B singer.

A Philadelphia native, Butler attended La Salle University before being drafted in the second round of the 2002 NBA Draft. He averaged 7.5 points and 2.4 rebounds over 809 games between the 2002-03 season and 2015-16.

Known as a three-point threat, Butler retired with a solid 36.2 percent mark from behind the arc. 

Both Rasual Butler and wife Leah LaBelle were the only reported casualties in the crash 

Both Rasual Butler and wife Leah LaBelle were the only reported casualties in the crash 

Butler's Range Rover reportedly flipped over after it struck a parking meter in Los Angeles

Butler’s Range Rover reportedly flipped over after it struck a parking meter in Los Angeles

The collision reportedly occurred in L.A.'s Studio City around 2am on Wednesday morning 

The collision reportedly occurred in L.A.’s Studio City around 2am on Wednesday morning 

The vehicle reportedly hit a parking meter before slamming into a wall and flipping over

The vehicle reportedly hit a parking meter before slamming into a wall and flipping over

Debris from Rasual Butler's Range Rover at the scene of the accident in Studio City 

Debris from Rasual Butler’s Range Rover at the scene of the accident in Studio City 

Butler was not expected to have a lengthy NBA career when he was taken by the Miami Heat near the end of the 2002 draft. 

But given his ability to play both small forward and shooting guard, coupled with his natural shooting ability, Butler carved out a role with several franchises, including the Heat, New Orleans Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards and San Antonio Spurs. 

Rasual Butler and his wife sit in the audience BET's 'Players' Awards' in 2015

Rasual Butler and his wife sit in the audience BET’s ‘Players’ Awards’ in 2015

He was named the NBA D-League’s ‘Impact Player of the Year’ in 2013. 

Butler was also included in the largest trade in NBA history when he was sent to the New Orleans Hornets (who have since moved to Charlotte). The four-team deal involving the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz, and Memphis Grizzlies involved 13 players, including former All-Stars Eddie Jones, Antoine Walker, and Jason Williams as well as veteran forward James Posey. 

Butler had his best seasons in 2008-09, when he averaged 11.2 points a game for the Hornets, and 2009-10, when he averaged a career-best 11.9 points and 33 minutes a game for the Clippers. 

He was well-known friends with another All-Star, LaMar Odom, and even appeared in episodes of his television show, ‘Khloé & Lamar,’ which focused on the brief marriage of the former All-Star and Khloé Kardashian. 

Heat owner Micky Arison responded to the news on Twitter, writing ‘Sad sad news R.I.P. Rasual.’ 

Rasual Butler, in his final NBA season with the San Antonio Spurs, defends Atlanta's Mike Scott

Rasual Butler, in his final NBA season with the San Antonio Spurs, defends Atlanta’s Mike Scott

Leah Labelle at Le Jardin on September 21, 2017 in Hollywood, California

(Left) LaBelle on the red carpet as one of the 12 finalists for the third season of American Idol. (Right) Labelle at Le Jardin on September 21, 2017 in Hollywood, California

Butler and LaBelle pictured on Instagram. LaBelle was a Canadian-born American R&B singer

Butler and LaBelle pictured on Instagram. LaBelle was a Canadian-born American R&B singer

Police believe Rasual Butler was speeding at the time of the accident 

Police believe Rasual Butler was speeding at the time of the accident 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.