STUDIO CITY—Ex-NBA player Rasual Butler, 38, and his wife Leah LaBelle, 31, were both killed in a car accident on Wednesday, January 31 in Studio City.
Butler played in the NBA for over 10 years. Authorities are still investigating exactly what led to the crash, but suspect the collision was the result of Butler speeding down a street in Studio City. At around 2:30 am, Butler’s Range Rover, hit the curb of the street and bounced forward. According to reports, the vehicle struck three parking meters, a concrete wall and then rolled over twice before coming to a stop.
According to Ed Winter, the assistant chief investigator at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, both Butler and LaBelle were pronounced dead at the scene.
Butler a native of Philadelphia played for La Salle and earned a spot on the First Team All-Atlantic 10. He was later inducted into the school’s athlete hall of fame. He had a long NBA career that sent him to various teams across North America. Over the course of 14 years he played for the Miami Heat, New Orleans Hornets, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards, San Antonio Spurs and the LA Clippers. During his career, he averaged 7.5 points a game, with a career high of 33 points in two separate games. He was last signed in 201,6 but was waived that year and left the NBA.
LaBelle appeared on season three of “American Idol” in 2004, as an R&B singer, the same season as Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson. She placed 12th and was later signed by Epic Records to produce two songs, “Sexify” and “Lolita.”
The National Basketball Association tweeted on Wednesday a statement regarding Butler’s death on Wednesday:
“The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Rasual Butler and his wife, Leah LaBelle. A pro’s pro, Rasual enjoyed a long, successful career and was widely respected by his peers and coaches. We grieve with their loved ones during this difficult time.”
The LA Clippers posted a tweet about Butler, writing that the team is “deeply saddened by the loss of Rasual Butler and his wife, Leah LaBelle. Rasual will long be remembered not only for his accomplishments on the court, but for his vibrant personality, positive outlook and the compassion he had for everyone around him.”
Fellow teammates Dwayne Wade and Reggie Miller spoke of his personality as well, with Wade writing “the world just lost a great dude. RIP Rasual “Bop” Butler,” and Miller writing “talk about a great dude and family man. I know he had many stops during his 13 year NBA journey, but he was beloved because of his work ethic in Indiana. New guardian Angels.”