Rasual Butler, 13-year NBA veteran, killed in car crash aged 38

Guardian sport
The Guardian
  • Former Miami Heat player died in crash in Los Angeles on Wednesday

  • Former teams and team-mates pay tribute to hard-working veteran

<span class="element-image__caption">Rasual Butler during his time with his final NBA team, the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/teams/sas/" data-ylk="slk:San Antonio Spurs">San Antonio Spurs</a>. </span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images</span>
Rasual Butler during his time with his final NBA team, the San Antonio Spurs. Photograph: Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images

The 13-year NBA veteran Rasual Butler has died in a car crash in Los Angeles. He was 38.

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According to Los Angeles County coroner’s department, Butler lost control of his Range Rover in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The vehicle then hit a wall before rolling over. A passenger also died. She was later named as his wife, Leah LaBelle, by Butler’s former team the Miami Heat.

Butler was drafted by the Heat in 2002. While he was never a superstar, he was known as a solid and hard-working player, whose career took in eight NBA teams. His final season was in 2015-16 when he played for the San Antonio Spurs.

His former teams and team-mates paid tribute to Butler on Wednesday. “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Rasual Butler and his wife, Leah LaBelle,” read a statement from the Heat on Twitter. “Our sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to the family and many friends of Rasual and Leah. They will be missed.”

The 12-time All Star Dwyane Wade, who played with Butler in Miami wrote on Twitter: “The world just lost a great dude. RIP Rasual ‘Bop’ Butler!”

In 2014, Butler spoke to USA Today about his long career. “If you’re serious about doing what you love to do, then you’re going to do whatever it takes for you to continue to do what you love to do,” he said.

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