Former Pacer Rasual Butler, wife killed in single-car crash

Former Pacers forward Rasual Butler and his wife, Leah LaBelle, passed away in a one-car accident early Wednesday morning in Los Angeles, according to TMZ.

They were pronounced dead at the scene, FOX LA reported. “The vehicle crashed into several fixed objects. … Video from the scene showed the vehicle had crashed into and damaged a Marshalls store. Police said the vehicle was a new Range Rover that had to be speeding, judging by the debris.”

Butler, 38, was drafted by the Miami Heat 53rd overall in 2002 draft — and his final season in the league was with the San Antonio Spurs for the 2015-16 season.

He enjoyed the game, but loved the process.

Rasual Butler (right) giving back during Christmas with George Hill (left).

Butler spent time with nine teams, not including a stint in the Development League. Eager to return to the league in 2013, he accepted a spot on the Pacers’ Summer League team as a 34-year-old. It paid off, as he was rewarded with a roster spot.

Butler was with the Pacers for just one year, appearing in 50 games during the 2013-14 season, but he made a significant positive impact on the culture.

And while, yes, he was a basketball player … he was much more than that. He was a leader of men. He was full of thought, full of life. He wanted nothing more than to be the best version of himself each day and to be kind to anyone he met. He was appreciative and he was sincere.

And he loved his daughter.

The Pacers issued the following statement from Kevin Pritchard, President of Basketball Operations:

“Our entire organization is deeply saddened after learning of the death of Rasual Butler and his wife, Leah LaBelle. In his one season with us, Rasual was the consummate team player and a great role model for our younger players on how a professional should prepare and act, while being a positive influence on everyone who associated with him. We offer our sincerest condolences to he and his wife’s family.”

Here was Butler’s final post, shared on Instagram hours before the crash:

Reaction from across the league:–nXFg9F/

Worth rereading this post of Sual’s from Oct. 2017:

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