NBA shocked as ex-player with wife killed in car crash


rasual-butlerFormer NBA player Rasual Butler, along with his spouse Leah LaBelle Vladowski were killed in a car crash in Los Angeles, AP reported.

The former player’s Range Rover crashed in the Studio City area and left a swath of damage along a major thoroughfare, according to police reports.

LA police said that Butler was speeding before his vehicle jumped a curb, hit three parking meters and a concrete wall and then flipped over twice. The vehicle came to rest inside a shopping mall parking lot.

Butler’s death sent shockwaves across the league, with teams expressing condolences and making statements on the matter.

”This is beyond a sad day for the Miami Heat Family,” team President Pat Riley said in a statement. ”Rasual was one of the greatest people we have ever had play for us; a great player, teammate and better person.”

Indiana Pacers President Kevin Pritchard expressed a similar sentiment.

”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,” he said.

The Clippers said Butler ”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.”

Minnesota guard and former Clipper Jamal Crawford tweeted, ”Damn this one hurts! RIP Rasual Butler & his wife Leah. Sounds so cliche, but Rasual was really one of the good ones!!”

Butler was drafted in 2002 by the Miami Heat out of LaSalle University in his hometown of Philadelphia. He played for eight NBA teams during his 13-year career, including the Los Angeles Clippers, Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs.

Butler appeared in 809 NBA regular season games (266 started), averaging 7.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg in 21.3 mpg.

Butler’s wife earned a measure of celebrity as an R&B singer. She placed 12th in the third Season of ”American Idol” in 2004.

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