Rasual Butler, a 13-season NBA veteran who spent a season with the Wizards, died in a car crash along with his wife early on Wednesday morning in California, according to TMZ and USA Today.
Butler had a brief, but memorable stint in Washington. He signed shortly before the start of the 2014-15 season to an unguaranteed deal and made the roster with some strong play during the preseason.
Most assumed he would just be someone to help fill out the bench that season — he only played 10 minutes over the team’s first five games — but after Glen Rice Jr. struggled to start the season, coach Randy Wittman gave him steady playing time and he exceeded everyone’s expectations. Over the next 20 games, he averaged over 11 points per game, shooting over 50 percent from the field and behind the arc while Washington went 15-5 during that stretch.
Butler’s shooting fell back to earth after his blistering hot start, and he didn’t factor much into the team’s playoff run that season. But Wizards fans will always remember him fondly for how he clawed his way back into the NBA through the D-League to earn a spot in Washington and the key role he played in a wonderful start to the 2014-15 season.
Several Wizards past and present have shared their condolences on Twitter.
We send our thoughts and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Rasual Butler and his wife, Leah. #DCFamily pic.twitter.com/Ysx4BVYEcU— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) January 31, 2018
I will always remember the time we shared together as teammates, you were the big brother. I appreciate the advice you shared, not just about basketball but life. Sending my deepest condolences to the families of Rasual and Leah. May you both rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/O4RgQ47PwA— John Wall (@JohnWall) January 31, 2018
So sad this morning to here about my friend and teammate RIP Rasual Butler appreciate the people around u because u never kno— Paul Pierce (@paulpierce34) January 31, 2018
Omg..... RIP Rasual Butler :(( terrible News— Marcin Gortat (@MGortat) January 31, 2018
R.I.P Sul Bulter.... #phillyfinest #restwellbighomie— Keef Morris (@Keefmorris) January 31, 2018
RIP my good friend @RasualButler45 We will miss you. My sincere condolences to his family, may God bring the peace to endure what you guys are going through.— Nene Hilario (@NeneHilario42) January 31, 2018
Can’t comprehend what I just heard about my former teammate @RasualButler45 and his wife!!! REST IN PEACE people. DAMNNNNN— Garrett Temple (@GTemp14) January 31, 2018
R.I.P. RasualButler45 and @leahlabelle— Drew Gooden III (@DrewGooden) January 31, 2018
Here are some highlights of some of his best moments in Washington: