It’s certainly a sad day for those who love the game of basketball, as Adreian Payne – who played collegiately at Michigan State and in the NBA for multiple teams – was shot and killed early Monday morning in Orlando, Florida at the age of 31. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the news to ESPN.
Payne, who was a standout forward at Michigan State from 2010-2014 and became the No. 15 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks, was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Fortunately, police have already captured the suspect in the shooting – arresting Lawrence Dority with a warrant for first-degree murder.
Payne averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game as a senior for the Michigan State Spartans in 2013-2014. At the NBA level, the big-man spent time with the Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic before going overseas. Payne was most recently a part of a professional team in Lithuania.
While Payne’s tragic death is devastating for basketball fans everywhere, it’s even more saddening to know he leaves behind a young son, Amari.
It Was About More Than Basketball for Payne at Michigan State
While at Michigan State, Adreian Payne caught the hearts of all Spartans fans – and college basketball fans everywhere – with the relationship he built with Lacey Holsworth. An eight-year-old Michigan State fan who was battling cancer, Holsworth became an important part of Payne’s life and the Spartans’ team.
As Payne always made it a priority to showcase Holsworth, he helped her cut down the nets when Michigan State won the Big Ten Tournament championship in 2014. Sadly, Holsworth passed away just a few weeks later.
It was always about more than just basketball for Payne, and that’s why his death leaves a void in the basketball community.