Adreian Payne, Former Michigan State and NBA Player, Passes Away at 31

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Image: Tolga Adanali/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images.

Adreian Payne, a former Michigan State basketball star and NBA player, passed away Monday morning after being shot, CBS reports. He was 31.

According to the sheriff’s office report, Payne was shot at a home in Orlando, Florida at about 1:30 a.m; he was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Lawrence Dority, the suspected shooter, remained at the scene after the shooting and was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder. He is being held at Orange County Jail.

Payne was beloved at Michigan State for his strong play on the court and for befriending a young girl fighting cancer named Lacey Holsworth, whom he met on a team visit to a local hospital. When the Spartans won the Big Ten title in 2014, Payne assisted Holsworth as she cut down the net.

Holsworth would pass away from cancer just three weeks later.

After completing his four-year college career, Payne was drafted No. 15 overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2014 NBA Draft. He spent one season with the team before playing with the Minnesota Timberwolves for three seasons, mostly playing in the G League. In 2017-2018, he played five games with the Orlando Magic. 

Following his last stint in the NBA, Payne played with several teams overseas. He won a Greek league title with Panathinaikos in 2018 and the French league team ASVEL in 2019. ASVEL posted a photo of him holding the championship trophy on Twitter and called the news “terribly shocking.”

Most recently, he played with BC Juventus of the Lithuanian Basketball League.

“So sad to hear that former Michigan State star Adreian Payne passed away at the age of 31,” ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas wrote on Twitter. “AP was an outstanding player for Tom Izzo, and befriended Lacey Holsworth through her battle with cancer. RIP Adreian Payne.”

We extend our prayers and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Adreian Payne

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