Tragic News As Former NBA Player Shot Dead At Age 31

At the age of just 31, former Michigan State star and 15th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Adreian Payne has died. His former teammate Jared Sullinger tweeted the news this morning. 

His tragic death came in a shooting in Orlando. A report says the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Florida responded to a call at 1:37 a.m. of a man who had been shot. Payne was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A suspect has been arrested.

Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press writes that the 6'10" big man was best known at Michigan State for befriending an 8-year-old girl from St. Johns stricken with cancer, Lacey Holsworth, who then became a fixture around the 2013-14 Spartans. Payne held her to help cut down the nets after MSU won the Big Ten tournament title in Indianapolis. She died from her cancer a week after the season. 

Payne played four years for the Spartans before being drafted in the first round of the 2014 draft by the Atlanta Hawks. He was dealt in his first year to the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he spent 3 seasons, before playing his last year in the NBA in 2018 with the Orlando Magic. 

From there, he headed to Greece, where he found his groove, and helped Panathinaikos to the GBL championship in 2018, and Greek Basketball Cup in 2019. 

RIP to a good man who left a wonderful legacy at Michigan State.