Former Star Michigan State Basketball Player Adreian Payne Murdered In Orlando, Florida

Former Star Michigan State Basketball Player Adreian Payne Murdered In Orlando, Florida

Adreian Payne

Photo: Adreian Payne on May 15, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

National Basketball Association first-round pick Adreian Payne, a four-year standout with the Michigan State University Spartans basketball team, was shot and killed on May 9 while trying to mediate a domestic dispute. He was 31.

Lawrence Dority was arrested on a warrant for first degree murder in connection to the shooting of Payne, according to authorities in Orlando, Florida. The was no reported motive for the shooting. After being shot, Payne was transported to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

After completing his four-year college career at Michigan State, Payne was drafted No. 15 overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2014 NBA DraftCBS Sports reported.

He spent one season with the franchise before moving to the Minnesota Timberwolves for three seasons, primarily playing in the G League. The NBA G League is the NBA’s official minor league. In 2017-18, he played several games with the Orlando Magic. 

Orlando waived him after a news story in 2018 from ESPN revealed that he and teammate Keith Appling had been investigated for sexual assault. Neither was charged in the case.

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After leaving the NBA, Payne played professionally overseas with several teams, most recently, for BC Juventus of the Lithuanian Basketball League.

Perhaps his biggest legacy was befriending an 8-year-old cancer victim, Lacey Holsworth. She became a fixture at the 2013-14 Spartans games. She and Payne became friends and he held her up so she could cut down the nets after Michigan State University won the Big Ten tournament title in Indianapolis. Their friendship became a major national story. She died in April 2014 of complications from neuroblastoma, and Payne paid tribute to her with his teammates during an emotional tribute ceremony at MSU’s Breslin Events Center.

Photo: Adreian Payne from Michigan State watch players participate in the 2014 NBA basketball Draft Combine May 15, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)