Sports

Former NBA player Adreian Payne dies in shooting

Former Michigan State star Adreian Payne was shot to death in Orlando, Florida, early Monday, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.

He was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Payne, who was the Atlanta Hawks’ 15th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, was 31 years old.

According to local authorities, a man named Lawrence Dority was arrested for shooting, with a warrant for first-degree murder. Dority stayed at the scene and spoke to police before being taken to jail.

Payne was a member of the All-Big Ten second team in two of his four seasons (2013, 2014) with Tom Izzo’s team. He averaged 16.4 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game for the Spartans and led the team to the Elite Eight in the 2013-14 season.

Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green, who was Payne’s teammate for two seasons at Michigan State, tweeted heartbreak emojis Monday.

The 6-foot-10-inch (2.08-meter) player played four seasons in the NBA with various teams. In 2018, the Orlando Magic released him after he was named in a report by ESPN’s Outside The Lines that claimed he had been involved in an alleged sexual assault at Michigan State in 2010. No charges were filed in that case.

Payne never played in the NBA again, but spent the last few years of his career abroad.

During his time at Michigan State, Payne befriended an 8-year-old girl with cancer named Lacey Holsworth, who became an inspiration to him and the team. Holsworth helped the team cut through the nets when they won the Big Ten tournament in 2014. Weeks later, Holsworth died. Payne issued a statement at the time about her death.

“Words cannot express how much I miss Lacey,” she said. “She is my sister and she will always be a part of my life. She taught me how to fight through everything with a smile on my face, even when things went wrong.”

In September, Payne tweeted that he was taking a break from basketball because his 4-year-old son Amari had to have a brain procedure. She said basketball wasn’t as important as his family.

“I will get back to doing what I love soon,” Payne wrote in his statement. “Basketball has my heart. Amari is my heartbeat.”

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