Former Michigan State forward and 2014 first-round pick Adreian Payne was shot and killed in Orlando, Florida on Monday morning, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Payne, the No. 15 pick to the Atlanta Hawks in 2014, was 31 years old.
The NBA and college basketball worlds were hit hard by the news. Payne made national headlines due to his friendship with 8-year-old Lacey Holsworth, a cancer patient who died just a few weeks after Michigan State won the Big Ten Championship in 2014. Payne and Holsworth cutting down the nets together remains an unforgettable moment.
Draymond Green, who played with Payne in 2011 and was close friends with the former Spartan, was mournful Monday.
— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) May 9, 2022
Steve Kerr expounded in his availability Monday. “Draymond is crushed,” he said, per Vincent Goodwill. “They were the best of friends. We’re thinking of them today. Feeling a lot of grief.”
Others offered their remembrances of Payne.
The Big Ten sends heartfelt condolences to Adreian Payne’s family and the Spartan community. https://t.co/cM9QBxdROe
— Big Ten Men’s Basketball (@B1GMBBall) May 9, 2022
Coaching against @MSU_Basketball and Adreian Payne was not just a challenge because of his talent, length, athleticism and toughness. It was because his Teammates absolutely loved him because of his motor and energy. He was infectious! I’m praying for all who knew him as family.
— Tom Crean (@TomCrean) May 9, 2022
Cookie and I are heartbroken to hear that former Spartan Adreian Payne has passed away. Our prayers and thoughts are with his family and Spartan Nation! Adreian will be sorely missed. 🙏🏾💔
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 9, 2022
So sad to hear that former Michigan State star Adreian Payne passed away at the age of 31. AP was an outstanding player for Tom Izzo, and befriended Lacey Holsworth through her battle with cancer. RIP Adreian Payne. pic.twitter.com/YLXVGwINCV
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) May 9, 2022
We are devastated to learn of Adreian Payne’s passing. His family members and friends remain in our thoughts and prayers. pic.twitter.com/3GAfMeLbES
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) May 9, 2022
RIP AP . 😢🙏🏾
— JJJ (@jarenjacksonjr) May 9, 2022
Rest up AP 💔
— Miles Bridges (@MilesBridges) May 9, 2022
Tom Izzo on the death of former MSU star Adreian Payne. pic.twitter.com/9UUnlzDmLW
— Chris Solari (@chrissolari) May 9, 2022
Payne took a break from basketball in September as he looked out for his 4-year-old son Amari while Amari had a brain procedure. He played three seasons, spending most of his time on the Minnesota Timberwolves.