Former Michigan State basketball star Adrian Payne was shot and killed early Monday morning in Orlando, Florida.
A source confirmed Payne’s death to the Free Press on Monday morning.
Around noon, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Florida announced it responded to a call at 1:37 am of a man who had been shot. Payne was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Deputies arrested a suspect in the shooting, 29-year-old Lawrence Dority, at the scene on a warrant for first-degree murder.
Payne, a 31-year-old native of Dayton, Ohio, played for the Spartans from 2010-14 and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors his junior and senior seasons.
Perhaps his biggest legacy came as the 6-foot-10 forward befriended a young girl from St. Johns stricken with cancer, Lacey Holsworth, who 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, and the story of their friendship became a major national story throughout the Spartans’ NCAA tournament run that ended with an Elite Eight loss to Connecticut. She died of complications from neuroblastoma a little more than a week after the season ended, and Payne paid tribute to the 8-year-old along with his teammates during an emotional tribute ceremony at Breslin Center.
Payne went to the Atlanta Hawks with the 15th pick of the 2014 NBA draft and was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves during his rookie season. He played 107 NBA games over three seasons, finishing with five games in 2017-18 after signing with the Orlando Magic, and averaging 4.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 13.1 minutes per game.
The Magic released him after his name surfaced in an ESPN report about an alleged sexual assault involving Payne and former MSU guard Keith Appling during their freshman year at MSU resurfaced. Prosecutors did not press charges at the time, and no further legal action was taken after the January 2018 ESPN story.
Payne then bounced around overseas, finishing the 2018 season with Panathinaikos in Greece after being cut and then playing briefly in China early in 2018. He returned to Panathinaikos in early 2019 and helped win a Greek Basketball Cup before being released in March that year.
After spending time in France and Turkey from 2019-2021, Payne signed in December with Juventus Utena in Lithuania. He averaged 8.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in seven games before being released in February.
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