Ex-NBA Player Adreian Payne Killed In Shooting
Clockwise from bottom left: Connecticut Huskies' DeAndre Daniels, Michigan State's Adriean Payne and UConn's Phillip Nolan battle for a rebound in the second half of the NCAA East Regional final
Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant/MCT

Former Atlanta Hawks NBA player and standout forward at Michigan State University (MSU) Adreian Payne died Sunday after being shot in Orange County, Florida. 

“Orange County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the 2500 block of Egret Shores Drive regarding a shooting,” the Orange County Sheriff’s department said in a statement. “A male in his 30s who had been shot, later identified as Adreian Payne … was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.”

According to the press release, the alleged shooter was later identified and taken into custody to be questioned by detectives. He was arrested for first-degree murder and placed in the Orange County jail. 

Payne committed to Michigan State in 2010 after leading his high school in Dayton, Ohio, to a state championship. He helped MSU win a Big Ten championship in 2014 and an Elite Eight appearance the same year.

The Atlanta Hawks drafted Payne with the 15th pick in the 2014 NBA draft, but he struggled with an injury before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2015. Payne stayed in Minnesota until 2017 when he signed on with the Orlando Magic. In 2018, Payne moved overseas to play for Greek basketball team Panathinaikos. Most recently, Payne played for Lithuanian team Juventus Utena before leaving the team in February.

Payne is also remembered for befriending an eight-year-old cancer patient while still playing in college. “Payne met Lacey [Holsworth] in 2011 when the MSU basketball team visited Sparrow Hospital, a children’s hospital in Lansing,” Yahoo Sports reported. “She had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma, and at one point was paralyzed due to tumors on her spine and abdomen.”

Holsworth died in April 2014, but she influenced Payne in many ways. “It can’t be all about you,” Payne told the Detroit Free Press just a few weeks before Holsworth’s death. “I think that’s one thing I’ve learned now that I probably didn’t know as a freshman. That’s true with your teammates. What can you do to help make them better? And it’s true with others you meet. It’s more important to have a role in other people’s lives that you care for.”