Former Michigan State Adrian Payne was shot and killed in Orlando, Florida, early Monday morning, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.
He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Payne, who was a 2014 NBA draft pick by the Atlanta Hawks, was 31 years old.
According to local authorities, a man named Lawrence Dority was arrested for shooting on a first-degree murder warrant. Dority stayed at the scene and talked to police before he was taken to jail.
Payne was a member of the second team All-Big Ten in two of his four seasons (2013, 2014) with Tom Izzo’s team. He averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for the Spartans and led the team to the Elite Eight in the 2013-14 season.
“I am shocked by the tragic news of Adrian Payne’s death,” Izzo said in a statement. “Our prayers are with his family, teammates and loved ones. Adrian was loved by his teammates and coaches who respected his development as a player and a person. achieve his goal of becoming an NBA player.”
“Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green , who was Payne’s teammate for two seasons at Michigan State, tweeted heartbroken emojis Monday
Speaking after Golden State’s Game 4 victory over the Grizzlies on Monday night, Green said he and his wife would donate $100,000 to a fund in Payne’s name, and urged other Spartans to contribute as well.
The 6-foot-10-inch standout spent four seasons in the NBA with several teams. In 2018, the Orlando Magic waived him after he was named in an ESPN Outside The Lines report that said he was 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 overseas.
During his time at Michigan State, Paine befriended an 8-year-old girl with cancer named Lacey Halsworth, who became an inspiration to him and the team. Holsworth helped the team cut the nets when she won the Big Ten tournament in 2014. A few weeks later, Halsworth died. Payne released a statement about her death.
“Words can’t tell you how much I miss Lacey already,” he said. “She was my sister and will always be a part of my life. She taught me how to deal with everything with a smile on my face, even when things go wrong.”
Izzo said in a statement Monday that Payne’s “friendship and sincere connection” with Holsworth “touched the nation.”
“Today is a difficult and sad day for the Spartan basketball family,” Izzo said. “After graduation, Adrian returned regularly to East Lansing. In doing so, he developed and strengthened relationships with players of all eras. I’ve heard from many of these players today, each going through grief, and each with their own fond memories. Adrian.”
Payne tweeted in September that he was taking a break from basketball because his 4-year-old son, Amari, had to undergo brain surgery. He said basketball isn’t as important as his family.
“I’ll get back to doing what I love soon,” Paine wrote in a statement. “Basketball is my heart. Amari is my heartbeat.”