Former Michigan State star Adreian Payne was shot and killed in Orlando, Florida, early Monday morning, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.
He was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Payne, who was the 15th pick by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2014 NBA draft, was 31.
Per local authorities, a man named Lawrence Dority has been arrested for the shooting on a first-degree murder warrant. Dority stayed on the scene and spoke with police before he was transported 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 squad. 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’m in shock at the tragic news of Adreian Payne’s death,” Izzo said in a statement. “Our prayers are with his family, teammates and loved ones. Adreian was loved by his teammates and coaches, who respected his development as a player and a person. He came to Michigan State with a ton of raw talent and put in the work to reach 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 broken heart emojis on Monday.
Speaking after Golden State’s Game 4 win over the Grizzlies on Monday night, Green said he and his wife will donate $100,000 to a fund in Payne’s name, and he called on other Spartans to contribute in their own ways, too.
The 6-foot-10 standout played four seasons in the NBA with multiple teams. In 2018, he was waived by the Orlando Magic after he was named in a report by ESPN’s Outside The Lines that stated 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 overseas.
During his time at Michigan State, Payne befriended an 8-year-old girl with cancer named Lacey Holsworth, who became an inspiration for him and the team. Holsworth helped the team cut down the nets when it won the Big Ten tournament in 2014. Weeks later, Holsworth died. Payne released a statement then about her death.
“Words can’t express how much I already miss Lacey,” he said. “She is my sister and 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 were going wrong.”
Izzo said in Monday’s statement that Payne’s “friendship and genuine bond” with Holsworth “touched the nation.”
“Today is a difficult and sad day for the Spartan basketball family,” Izzo said. “Following graduation, Adreian regularly returned to East Lansing. In doing so, he developed and strengthened relationships with players from all eras. I’ve heard from many of those players today, each one experiencing heartbreak, and each one with their own fond memory of Adreian.”
In September, Payne tweeted that he was taking a break from basketball because his 4-year-old son Amari had to undergo a brain procedure. He said basketball was not as important as his family.
“I will be back doing what I love soon,” Payne wrote in his statement. “Basketball has my heart. Amari is my heartbeat.”