Payne was a big man who most notably played for the Minnesota Timberwolves and had a very special track record during his time playing for Michigan State.
His loss is a big one for so many.
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
Payne leaves behind a legacy on and off the court as a player with a heart of gold and a true love of the game – and his fans.
A Beloved Spartan
Payne played at Michigan State under Tom Izzo from 2010 to 2014.
During his time there, Payne became Second-Team All Big Ten for two seasons.
Hate the news i received this morning…. Rest Easy to my brother/Teammate @Adreian_Payne
— Jared Sullinger Sr. (@Jared_Sully0) May 9, 2022
In his final year at Michigan State, he was averaging 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds a game and helped his school win Big Ten tournament titles in 2012 and 2014.
He also became well-known while in college for sparking up a friendship with young Lacey Holsworth, a MSU fan who was battling cancer.
Holsworth was seen on the court with Payne often and became an important part of the team’s morale before succumbing at just eight years old in 2014.
RIP to my brother @Adreian_Payne man. This one gone hurt for a while! Almost 20 years of friendship 😢
— Juwan Staten Sr. (@JuwanStaten3) May 9, 2022
Following his time in college, Payne was selected 15th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks.
His career never flourished as some expected and he spent time in the G-League and overseas too.
After leaving the NBA in 2017-2018, Payne played in Greece, China, and Lithuania as well.
While he failed to become the NBA sensation some expected, he was always well-respected and remained a hero to Michigan State fans everywhere.
RIP Adreian Payne & Princess Lacey pic.twitter.com/mjuBu72fcS
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) May 9, 2022
Basketball players and fans mourned and celebrated Payne on Monday.
He will be missed and his legacy will live on.