Former NBA and Michigan State player Adreian Payne shot dead at age of 31

Adreian Payne, a former Michigan State basketball standout and NBA player, has died in an Orlando shooting. He was 31.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded to a shooting early on Monday morning. Payne was identified and taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Lawrence Dority, 29, was present at the scene, according to the sheriff’s office. He was arrested on a first-degree murder warrant after homicide detectives interviewed him.

Payne played in 107 NBA games, averaging four points and three rebounds, over four seasons with Atlanta, Minnesota and Orlando. The Hawks drafted him No 15 overall in 2014, traded him to the Timberwolves, and he averaged 6.7 points and 5.1 rebounds as a promising rookie.

The Magic waived the 6ft 10in forward in January 2018, after he was part of an ESPN report that detailed sexual assault allegations against former basketball and football players at the school. No charges were filed in the case following an investigation.

Payne played professionally earlier this year for Juventus in Lithuania. He also played in Turkey, France, Greece and China.

Payne, who is from Dayton, Ohio, started in 94 of 138 games over four seasons for Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo at Michigan State. He averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds as a senior during the 2013-14 season when the team reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

While in college, Payne befriended eight-year-old cancer patient Lacey Holsworth and spoke at her memorial ceremony in April 2014. In September 2021 Payne said he was taking a break from basketball to look after his son, who was undergoing a brain procedure. “Basketball has my heart. Amari is my heartbeat,” he wrote on Twitter.

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