NBA world in shock over shooting death of Adreian Payne at 31

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Adreian Payne and Lacey Holsworth, pictured here in 2014.
Adreian Payne and Lacey Holsworth in 2014. Image: Getty

The basketball world is mourning the shocking death of former NBA player Adreian Payne at the age of 31.

The former Michigan State college star was killed in a shooting on Monday in California.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said officers responded to a shooting at 1:34 am when Payne was identified and taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

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Lawrence Dority, 29, was arrested on a first-degree murder warrant after homicide detectives interviewed him.

Payne played 107 games in the NBA over four seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic.

The Hawks drafted him 15th overall in 2014 before trading him to the Timberwolves, where he averaged 6.7 points and 5.1 rebounds in his rookie year.

Adreian Payne, pictured here in action for the Orlando Magic in 2017.
Adreian Payne in action for the Orlando Magic in 2017. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The Magic released the 6-foot-10 forward in January of 2018.

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

He 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.

Payne was a standout who won multiple awards, including MSU's Scholar-Athlete Award, the team's most improved player award (in his sophomore year), and was the recipient of the first ever Los Angeles Athletic Club Outreach Award, presented as part of the John R. Wooden Award Gala.

He was also an Academic All-Big Ten honouree in his sophomore year, and Second-team All-Big Ten honouree in his junior year.

He helped third-seeded MSU win the Big 10 Championship in 2014.

Basketball world mourns death of Adreian Payne

Former college teammate Brandon Wood said he had kept in touch with Payne, speaking with him as recently as last month about his plans to start a non-fungible token.

“He was looking to start an NFT tied to the Spartans," Wood told the Associated Press.

“I'll never forget the good times I had with him and Draymond (Green) when we were roommates.

"If you ever spent time around AP, you understood that he had a really big heart and he cared about people."

Michigan State great Magic Johnson wrote on Twitter: “Our prayers and thoughts are with his family and Spartan Nation! Adreian will be sorely missed."

Adreian Payne, pictured here hugging coach Tom Izzo while holding Lacey Holsworth in 2014.
Adreian Payne hugs coach Tom Izzo while holding Lacey Holsworth in 2014. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

While in college, Payne befriended eight-year-old cancer patient Lacey Holsworth and spoke at her memorial ceremony in 2014.

During his senior year, Payne escorted Lacey onto the court for senior night, and she was there when MSU won the Big 10 Championship - even helping him cut down the net.

“She calls me her ‘Superman,’ but she’s the one who’s got the super strength,” Payne told the Detroit Free Press in 2014.

“She’s incredible with everything she’s gone through. (Doctors) told her she wouldn’t walk again. But she did.

"She’s just an incredible fighter. And if I can bring her a little bit of happiness to help her forget everything for a little while, then that’s what I want to do.”

with Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

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