Adreian Payne entered the NBA as the #15 overall pick in the 2014 draft after a stellar career as a Michigan State Spartan. Payne spent several years in the NBA before embarking on an international career in 2018. Former Ohio State basketball standout Jared Sullinger reported the sad news that Adreian has passed away.
Sullinger reported the news of Payne’s death via Twitter. Jared said he just received the news this morning. A date or cause of Adreian Payne’s death was not disclosed.
During his time at Michigan State, Adreian Payne became noteworthy for his friendship with 8-year-old Lacey Holsworth. The young girl was suffering from cancer, and they met during a team-sponsored hospital visit in 2011. After the Spartans won the Big Ten Tournament in 2014, Lacey helped Adreian cut down the nets. She passed away a month later.
At Michigan State, Adreian Payne was a third-team All-American. He won the Big Ten Player of the Week award on two occasions. After his final year, he was named second-team All-Big Ten.
Injuries plagued Payne’s NBA career. He was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a first-round pick in 2015. Adreian found himself behind NBA legend Kevin Garnett and struggled to find meaningful playing time.
A diagnosis of a blood condition became a further roadblock to his success in 2017. After returning in March of that season, he finished the year and was traded to his final NBA squad, the Orlando Magic. He was waived by the team shortly after, before moving on to play in Greece, China, France, Turkey, and Lithuania. Everyone at Thirsty sends our heartfelt condolences to those who loved, played with, and were inspired by Adreian Payne.