Former Hawks, Wolves and Magic player Adreian Payne reportedly shot dead
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed Payne was shot early on Sunday and pronounced dead in hospital, adding that a suspect is in custody.
Former NBA and EuroLeague player Adreian Payne has died at the age of 31 in circumstances that remain unclear. The news of the Michigan State University star’s death was quickly picked up on social media, with former players and other celebrities offering their condolences to his family and expressing their shock. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department stated that Payne was shot early on Sunday morning and later pronounced dead at hospital.
Payne was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 2014 as the 15th overall pick and went on to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Orlando Magic, making 107 appearances in the NBA overall before moving to Europe, where he played for Panathinaikos, ASVEL Basket, OGM Ormanspor and Juventus Utena. The news of Payne’s death was confirmed by Detroit Free Press Michigan football and basketball correspondent Chris Solari.
Payne’s friendship with Lacey Holsworth, an 8-year-old cancer patient, while he was still playing at the Michigan State Spartans, garnered national press coverage.
Payne found his place in Europe after NBA
Payne struggled to find a regular spot in the NBA and of his 107 games 24 were starts, where he chalked up averages of four points and 2.9 rebounds per game. However, he flourished in Europe and played 29 EuroLeague games for Panathinaikos and ASVEL, improving his numbers to seven points and 3.3 rebounds per game.
At his last team, Juventus Utena in Lithuania, Payne racked up stats of 8.6 points per game, 4.6 rebounds and 1.1 steals. He left the club in February of this year.
According to Solari, police arrested and charged a suspect, who is in custody at the Orange County jail.