Former NBA player and Michigan star Adreian Payne was shot dead in Orlando, Florida on Monday morning, authorities said. He was 31. At 1:30 a.m., Orange County deputies were dispatched to the Orlando shooting scene, where they discovered a victim subsequently identified as Payne, according to a police spokesperson.
Payne was immediately transported to the hospital but was declared dead on arrival. Lawrence Dority, 29, who was present at the scene, was arrested on a warrant for First Degree Murder in connection with the killing of Payne by the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Dority is reportedly cooperating with police and his arrest was without any incident.
Gone too Soon
The Orange County Sheriff's Office confirmed that Payne died as a result of a shooting that occurred at 1:30 a.m. in Florida. Payne was shot in the Econ Landing neighborhood, in a townhome subdivision. He was taken to the hospital but later died.
An investigation has been launched with Dority already being arrested. According to a police statement, Dority was still at the crime scene when officers arrived. Officers interviewed him before apprehending him. Further information about the incident's circumstances has not been released.
Police said that Dority is cooperating with the authorities but didn't say if he is the gunman who shot dead Payne.
Former Ohio State All-American Jared Sullinger was the first to report Payne's death. "Hate the news i received this morning," wrote Sullinger. "Rest Easy to my brother/Teammate @Adreian_Payne."
Before bouncing among leagues in Europe and China, Sullinger and Payne battled against each other at their respective Big 10 colleges and in the NBA.
Payne played in 107 NBA games, averaging four points and three rebounds, over four seasons with Atlanta, Minnesota and Orlando. He was picked No. 15 overall by the Hawks in 2014.
In his sophomore and senior seasons, Payne was named to the Big Ten Second Team. He was on the Wooden and Naismith award watch lists entering his final season with the Spartans, and he went on to average 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
In 2012 and 2014, Payne and Michigan State won the Big Ten tournament.
After being traded to Minnesota, the 6-foot-10 power forward had his greatest years as a backup for the Timberwolves. After completing the 2018 season with the Orlando Magic, he left the NBA and went on to play in Greece, where he won a league championship, as well as China, Turkey, and Lithuania.
Payne befriended an eight-year-old cancer patient Lacey Holsworth while at college and spoke at her memorial service in April 2014. "She helped me in a lot of ways," Payne, who called her "Princess Lacey," said at the time. "Me being able to spend time with her, take my mind off basketball, that's good when you can do that."
That year, Payne was selected 15th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks.
Payne announced in September 2021 that he would be taking a hiatus from basketball to care for his son, who was undergoing brain surgery. "Basketball is my passion. He stated on Twitter, "Amari is my heartbeat."