Former NBA Player Adreian Payne Dead at 31 After Fatal Shooting

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Adreian Payne, a former NBA player for the Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic, has died at the age of 31. Read tributes honoring the Michigan State alum below.

The sports community is mourning the loss of basketball player Adreian Payne.

The Ohio native, who played for the Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic during his NBA career, has passed away at the age of 31, Florida authorities confirm to E! News. According to the Orange County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to a local residence early May 9 regarding a shooting.

"A male in his 30s who had been shot, later identified as Adreian Payne, was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead," law enforcement tells E! News, adding that the shooter "stayed at the scene and was transported to OCSO headquarters where he was interviewed by homicide detectives." The individual was arrested on a warrant for first degree murder and transported to the Orange County Jail.

Fellow sports star Jared Sullinger Sr. tweeted a tribute to Payne after his death was announced. "Hate the news i received this morning," he wrote. "Rest Easy to my brother/Teammate @Adreian_Payne."

Payne played for Michigan State University before entering the NBA draft in 2014, where he was selected in the first round by the Hawks as the 15th overall pick. Over the next few years, after time in the NBA and its developmental G League, Payne went overseas to play for the Greek club team Panathinaikos.

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Just months ago, in Dec. 2021, Payne signed with Lithuanian Basketball League Juventus Utena before severing ties in February.

As news of Payne's passing emerged, ESPN's Jay Bilas also took to Twitter to honor the athlete.

"So sad to hear that former Michigan State star Adreian Payne passed away at the age of 31," he wrote. "AP was an outstanding player for Tom Izzo, and befriended Lacey Holsworth through her battle with cancer."

Bilas concluded his message, "RIP Adreian Payne."

University of Rhode Island coach Arch Miller was also among those in the sports community to pay tribute to Payne. "Sad to hear the passing of Adreian Payne this morning. Started watching him while he was in 10th grade, remember his grandmother on his visit," he tweeted. "Loved seeing him develop at Michigan St. and become an NBA player."

E! News has reached out to Payne's rep for comment and has not heard back.

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