Former NBA Star Adreian Payne Dies Tragically at 31

Chris Barilla - Author

May 10 2022, Published 3:33 p.m. ET

It goes without saying that Adreian Payne's career in basketball was an impactful one. As a former player for the Atlanta Hawks, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Orlando Magic, the basketball player's work in the NBA solidified his status as a star during his time as a professional athlete.

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Unfortunately, a recent tragedy left the renowned athlete dead at just 31 years old. What exactly happened to Adreian Payne? Keep reading to find out.

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What happened to Adreian Payne?

Per CNN, Payne was shot and killed in Orlando, Fla., on May 9, 2022. Representatives for the Orange County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene where they found Payne shot and immediately began administering medical care. However, upon being taken to the hospital, the athlete succumbed to his wounds and passed away.

According to NBC affiliate station WESH-2, 29-year-old Lawrence Dority, who was named as the suspect in the shooting, was placed under arrest for first-degree murder and was transported to the Orange County Jail. WESH-2 notes that Payne and his girlfriend came to Dority's home "at the request of Dority's girlfriend" to mediate a dispute between the two of them, which they'd "done in the past."

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Dority allegedly told officers that Payne approached him and "was intimidating due to his size." He added that the athlete threatened him with statements such as, "I'll smoke you, brah," which led Dority to believe that Payne had a gun.

Dority then re-entered his home to retrieve a weapon of his own and shot the former NBA player.

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According to the police report from the incident, Dority is maintaining his innocence and claims that he shot Payne in self-defense. "Dority stated he was protecting his family and protecting his home. Dority stated his actions were justified," the official statement reads.

Adreian Payne's career in the NBA spans multiple teams and leagues.

Adreian Payne began his career in basketball by playing at Michigan State University. There, he accomplished such feats as leading his team in blocks and finishing seventh overall in the Big 10 during his sophomore year. By the time he was a senior, Payne was named to the Midseason Wooden Award Top 25 watchlist, was twice named Big Ten Player of the Week, and wrapped up his college career by being named Second Team All-Big Ten.

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Fast-forward to 2014 and the basketball player was selected to be the 15th overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA Draft. He played with the team for the 2014–2015 season before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Payne played with the Timberwolves for two seasons from 2015 to 2017 before then changing teams again and signing a two-way contract with the Orlando Magic.

Payne stayed with the Magic from 2017 to 2018 but left the team in the middle of the season. He then signed with the Panathinaikos of the Greek Basketball League, where he played out the rest of the 2017–2018 season. After that, he took on other stints in a variety of international leagues in China, France, Turkey, and Lithuania.

Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and fans during this difficult time.

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