Adreian Payne has heartfelt tribute to young cancer victim at NBA draft

June 27, 2014

NBA draft prospect Adreian Payne of Michigan State, points to fans before the start of the 2014 NBA draft. (Jason DeCrow / AP)

One of the most touching moments of the college basketball season was the relationship that developed between Michigan State’s Adreian Payne and Lacey Holsworth, a little girl who was fighting cancer.

Adreian Payne made the jump to the NBA on Thursday night and Holsworth, who died just after the NCAA tournament, was still a part of his journey. Holsworth’s mother, Heather, was one of his guests at the Barclays Center and Payne, the 15th overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks, had her name stitched along with his inside his jacket.

“It really has a meaning behind it,” he said. “I wore this for the — dedicated to Lacey Holsworth and it’s the color of her cancer that she had, leukemia, and I wear a band every day. As you can see, the band is the same color as the suit. So that’s why I wore it and that’s where I get my inspiration from.”

Payne was asked what Lacey would think of his big night at the draft.

“She would definitely give me a big hug,” he said, “and tell me she loved me.”

Adreian Payne got an assist from Lacey Holsworth after the Big Ten tournament last winter. (Michael Conroy / AP)


After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Matt Bonesteel · June 27, 2014