Payne, initially from Dayton, Ohio, led his highschool to a division championship in his senior 12 months earlier than committing to Michigan State. Once at MSU, he began gradual, however developed right into a gifted large man. He was a standout who gained a number of awards, together with MSU’s Scholar-Athlete Award, the staff’s most improved participant award (in his sophomore 12 months), and was the recipient of the primary ever Los Angeles Athletic Club Outreach Award, introduced as a part of the John R. Wooden Award Gala. He was additionally an Academic All-Big Ten honoree in his sophomore 12 months, and Second-team All-Big Ten honoree in his junior 12 months. He helped third-seeded MSU win the Big 10 Championship in 2014.
Payne was recognized with decreased lung capability throughout his freshman 12 months, which runs in his household. He tragically misplaced his mom to a extreme bronchial asthma assault when he was simply 13. His mom died in his arms whereas he was trying to find her inhaler. He misplaced his grandmother, who turned his authorized guardian following his mom’s dying, to asthma-related respiratory failure just a few years into his faculty profession. To take care of his situation, Payne discovered easy methods to take shorter breaths so he would not be gasping for air after only a few minutes on the courtroom.
The NBA and past
After a stellar faculty profession, Payne was picked fifteenth total by the Atlanta Hawks within the 2014 draft. He spent most of his first 12 months with the Hawks coping with plantar fasciitis and going backwards and forwards between the staff and the NBA’s D League, till he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in Feb. 2015.
He stayed with the Timberwolves by way of the 2016-17 season, then spent a short while with the Orlando Magic earlier than deciding to play abroad. He started with Greek staff Panathinaikos in 2018 and proceeded to maneuver across the worldwide professional basketball circuit. He performed steadily for groups in China, France, and Turkey. His most up-to-date staff was Juventus Utena in Lithuania the place he performed for just a few months earlier than ending his time with the staff in Feb. 2022.
Friendship with a younger most cancers affected person
One factor many individuals bear in mind about Payne is his friendship with an eight-year-old most cancers affected person named Lacey Holsworth. Payne met Lacey in 2011 when the MSU basketball staff visited Sparrow Hospital, a kids’s hospital in Lansing. She had been recognized with neuroblastoma, and at one level was paralyzed resulting from tumors on her backbone and stomach.
Lacey and Payne started texting backwards and forwards and developed a friendship. During his senior 12 months in 2014, he escorted her onto the courtroom for senior night time, and he or she was there when MSU gained the Big 10 Championship — she even helped lower down the online.
“She calls me her ‘Superman,’ but she’s the one who’s got the super strength,” Payne advised the Detroit Free Press in 2014. “She’s incredible with everything she’s gone through. (Doctors) told her she wouldn’t walk again. But she did. She’s just an incredible fighter. And if I can bring her a little bit of happiness to help her forget everything for a little while, then that’s what I want to do.”
Although Lacey died of her most cancers on April 8, 2014, she made a profound impression on Payne’s life.
“It can’t be all about you,” Payne advised the Free Press. “I think that’s one thing I’ve learned now that I probably didn’t know as a freshman. That’s true with your teammates. What can you do to help make them better?
“And it’s true with others you meet. It’s more important to have a role in other people’s lives that you care for.”