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Warriors Draymond Green Honors Slain College Teammate and Close Friend


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Adreian Payne

Getty/Jamie Sabau Michigan State Spartan players Brandon Wood and Adreian Payne help up teammate Draymond Green in the third round of the 2012 NCAA Basketball Tournament at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

Aside from the riveting, intense battle between the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors, some sad news transpired that struck the NBA community.

Former NBA player Adreian Payne was killed in a shooting early morning on May 8 in Orlando Florida. Deputies responded to a shooting at 1:34 am and immediately took Payne to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was just 31 years old.

The Ohio native was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the 15th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. After spending five seasons in the NBA, Payne played overseas over five seasons in Greece, China, and Lithuania.

Payne was a four-year standout at Michigan State, where he played from 2010-14. His time in East Lansing intertwined with Warriors Draymond Green. Both played for two years together, and have been close friends to this day.

“Draymond [Green] is crushed,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr says after shootaround on May 9. “They were the best of friends. We’re thinking of them today. Just feeling a lot of grief with everybody involved. Draymond is especially feeling that way”

Green publicly showed his sorrow when he tweeted broken heart emojis the morning that Payne was slain.

Fellow Spartans Jaren Jackson Jr., Miles Bridges, and Magic Johnson all tweeted out their condolences to Payne and his family.

Payne last played professionally just a couple of months ago for Juventus Utena in Lithuania. He was a free agent after being waived on February 17, 2022.

Draymond Green Honors Adreian Payne During Game 4

Green paid tribute to his lost friend during May 9’s playoff game against the Grizzlies.

On one shoe, the Dubs forward wrote “RIP AP” on his left shoe, while “Long Live 5” on his right sneaker.

Warriors acting head coach Mike Brown expressed his sentiments after the game. He acknowledged that the death affected Green, which impacted the entire team. Green is the heart and soul of the Warriors, so this should not come as a surprise.

“Draymond getting hit with something that impactful,” Brown says remorsefully. “Not only was it tough for him, but we felt it as a group.”

Mike Brown Postgame Interview | Golden State Warriors beat Memphis Grizzlies 101-98Mike Brown Postgame Interview | Golden State Warriors beat Memphis Grizzlies 101-982022-05-10T05:15:49Z

Warriors Forward Speaks Briefly About His Close Friend After Game 4

After Game 4, Green spoke briefly during the postgame conference about his lost friend. He did not take questions but said that he and his wife, Hazel, would donate $100,000 to a fund that would start with Payne’s legacy. He hoped other Spartan alumni would step up and contribute to the fund in Payne’s name.

“If that’s naming something on a campus after him, if that is some scholarships for some kids from Dayton, whatever that is, I call on my Spartan family to band together and do something in Adreian’s name,” Green says emotionally. “So I’m going to go home and talk about Adreian, and I’ll talk a little bit about this game.”

Green said he was saving his thoughts for his friend for later on his podcast because he was on the verge of tears. Expect Green to give a much more thoughtful soliloquy on his podcast, once he has more time to sit down and gather his thoughts.

Source: Heavy

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