Adreian Payne is one of the best big men in the nation and a sure first-round NBA selection in the upcoming draft. He has had a tough road to his current stardom and has been one of the bright spots for the Michigan State Spartans this year. Would you believe it if I told you that one of his best friends is eight-year old Lacey Holsworth and that she would be accompanying him on his senior night at the Breslin Center on Thursday?
Well, you better believe it.
Winning Big Ten titles is important to the Spartans, but so is community involvement. While the Spartans will not be winning a conference regular season title this season, some players have been consistent when it comes to making a difference in the community. Payne has been one of those guys that is consistent with his work on and off the court.
Holsworth and Payne developed a close relationship a few years ago during a team hospital visit in which he met his young friend. Lacey was in the hospital at the time, diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a large tumor in her abdomen that wrapped around her spine and left her temporarily paralyzed.
The two hit it off from the start.
Some feared that she might never walk again, but her strength grew from that point forward just like the relationship she built with her hero, Adreian.
— Spartan Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) May 17, 2013
Adreian and Lacey have become inseperable and even text each other before and after each of his games. She seemed to be back to full strength, but in November of this year, the tumor returned and she is in the midst of radiation treatments.
According to Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press, Payne broke the news about walking with him on the court during senior day to Lacey and she was pretty happy:
“She was real happy, you know, she’s always smiling and glowing whenever she sees me.”
The two have developed one of the most amazing bonds in all of sports. Payne doesn’t have much of his immediate family left, but his father and Lacey’s family will be walking with him after the game during Thursday’s senior night celebration.
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.