Former Michigan State forward Adreian Payne’s touching friendship with eight-year-old Lacey Holsworth was well-documented throughout the 2013-14 college basketball season.
Often appearing like brother and sister more so than top-flight athlete and adoring fan, the duo’s connection captivated fans near and far — especially during the 2014 NCAA tournament.
While Holsworth ultimately succumbed to neuroblastoma on April 9, her memory continued to live on as Payne worked to realize his own professional dreams.
Thursday night, Payne’s journey to the league finally reached its conclusion, as the Atlanta Hawks selected the Dayton, Ohio native with the 15th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
And as he made his way to greet NBA commissioner Adam Silver on stage at the Barclays Center, Payne opened up his suit jacket to reveal its pink interior — a beautiful nod to his courageous friend, Holsworth.
Character Counts Finalist
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- Campo Verde's Kanani Hiapo thrives on volleyball court, in the classroom
- Raymond S. Kellis sophomore Chase Weaver balances leadership roles in sports, church
- Westwood's Brianna Anderson makes big differences with little actions
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- Williams Field High School junior Lindsay O'Driscoll finds time to help others
- Scottsdale Christian's Christina Clark has dreams, reality of helping others
- Golf, piloting and helping others are Brody Burnell's passions
- Teddy bear drive, speeches help Emery Miller inspire children to overcome adversity