Thursday, May 19, 2022

Two friends paint The Rock in honor of Adreian Payne

May 10, 2022
Kelly Branigan and Paige Mulligan lay flowers at the base of The Rock on Farm Lane on May 10, 2022 for the recently deceased Adreian Payne.
Kelly Branigan and Paige Mulligan lay flowers at the base of The Rock on Farm Lane on May 10, 2022 for the recently deceased Adreian Payne. —
Photo by Rahmya Trewern | The State News

On Tuesday, May 10, two friends met at the Rock on Farm Lane to paint it in honor of the late Adreian Payne, a former MSU basketball star.

Payne died on Monday morning after being shot. 

Recent communications graduate Paige Mulligan and creative advertising junior Kelly Branigan both work for the Michigan State University Athletics department. They wanted to organize a painting of the rock because they felt passionate about MSU sports and the impact Payne had on the community. 

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“MSU basketball is near and dear to my heart,” Mulligan said. “He was important. He's such an important person, and just the way he died is just so awful. So we wanted to do something to honor that.”

Branigan also recalled Payne’s relationship to “Princess” Lacey Holsworth, an eight-year-old girl that became the MSU basketball’s sweetheart before she died of cancer in 2014. 

“It's just a special MSU tradition to (paint the rock),” Branigan said. “Especially since it was done for Lacey, I feel like it's a nice way to do it.”

Mulligan said that Payne is the “definition of a Spartan.”

“Obviously he was an amazing basketball player, but what he did with Lacey, even how he died, he was trying to help someone,” Mulligan said. “That's what I feel like being a Spartan is all about, so this is a good way to honor him.”

Michigan State Basketball Coach Tom Izzo also honored Payne in a press release on Monday. 

“Adreian was loved by his teammates and coaches, who respected his development as a player and a person,” Izzo said. “Beyond that, he will long be remembered by Spartan fans for his kind heart, as his friendship and genuine bond with Lacey Holsworth touched the nation.”

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