I don’t care how big of a Tennessee Volunteer fan you are or if you have Michigan State losing in your meaningless bracket because you are about to be a supporter of Adreian Payne of the Spartans. The Michigan State forward has become close friends with 8-year-old Lacey Holsworth. The young girl walked onto the court with Payne on senior night and even helped cut down the nets after Michigan State won this year’s Big Ten championship.

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Payne met Lacey, who prefers to go by the moniker, “Princess Lacey,” two years ago when he met the adorable girl while he was doing a hospital tour. Sadly, Lacey is suffering from an aggressive form of cancer called a neuroblastoma. While most athlete/sick child interactions end as soon as the star leaves the hospital room, that is not the case for Payne. The two are in constant contact via text and social media.


Payne says that he is the brother to a princess,

Lacey is a special friend. She’s like a sister to me. She has taught me to fight through everything.”

And Lacey considers him as family, “Adriean is my brother,” says Lacey. “I just think of him when I smile.” Payne was by Lacey’s side at a fund-raiser for her.

Lacey’s mom Heather tells of the immediate impact that Adreian has:

There are days when the smiles don’t come as easily. He (Payne) can walk in the room, and you see her just light up like that—it means everything.”

Lacey will often refer to Payne as “Superman,” and who could argue with that sentiment.

The story has prompted Jay Bilas to follow one strong little girl on his Twitter.


So today no matter your team affiliation or what outcome your silly bracket you are hoping for, we are all rooting for Team Payne/Holsworth.