NBRPA mourns the loss of Lacey Holsworth

April 11, 2014

The NBRPA would like to extend condolences to the family of “Princess” Lacey Holsworth, Michigan State center Adreian Payne and the entire Spartans basketball community. The 8-year old Holsworth -- a Michigan State fan who gained national fame in college basketball circles for her friendship with Payne and strength in the face of cancer -- lost her battle with neuroblastoma, a cancer that begins in immature nerve cells.

During the Spartans Elite Eight run through the recent NCAA tournament, Holsworth's allegiance to Payne and MSU became a source of inspiration for basketball fans across the country. Her perpetual smile, despite fighting terminal cancer, became a symbol of hope and her friendship with Payne warmed hearts. Holsworth and Payne would text each other and called each other brother and sister. When MSU won the Big Ten Conference Tournament last month, Payne hoisted up Holsworth so she could help him cut down the net.

“Words can’t express how much I already miss Lacey,” Payne said on Instagram. “She is my sister, and will always be a part of my life. She taught me how to fight through everything with a smile on my face even when things were going wrong. I’m a better man because of her. She said she first liked me because of my smile, but it’s her smile that made America fall in love with her. I know she’s smiling and dancing in heaven right now. My princess is now an angel.”

The NBRPA mourns for Lacey Holsworth alongside all of its Michigan State members: Robert Armstrong, Albert Ferrari, John Green, Magic Johnson, Steve Smith, Eric Snow, Sam Vincent and Kevin Willis.

To view a video feature on the special bond shared by Holsworth and Payne, simply click below: