2014 : Lacy Holsworth Dies, Forever Linked with 2013-14 Spartan Basketball Team

April 8, 2023 all-day


Lacey Holsworth, the eight-year-old girl who was battling cancer and was a special friend of MSU basketball center Adreian Payne, died on April 8. An Instagram post sent out by her Twitter account, @adorablelacey, announced the news: “Princess Lacey has achieved the ultimate victory. She now dances among angels….” Holsworth, who was nicknamed “Princess Lacey,” had been stricken with neuroblastoma in 2011. It is a rare form of cancer that spread to her spine and abdomen. During a hospital visit, Payne and fellow basketball players befriended her. She and Payne struck up a special friendship. Payne considered her a little sister, while she called him “Superman.” Lacey was Payne’s escort on Senior Night at the Breslin Center and attended games during the NCAA tournament. She also cheered her friend in the Final Four slam dunk contest in Dallas, where Payne finished in third place. The national media found Lacey’s story to be especially compelling and inspiring and in recent weeks it was covered extensively from coast to coast. “If there’s any way to go with dignity, she went (that way),” MSU Coach Tom Izzo told 730 AM The Game in Lansing. “Sad, but I’m also proud, if that makes any sense.” A memorial service was held for Lacey on April 17 at MSU’s Breslin Center.

Many people will always remember the link between Princess Lacey and the 2013-2014 MSU basketball team, not the Big Ten tournament championship, elite 8 finish, the victory over a number 1 ranked team, a number 1 seeded team, or the many injuries during the season.

 How 8-Year-Old with Cancer Captured America's Heart

For another article, see Ken Palmer, “One year later, students honor Lacey in tribute at MSU’s The Rock”, Lansing State Journal, April 8, 2015.

Jason King, “Remembering Lacey Holsworth: How 8-Year-Old with Cancer Captured America’s Heart“, Bleacher Report, April 24, 2014.

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