Regardless of whether you’re actually a Michigan State fan, the Spartans have become a difficult team to root against in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Why? The friendship between senior center Adreian Payne and eight-year-old cancer fighter Lacey Holsworth has reminded us all that college basketball – even the big dance – is not all that matters to these players. Adreian and Lacey’s story, which has been covered heavily by the media this past week, is one of the most heartwarming tales to come along in quite some time. As the Spartans sit on the brink of a long-awaited Final Four berth, the two could share another special moment in an incredible journey.
Holsworth was diagnosed with neuroblastoma last year, but was able to defeat the terrible disease and regain her ability to walk. Unfortunately, this past November, it reappeared. Payne has served as Lacey’s rock during the ordeal, and the two have developed an incredible bond. Lacey’s entire family was even on-hand for the Big Ten championship game, after which she was allowed to cut down a piece of the net with Payne.
Payne and Lacey take the net. pic.twitter.com/ximgaIuVtZ
— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) March 16, 2014
With MSU playing at Madison Square Garden Sunday for a chance to reach the Final Four, Holsworth will again be in the crowd, cheering on her Spartans. In fact, she’s been making the rounds in New York City – she even appeared on The Today Show Sunday morning. And while a Spartans victory won’t solve all of the medical issues she still faces, it would certainly put another big smile on her face.
There are no current Spartans on the roster who have reached a Final Four in their stay in East Lansing. But we have a feeling that a victory today would be just a little bit more special for one in particular.