Convicted rapist, first black UK basketball player Tom Payne granted parole


Photo: Kentucky Department of Corrections

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – Former University of Kentucky basketball player Tom Payne was granted parole after serving decades in prison on a rape conviction.

Payne, 68, had already spent five years in prison for rape in Georgia before he was extradited to Kentucky where he was indicted on a rape charge in the commonwealth. He spent five years in prison in Kentucky before being paroled in 1983. He then was arrested in California in 1986 for rape. He spent more than a decade in prison in California before being transferred back to Kentucky for a parole violation where he has continued to serve a life sentence.

He is housed in the Kentucky State Reformatory near La Grange.

The center was the first black player to ever play for the University of Kentucky, and he also played with the Atlanta Hawks during the 1971-72 season. Payne also was a professional boxer in California before his 1986 arrest.

Payne was the third-leading scorer during the Wildcats’ 1970-71 season, averaging a double-double.

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