Starkville spends time with Outlaw during special day
Travis Outlaw (left) of the New Jersey Nets spends time with family and friends during Travis Outlaw Day at McKee Park. (Joel Coleman/SDN)
Travis Outlaw has played in many of America's most famous venues.
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He's lived in cities like Portland and Los Angeles during his National Basketball Association career.
Still, for the former Starkville High standout and current New Jersey Nets forward, there's only one place he calls home.
"Starkville is it for me," said Outlaw. "I'm really not a big city type of person. I love being home around family and friends."
Outlaw got to experience being around plenty of loved ones on Saturday as people came out by the hundreds to spend time with their local hero at McKee Park as part of Travis Outlaw Day.
Each year, residents of Starkville put on this event to honor Outlaw for the work he does in the community.
Most recently, Outlaw financially helped a local youth baseball team get the chance to play in the Dizzy Dean World Series.
"I do those kinds of things because I was blessed to have an opportunity to go out and play when I was young," said Outlaw. "Teams picked me up in AAU and stuff, and I want kids to have the same opportunities that I had. If I can help just one kid, it's a blessing. It's kind of hard being able to do some things living in Mississippi, but I want to make sure everyone gets a fair opportunity."
It's that type of giving attitude that has helped Outlaw maintain his humbleness, and causes the friends he has always had, like the ones at McKee Park Saturday, to not see him as an NBA star but the kid they always knew.
"Everyone still treats me the same," said Outlaw. "All these people that helped raise me, I'm still little Travis to them."
To others, like some of the youth who got to meet him on Saturday, Outlaw is a larger-than-life professional athlete.
"There's been so many kids I've met, I can't even count," said Outlaw.
Regardless of people's reasoning for coming out on Saturday, whether it was to say thanks, catch up with their old friend, or meet a NBA star, Outlaw is grateful the event is held each year.
"This is just amazing, it gets bigger and bigger every year," said Outlaw as he surveyed the crowd. "Everybody coming out here to support me, and all I can do is just be thankful. I thank everyone who came out."