August 27, 2011 1:58:00 AM
Six years ago, Travis Outlaw Day started as a small gathering of roughly 100 people at McKee Park.
Today, organizers expect close to 5,000 to attend the free, fun-filled day hosted by one of Starkville''s most notable celebrities.
The New Jersey Nets forward entered the NBA fresh out of Starkville High School in 2003. Starkville residents have seen his annual celebration evolve into a overflow event filled with cash prizes, free food and games.
Festivities begin at 10 a.m. at McKee Park and will last until 4 p.m.
The celebration has multiple events for adults and children, including the signature 3-on-3 basketball tournament. Winners of the basketball tournament, barbecue cook-off and 7-on-7 flag football game will receive cash prizes.
Other events include: a 3-point shootout, three-leg race, dance contest and the T-Law Egg Hunt for children under the age of 5.
Hot dogs, popcorn and cotton candy will be provided free of charge.
"This is Travis'' way of having the community come together for a celebration," Travis'' mother Markeeta said. "It was large for this community with him being drafted out of high school. This is his way of letting the community know he appreciates everything they''ve done for him."
Travis father, retired Starkville Police Department Assistant Chief John Outlaw, said Travis pours a lot of time and effort into Travis Outlaw Day because he doesn''t get to return home much during basketball season. During his NBA career, Travis has played in Portland, Ore., Los Angeles and New Jersey.
"We''ve always told him to be mindful of where he comes from," John said. "The quickest way to go down is to forget where you''ve been. If you come from a humble beginning, you''re appreciative of the way you''ve climbed the ladder. Some of the kids who make it to where he has move away and never look back."
The Boys and Girls Club of Oktibbeha County received a $20,000 donation from Travis last year and will receive another large donation today. The presentation of the check will take place at 2:45 p.m.
Throughout the day, there will be a drawing every hour for various prizes for children and adults. Prizes will include signed memorabilia and a laptop computer for children.
"At the risk of sounding like an overly proud mom, he has a kind heart and is very generous," Markeeta said. "I remember when we first started this, he would always want to add more and more. It''s wonderful to look at what it''s grown into.
"As a parent, it makes you think ''wow, we''ve done something right.''"
ryanm commented at 8/31/2011 2:20:00 PM:
i was wondering who were the winners of the Travis Outlaw barbeque cook-off this past weekend? i haven't been able to find any results of the contest.
1. Coach Marsh will be remembered COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY