Jalisa Outlaw, 16, shares a laugh with Travis Outlaw during the annual Travis Outlaw youth camp held this week in Starkville. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff
June 29, 2018 12:56:23 AM
STARKVILLE -- For three days, Travis Outlaw walked into a building bearing his name and did his best to justify that honor.
Even now that he has been out of the NBA for four years, Outlaw is still using his platform as one of Starkville's biggest basketball names to help local youth with his Elite Travis Outlaw Basic Skills and Fundamentals Basketball Camp, Thursday being the third and final day. Campers got to run through drills with a team of coaches, Outlaw included, before scrimmage sessions with children of similar ages.
This was his eighth year of holding the camp at the Starkville Sportsplex, and he continues doing it for one reason.
"Staying in touch with the youth and seeing the upcoming players we have coming from young ages to high school," Outlaw said.
Outlaw was born in Starkville, played for Starkville High School and was drafted right after his Yellow Jacket career by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 23rd pick in the 2003 NBA Draft; the NBA passed the rule forcing players to wait a year after high school before draft eligibility in 2005. Outlaw played 12 seasons in the NBA: seven for the Portland Trail Blazers, three for the Sacramento Kings, one for the New Jersey Nets and one for the Los Angeles Clippers.
His best came in his final two full seasons with the Trail Blazers, 2007-08 and 2008-09; he was traded to the Clippers during the 2009-10 season. In those two final full seasons with the Trail Blazers, he averaged 13.3 and 12.8 points per game and played all but one game in those two seasons, averaging over 25 minutes per game for the first time in his career.
Now, he gets most of his enjoyment out of passing on his experiences to others.
"It's like a breath of fresh air, coming down here and coaching, trying to motivate and give them energy," Outlaw said. "It's a beautiful thing. I'm truly blessed to watch them and watch parents watch their kids play."
He was not alone in this camp, as a group of coaches joined in, including Travis' brother John and Starkville High boys basketball coach Greg Carter.
It is clear, watching Travis Outlaw on the floor with the campers, that his favorite part is standing on the sideline, coaching the players through scrimmages and ribbing the coach on the other side whenever possible.
"Just teaching the game and seeing effort," he said. "I believe anything in life you're trying to succeed in, it takes effort. Teaching the kids that it's not about the shot going in, it's your effort on defense, it's your effort on offense, it's constantly trying.
"Sometimes I do (think about coaching full-time), but I still have a lot of work to do, too."
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson
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