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By JOEL COLEMAN
Days like Saturday just don't get old for Travis Outlaw.
Despite the fact it was the seventh-straight year the city of Starkville has played host to Travis Outlaw Day, the former Starkville High basketball star and current New Jersey Nets forward says each year's event is special.
"To be out here with friends, family and fans, this is great for me," said Outlaw.
Hundreds of Outlaw's biggest supporters took part in Saturday's festivities, centered in McKee Park, to take part in all types of festivities, from sack races to a barbecue cook-off.
One of the judges for the cook-off, Starkville mayor Parker Wiseman, said Saturday is just one way to show appreciation for all Outlaw does for the town.
"Travis is somebody that continually gives back to this community," said Wiseman. "We are very, very fortunate that he is a native son of the city of Starkville."
As for Outlaw himself, he spent the day mingling amongst those who took part in Saturday's events.
It was a welcome respite for a National Basketball Association player who is currently dealing with the league's lockout, which began on July 1.
With the NBA's current circumstances causing several players to explore playing basketball overseas next season, Outlaw himself says he hasn't given up on the 2011-12 campaign taking place just yet.
Even so, while the NBA and its players strive to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, Outlaw hopes a solution can be reached that satisfies all parties.
"I think I'm going to wait a little longer before I decide to do something massive like (going overseas)," said Outlaw. "I do want everyone to get a great deal though."
All of the NBA's problems were on the backburner Saturday however as Outlaw sported a large smile as he laughed and visited with the many in attendance at McKee Park.
"I can't even count how many (people) I've talked to," said Outlaw. "It has been a lot."
So many supporters cement a simple fact for Outlaw. No matter where his basketball career takes him, Starkville will always hold a special place in his heart.
"This all feels good," said Outlaw. "I know I've always got a home."