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Experience New Nets: Travis Outlaw

September 15, 2010

Travis Outlaw

East Rutherford, N.J.Drafted directly out of high school in 2003, forward Travis Outlaw traveled from Starkville, Miss. to Portland, Ore. and began a seven-year NBA career that included a pit stop with the Clippers last season before he joined the Nets as a free agent on July 8.

We recently sat down with Mr. Fourth Quarter for a wide-ranging interview about the transition to the pros, how to handle those buzzer-beating moments, road trips and Super Bowl wins (... on Madden). It's time to Experience New Nets! You were one of the last players to jump directly from high school to the pros. When did you start to think that was possible?

Travis Outlaw: My senior year. I was ranked pretty high in the nation, and there was talk like, You probably could go. It took a lot of encouragement from my parents, too. What were some elements of your transition from high school to the pros?

Outlaw: I had to mature a lot faster than if I had gone to college. Once I got to the league, I learned its a job now. In high school, youre used to playing for fun, and its not as serious. But once you get here, its so much more detailed in things you do and do not do. Was it a difficult adjustment going from small-town Mississippi to Portland?

Outlaw: You know, it was, but it helped me a lot more than coming straight to New Jersey; its so fast up here. Portland was kind of slowed down. Its faster than Mississippi, but it wasnt too fast. You do your part to help Keep Portland Weird?

Outlaw: I didnt do much, ha. But I did whatever (the team) wanted me to do in the community. When did you start to feel you belonged in the NBA?

Outlaw: Id say my fourth year. I started gradually getting confidence within my game. At first, it was kind of iffy to me. My first two years, I didnt really grasp what they were trying to saying to me. It took some special coaches to sit down and talk to me about it: There are good moves, but you need to be a little more patient youve got to be poised with your game. Straight out of high school, its kind of like, All right, Ive gotta go! But then you learn time, score and situation. Theres a time for everything. And your time is late in the game, no? *COUGH* Mr. Fourth Quarter

Outlaw: (Laughs.) It was a blessing to have that name, dont get me wrong. But, as Ive played the game, Ive felt youve been in the game long enough, youll get comfortable in the fourth just as well as in the first. If you play long enough, youll get confidence whenever you play. Whats the trick to being able to shoot those with confidence?

Outlaw: When I take them, I learned to really over-exaggerate my shot dont come out of it early when you shoot it. Usually in the fourth, everybodys winded; your legs arent feeling as fresh as they were in the first. Youve just got to really go through your form. Thats what you on, just repetition and making sure that your shots the same, that you have a consistent shot all game. Your jump shot improved dramatically over your first few seasons. Who helped you out the most?

Outlaw: First of all I have to give a lot to God, because he helped me through it all, but I had some wonderful folks that helped me come through from Tim Grgurich to Monty Williams to John Loyer who took time out of their day to help me work on my shot. Which shooters did you admire growing up?

Outlaw: As a shooter, I always loved how Ray Allen shot the ball. And Reggie Miller ). Every shot for them was the same. Their form might be different, but it was always the exact same shot. I read that Travis Outlaw Day drew more than 1,500 people in Starkville this year isnt that the whole town?

Outlaw: Yeah! (Laughs.) Its close. Its very close. Its nice. I always want to give back to the community. Through my childhood, it did so much for me. Thats just a little of what I can do for them. Its with the Boys and Girls club. Its just a fun day in the park. Everybody comes out and enjoys themselves. Whats the trick to winning that BBQ contest?

Outlaw: Youve got to vibe the grill, ha. Youve got to know what youre doing. Ive got a lot of friends that come over to the house and barbecue. I like the eat-in type of barbecue. No doubt. Who put together that workout video you posted?

Outlaw: My cousin Derrick did that. He was messing around like, Trav, I want to do a YouTube video. I was like, Sure, man. Go on and go at it. So it turned out, I looked at it and said, Man, youre pretty good at it! He said, I was just trying to do a little something something. Thats much credit to my cousin. I guess he was bored. How important are keeping those family ties?

Outlaw: Its very important. Im a guy whos really strongly into family. They help you through a lot. Youre not going to have a good day every day, so I look to my family for pickup. Yall really took a 15-hour drive from L.A. to Portland?

Outlaw: (Shakes head.) Aw, man. That was just too long. It was fun though, because we drove through the mountains and that was scary. It didnt have no rails or nothing. Man, if you fall asleep its OVER. Crazy. What made you do it?

Outlaw: It was my brothers idea. I had to go back to Portland and pack up. After the season was over, I didnt have no rush to go anywhere. He was like, Lets drive up to Portland. I was like, Ahhh At first, I was skeptical. I said, Thats a 15-hour drive, bro thats not something you just do! But my cousin was with me, so we just said, Forget it, packed up and it was, Lets go. Sounds like a good trip. Fun like winning the Super Bowl on Madden?

Outlaw: Yeah, ha. I simulated the whole thing, got to the Super Bowl, and I (played and) won it. They had Obama on the game and everything. I said, These video games are really taking off with it. What team do you play with?

Outlaw: I play with the Vikings. Thats my favorite team. Wait. The Vikings?! Arent you from Mississippi?

Outlaw: I have a couple friends whore like, How are you not a Saints fan?! I remember when Warren Moon was playing there, and then on to Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss. I just fell in love with the team. Fair enough. Favre gonna do it again?

Outlaw: Im hoping so. Theyre getting back there pretty fast on him now. We lost to the Saints, but it was the first game, so we got time. You feeling settled out here yet?

Outlaw: Yeah. Ive just got to learn these streets. To turn off, you go past your destination and then turn all the way back around. Thats gonna mess me up. Learn to love those jughandles. Theyre the first thing everyone complains about.

Outlaw: Yeah. And Ive got to get an EZ Pass, Ive heard. Good advice, ha. They really speed things up.

Outlaw: When I first landed here to sign, I was like, Man we went through three tolls already! But Im very excited. I feel like its a very fresh start here.

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2010 Additions

Jordan Farmar Jordan Farmar
Anthony Morrow Anthony Morrow
Troy Murphy Troy Murphy
Travis Outlaw Travis Outlaw
Johan Petro Johan Petro

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