(The following is the first of six posts based off of conversations with Travis Outlaw)
It's hard to imagine that anyone could legitimately "hate" Travis Outlaw. Sure, he might do some things on the court that, from time to time, drive you crazy, but Travis is simply too kind a person to despise.
But according to Travis, or more correctly, his cousin, you do, at least those of you who frequent blogs and message boards.
"My cousin told me about (what people write online)," said Outlaw. "He’s like ‘Travis, they hate you in Portland.’ And I’m like ‘You for real?’ And he’s like ‘Yeah.’ I was like, oh well, I don’t know everybody hated me. He said ‘Yeah, they hate you here.’"
I spend some time around Travis and have discussed this topic with him enough to know that he's not entirely serious (Outlaw tends to speak out of the corner of his mouth in a lower tone when he wants you to know he's joking around), but the twinge of doubt is there. A part of Travis, a guy who consistently asks and is legitimately interested in the opinions of others, really feels as though he's Portland's least wanted.
Now the declaration that people in Portland "hate" Travis Outlaw is likely overblown, at least in this case. Maybe Travis sparks more disagreement amongst fans than any of his teammates, which could actually speak to the devotion many feel toward him, but I see far too many No. 25 jerseys running around the Rose Garden to believe that Outlaw is loathed to the extent which he imagines.
But good luck convincing Travis of that. Even after hitting the game-winner against the Pistons, Outlaw still joked that he's not feeling the love.
"They most definitely still hate me," says Outlaw post-game. "They probably still be like ‘That’s still a bad shot; he just made it.’"