Dear. Mr. Outlaw,
How was your summer? Did you do anything fun? Mine was good, I debated my fandom of you with complete strangers. I'll explain after I do something you are really good at.
That was the Jump. You know, the jump, like how you jump so high for those rebounds, or shots, or occasional dunk. I really like it when you dunk. I also really like it when you get rebounds, and fight other players for the ball. You have been doing this more lately, and I think it is good. But I can't bring myself to like you on this team. You almost had me. I was so close. You were running up and down the floor, rebounding in traffic, diving after loose balls; in general all the things I've wanted you to do since you came to Portland so long ago. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop though, for you too start looking lost on offense, for the thinking man's pause to creep back into your game.(this portion was written 2 weeks ago)
Then something changed. You kept all these positive changes up even when your shot wasn't falling, it's commitment like that on both offense and defense that I've longed to see for so long from you. That's why I like you on the Blazers so much. You see, I started this post two weeks ago, when you seemed to be the same frustrating Travis we have known and loved or better or worse the past couple seasons. But, I put the writing off to deal with real life issues, in that time you cemented yourself as a hustle guy off the bench for this team. Sure your shooting went in the crapper a couple nights, but you were still rebounding in traffic, diving on the floor for loose balls, and most importantly, you were still in the game, you never disappeared like you have in years past. In essence, you proved yourself reliable as a player night in and night out. Not because of your shot and offense as you have streakily done in the past, but because of your new found realization of much of the promise we fans have seen in you for so long off the ball. Now that you've gotten hurt, it has left a hole in the team, in the locker room, and most importantly in my heart.
This post started out with me on the fence about my fandom of Travis Outlaw, but it turns out I like him, I like him on the Blazers in his pre-injury capacity, I like him in the city of Portland, and I'll still like him even if he ends up playing somewhere else next year, but I hope he stays. As long as Travis Outlaw continues to play hard on offense, defense, and everywhere in between, I will continue to root for his continued success, it's as simple as that.