Remember when Alonzo Mourning refused to play in Canada? How about Raptor power forward Antonio Davis? After blossoming into an All Star in Toronto, he opted out of his contract because he felt uncomfortable that his kids were singing O Canada. Giants Brandon Belt Jersey . And learning the metric system. These were actual reasons he gave. I do not predict Amir Johnson feeling similarly. Something is happening — has happened — and it is a genie for whom the bottle will forever be too cramped. Turns out, after two decades of tumult and failure, subtly and steadily, Toronto has turned into a basketball mecca. In a fitting end to the roundball dominance of Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, each respectively has been or is being upset by Wizards, common decency and your Toronto Raptors. This isnt emphatic hype from a success-starved fan. This is real. This is how the future of Toronto basketball is going to play out. (Results guaranteed or your money back.) First, Toronto is going to beat the Brooklyn Nets. They are going to do this because they are faster, stronger, better coached and more talented. My words to Garnetts ears, I think theyre tougher too. Id confidently go to battle against KG, Pierce and Deron Williams with Lowry, Amir and Jonas. (Toronto can also selectively deploy Tyler Hansbrough, forcing Brooklyn to be mindful of his ever-present Metta World Peace potential. Observe when Hansbrough is deployed in a game. Always during a "Charles Oakley moment" when a teammate is being manhandled or has taken a series of tough fouls, and it is time for a guy made of elbows to contribute. Last game he played for 8 minutes, committed 3 fouls, and even touched the ball a few times.) The only reason the series goes seven is Torontos lack of experience. Heading into Game 5, the Raptors are now nearing the point of enough collective savvy and bend-but-dont-break guile to beat these paper tigers. The New Jersey Nets of Brooklyn are going down. (Sidenote on Donald Sterling: I would be neglectful not to mention the shadow hanging over an otherwise terrific first round of NBA playoffs. This is a teachable moment to talk about prejudice, especially when a Toronto club has experienced something similar. Remember when Harold Ballard warned us of the Soviet threat in 1979, proclaiming no Russian would ever play for the Maple Leafs, that they were "parasites and barnacles who steal our money?" I think Nikki Borschevsky told me that story. It was just the kind of boldly regressive, anti-humanistic rhetoric which helped spurn a generation of iconic movie villains from Ivan Drago to Boris the Blade. We may never see the same yield of film icons, but after commissioner Adam Silvers welcome and decisive announcement, I guarantee this whole affair ends in the plus column. Before you can explain to your mother that "Instagram is like Twitter with more pets," Magic Johnson will own an NBA team and Donald Sterling will not. Let him waste away in his underground lair, using his billions for, oh, I dont know, drumming up support to bomb North Korea? Backing anti-climate change lobbyists? Pouring millions into Monsantos nuclear corn division? Im not really sure what super-villains are into these days.) Speaking of villains, up next will be Miami, a team Toronto will not get past. This second round series is whats known in the business as "valuable experience". Any team on its way up bonds, grows and learns how to win by getting beat by the best. Do not be surprised when T.O. finds a way to win a game, maybe two (possibly three). This years Heat have a touch of the Nets in them (see: slow, creaky). They also have Lebron so they will be winning. 2014/15. Critical mass. The season NBA fans will remember as the Canadian Invasion. The one lasting achievement of the Vince Carter-era is inspiring a generation of local athletes to basketball greatness. The talent emerging is staggering, and some of it a credit to Carter as the deified player who sparked their imagination as kids. He, and two-time MVP Steve Nash, have long been the main influences for young Canadian ballers. In 1996, Nash was drafted 15th overall, the highest pick in NBA history for a Canuck. But years would pass. Bill Wennington would retire. Carter would move on to half-ass it in other cities. The Northern Uprising would start afresh in 2011, when Cleveland drafted Toronto-native Tristan Thompson 4th overall, a new record. Emerging San Antonio Spurs point guard Cory Joseph, a native of nearby Pickering, was drafted 29th. By 2012, a record five Canadians would be drafted, led by Orlando forward Andrew Nicholson (taken 19th). 2013 would be uncharted territory for Canadian ball. It was the first time two Canadians were selected in the lottery, including 13th selection, Toronto-native Kelly Olynyk and, shockingly, another Toronto-native, Anthony Bennett, going first overall. FIRST OVERALL. And he wasnt supposed to be the guy to accomplish that. That honour was being reserved for 2014s expected draft class hero, Raptor fan, and Toronto-native Andrew Wiggins (note the geographic trend). He may still wind up chosen first overall. Highly-touted Toronto-born Tyler Ennis is also declaring for this years draft and expected to go in the first round. 7-foot-5-inch Sim Bhullar (of Toronto) has a chance to be drafted as the first NBA player of Indian descent. Mississauga-native Nik Stauskas is considered a potential lottery pick. The list is long. Peruse the 2014 mock draft board. I did the math. Toronto is the best represented city in the world. Though the seminal players in Torontos basketball history may not be the most beloved, Marcus Camby, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh represent a considerable quantity of upper echelon talent which will someday appear as the bedrock on to which greater success was built. They are testament that superstars can be developed in Toronto, in Canada, where Vince Carter led fan voting for the All Star game four times, and Terrence Ross has been turning on young fans with dunk championship flare. More winning will build more local talent. Perceptions will change. A noteworthy cogitation to pull all this accounting together. It is entirely plausible there could come a day — there will come a day — when great players around the league are nagging their agents, opting out of contracts early, even colluding with their talented buddies...to come to Toronto. With so much homegrown talent pouring into the league, the standard could well be broken soon, where the prominent talents want to come to Toronto rather than dismiss it. To some extent, it is going to happen. To what extent, will be exciting to witness. >> Gallays Poll #8 << Who would you most like to see receive a hard foul from Tyler Hansbrough?(A) Kevin Garnett (most likely)(B) Jason Kidd (less likely)(C) Jay-Z (unlikely)(D) All of the above (almost certainly) Giants Derek Law Jersey .75 million contract for the 2014 season and avoided arbitration. The team announced the agreement on Tuesday. Giants Brandon Crawford Jersey . CSKA received the heavier punishment of playing its next European home game behind closed doors, after its supporters displayed racist and far-right symbols in the Czech Republic during a 2-1 loss to Viktoria Plzen on Dec. http://www.cheapgiantsjerseysauthentic.com/?tag=giants-tyler-herb-jersey . Colorado came up big against Chicago last spring, and repeated that performance Tuesday night. Varlamov stopped 36 shots and Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche in a 5-1 victory over the Blackhawks.ST. LOUIS -- Heading into the final stretch of the season, the issues for the Chicago Bears banged-up defence only seem to be getting worse. Another ugly loss cost them a chance to move into first place NFC North. Tavon Austins 65-yard touchdown run was only the beginning of a big game on the ground for St. Louis, and the Rams beat Chicago 42-21 for their second straight lopsided win. The Bears, who came in with the leagues second-worst run defence, gave up 123 yards rushing in the first quarter and a season-high 261 for the game with defensive stars Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman joining a slew of defensive tackles sidelined by injuries. "Were never going to say we cant get the problem fixed because it is fixable," defensive end Julius Peppers said. "Were going to simplify it even more than it has been and were going to keep continuing to work on it until it is fixed." The Bears (6-5) could have claimed first place in the division with a win on a day when Detroit (6-5) lost to Tampa Bay and Green Bay (5-5-1) managed only a tie with last-place Minnesota. "We had an opportunity to take advantage of what else happened in our division, but we didnt. That just goes to show you how tough this game is," said Brandon Marshall, who had 117 yards on 10 receptions. Its gotten to the point that first-year coach Marc Trestman cant trust his defence. Trailing 24-14, Chicago opened the second half by driving to the 4-yard line. When Josh McCowns scramble was stopped to set up fourth-and-goal at the 1, Trestman saw no other option but to go for it. Michael Bush was stuffed for a 4-yard loss, with Jo-Lonn Dunbar breaking through the line untouched to blow up the play. "This was a bit of a track meet out there today and I know that those three points seem like a lot, but I am very confident that it was the right thing to do," Trestman said. The game featured a brother vs. brother subplot with Rams defensive end Chris Long going up against his little brother, Bears offensive guard Kyle Long. The only time it got really physical, Chris was playing the role of peacemaker. Racing off the sideline where hed taken a play off, Chris Long rescued a teammate and dragged his younger brother out of a first-half fracas before it could escalate. "One way to defuse that situation was to get everybody out of there," Chris Long said. "He happened to be a body I saw, so I grabbed him." Until they posed for photos after the game with their parents afterward, it had been mostly just another game day. They lined up close to each other all day, and traded the occasional glancing bllow. Giants Steven Okert Jersey. Kyle Long also blamed himself for missing the key block on the goal line, saying: "I didnt pull far enough. That one falls on me." On the play that ended with his big brother dragging him off the field, Kyle Long said hed been reacting to a cheap shot in the back "about 30 yards away from the play." He had defensive end William Hayes down and delivered some forearm blows before Chris Long intervened. "I still dont know if there was a whistle. Some of the guys said there was," Kyle Long said. "You cant lose your cool, and I lost my cool." Kyle Long got a personal foul and there were two other major penalties declined on the play, intentional grounding on McCown and a facemask call on fullback Tony Fiammetta. McCown passed for 352 yards and two touchdowns with an interception for Chicago, which had won four straight in the series. The Bears were dogged by penalties throughout, including a 62-yard punt return for touchdown by Devin Hester nullified by a holding call in the fourth quarter. Forte had 77 yards on 16 carries and has 6,178 with the Bears, passing Neal Anderson for second on the franchise career list behind Walter Payton, who had 16,726. Late scores by rookie backup Benny Cunningham and defensive end Robert Quinn, on a 31-yard return of McCowns fumble, provided the finishing touches for the Rams (5-6), who followed up a 30-point rout of Indianapolis in front of their first capacity crowd of the season. Many were clad in Bears orange. Cunningham rushed for 109 yards on 13 carries, most of it in the second half after Zac Stacy was sidelined with concussionlike symptoms. Cornerback Trumaine Johnson and guard Chris Williams also left following blows to the head. McCowns passing yardage total was the third-best of his career and most since 2005. The Rams stunned the Bears early with two big plays and two touchdowns. Austin reversed field on a pitchout for a 65-yard run that gave them points on their opening possession the first time all year. Stacys 1-yard run capitalized on a lost fumble by Matt Forte at the 7 for a 14-0 cushion with 12:36 to go in the first quarter. Jared Cook added a 6-yard catch from Clemens late in the first for a 21-7 cushion, offsetting Martellus Bennetts 7-yard reception from McCown. "It just seems like were knocking on the door, the door is a little cracked but we still havent put our foot in," Marshall said. "Its encouraging. Well see if well be able to get through that door next week. Its really close. 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