TORONTO - Many wonder why the Raptors would even bother celebrating their modest 20-year history. Asics Shoes Online Australia . Its a reasonable thing to ponder. Certainly, there hasnt been much to get excited about after two decades of basketball in Canada. In many ways the manufactured nostalgia has served as a reminder. Paying homage to glorified role players of the past, former staffers, as theyve done and will continue to do throughout their anniversary campaign - the bar has been set low. But to fully appreciate what makes the Raptors existence worth commending consider their most recent opponents, the league-leading Memphis Grizzlies - a franchise that shares an origin story with Toronto, one that barely made it a half decade in Vancouver before relocating to US. And then theres their eldest player, Vince Carter - the single most important figure in Raptors history and one of the primary reasons why Canadas lone basketball club is even around to celebrate its 20th birthday. Midway through Wednesdays first quarter, nearly 10 years after their messy breakup played out, the Raptors took the first step in repairing a fractured relationship with their greatest player, making the controversial decision to publicly express their gratitude on the way to an emotional 96-92 comeback win. Sure enough, most in attendance would follow suit. During the games first timeout, a video tribute with Carters Raptor highlights played on the big screen hanging above centre court at the ACC. Carter had said he learned of the Raptors intentions to honour him the day prior and, like the rest of us, he had no idea what to expect. Im going to enjoy the moment regardless, Carter had said before the game - he had been greeted with boos in each of his first 16 visits to the ACC (including playoffs) since being traded. [Im going to] block that out, because its just a special moment that you probably wont get again. Im going to enjoy it. Moments after the montage began, the sellout crowd - still filing in at the time - rose to their feet. If there were boos they were drowned out by an overwhelmingly positive ovation. Carter stood and watched from the visiting bench. He used his warm-up shirt to wipe the tears running down his face as he pointed to his heart and waved to the fans in appreciation. It was a great feeling, said the 37-year-old, who played in 403 games over six and a half seasons with the Raptors. I couldnt write it any better. Im extremely thankful for it. They asked me earlier how you would feel, how you would react and you cant prepare for that, whether that was a surprise or you knew it was coming. Its just an amazing feeling, amazing just to be in the moment and to see it, and to kind of relive it as it was happening. You see all the stuff and you see all the people that you played with and as each play was happening, I can remember all that stuff as if it was yesterday. It was awesome. Torontos current players were among those standing for Carter. It was dope, DeMar DeRozan said. It was definitely amazing because all of us here watched everything Vince did here in Toronto, especially myself with Vince being one of my favourite players of all-time. He deserved it, the Raptors guard continued. He deserves everything, honestly, because he was the one who I think pioneered the whole thing with the Toronto Raptors. So you have to give him credit for everything he brought to the city. He made me a fan at an early age. DeRozan was not blowing smoke. He, like many of his teammates and the leagues young players - both from Canada and the United States - grew up watching Carter, and by extension, the Raptors. At the most crucial point in their existence, with both Canadian franchises reaching a crossroads, Carter hit the NBA by storm and became the hottest ticket in the association. The Raptors were coming off a 16-win season and, like the team in Vancouver - winners of 19 games that same year - their future was hardly stable. Isiah Thomas, the clubs first general manager and chief ambassador, had left and Damon Stoudamire, their first star, was next out the door. Then Carter was acquired on draft night and their fortunes turned in a hurry. He was as marketable as he was good. The team began to win and suddenly the NBA was paying attention. The Maple Leafs would buy the Raptors and open the Air Canada Centre, their shared home, on Feb. 21, 1999. Theres a banner hanging in the rafters of the building to commemorate that night. Its the first thing Carter looks for as he steps onto the court as a visitor. Its weird, he said Wednesday morning. They move this flag every time, so I struggle finding it. But when I walk in here and see February 20th, 1999 (the night the Leafs opened the building), thats the first thing I think of, is when this building opened. I just remember getting the opportunity to make history, making the first shot. So thats one of the things I think of and you cant take that away. Fittingly, they played the Grizzlies that night. Carter, just eight games into his NBA career, scored 27 points on just 16 shots, grabbing six rebounds and adding five assists with four steals. Toronto won by 15. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies continued to lose. Plagued by poor management, the NBAs restrictive rules for new franchises and, most importantly, the lack of a true star, they played out their final years in Vancouver before leaving for Memphis. If not for Carter, could the Raptors have shared a similar fate? Well never know, hence the cause for celebration. 20 years after entering the league together, both franchises are finally on solid footing, though they have taken different paths to get there. Attendance in Memphis has been rising in recent years as the Grizzlies have qualified for the playoffs in four straight seasons. Theyre off to their best start ever, sitting atop the Western Conference with the leagues best record. On Wednesday, Toronto handed them their second loss of the campaign. With a 9-2 record, the Raptors lead the East and finally, their fans have a semblance of closure. Finally, theres legitimate cause for optimism and excitement in a city that has been haunted by the past. Carter was still booed every time he touched the ball as if to say, well forgive, but we dont forget. But for just a minute, the first since he turned his back on the franchise he once saved, the past didnt seem so bad. Without it, the future wouldnt look so bright. Asics Shoes Sale Australia ." Argos general manager Jim Barker uttered those words during an interview with TSN 1050 radio just prior to the CFLs annual free agent frenzy. Asics Shoes Australia Cheap . The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists detailed in a report how Russian and international journalists have been harassed and prevented from covering sensitive stories in Sochi such as the abuse of migrant workers and environmental issues. http://www.cheapaustraliaasics.com/ .com) - The Atlanta Hawks have stepped up to every challenge during their 14-game winning streak and will face another daunting task Friday with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder in town.VANCOUVER - Sophie Schmidt thought she was going to send the Canadian fans home happy on Tuesday night.The reigning Womens World Cup champions had other ideas.Second-half substitute Aya Sameshima scored in stoppage time after Schmidt had tied things late as Japan defeated Canada 3-2 in a wild international womens soccer friendly.I was pumped. We fought really hard to get back. I thought that we chased them, put a lot of pressure on them, said Schmidt. Things were going our way, we were pressing them. Its just an unfortunate thing that happened. I think fatigue set in ... and a simple mistake.Sameshima jumped on ill-advised backpass by Canadas Allysha Chapman that handcuffed teammate Emily Zurrer before moving in alone and beating goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe.The deflating goal came moments after Schmidt brought her team level with her second of the night.Bittersweet. Disappointed with what happened at the end there, but cant fault the performance of these Canadian women, said head coach John Herdman. Every time that we ask them to pull on the red shirt I know what were going to get. Its 100 per cent and they aim to make their country proud just through their effort to start with.Canada, which also lost 3-0 to Japan in Edmonton on Saturday, is currently ranked eighth by FIFA as it continues preparations ahead of hosting the Womens World Cup next summer.Talk about a roller-coaster, said Canadian captain Christine Sinclair. Just very proud of our team to play two very good games against one of the best teams in the world. Realistically we should have come away with a tie tonight.Herdman is trying new tactics and younger players in the buildup to the tournament, including 16-year-old Jessie Fleming in midfield and 18-year-old Kadeisha Buchanan in defence.In terms of the performance I can be proud of what theyve done, said Herdman. Eight months out from a World Cup, were going to be there fighting. You can see that. This team isnt going to be too far away with all the preparation we do.On this night, however, there were some growing pains.Yuki Ogimi, like Sameshima a sub in the second half, gave No. 3 Japan a 2-1 lead in the 76th minute after pouncing on a Buchanan error and lobbing a shot up and over a helpless Labbe to break a 1-1 tie.We walk away discouraged that we lost, said Schmidt. Its a little bit disheartening because you want to win in Canada in front of your fans, give them something to be excited about. But theres a lot of good things we walk away with.Down 1-0 in the second half, Canada tied things in the 58th minute when Schmidt rifled a shot off a corner kick that Japanese goalkeeper Miho Fukumoto completely whiffed on moments afterr Fleming was denied in front of goal. Asics Shoes Australia Sale. The effort cancelled out a stunning volley from Asana Nagasato after another corner that gave the visitors a 1-0 lead in the 33rd minute. Schmidt could only clear the ball as far as Nagasato at the edge of the penalty area, and she pounded a shot off the crossbar and in past Labbe.The game was played on the turf at B.C. Place Stadium, which will host the final of next summers Womens World Cup. Herdman made five changes from Saturdays lineup, including Labbe getting a start ahead of Erin McLeod.Japanese head coach Norio Sasaki — whose team is also the Olympic silver medallists — made nine changes to his starting 11, including all three goal scorers from Saturday.Outside of Sinclair, finding goals has been a consistent problem for Canada and a lot of early chances went begging against the Japanese. Fleming moved in on a 2-on-1 break in the seventh minute, but decided on an aerial pass that failed to connect when a better option might have been to put a shot on target.Sinclair then had an effort blocked in 16th minute and another headed chance in the 26th. Fleming tried her luck again in the 28th minute, but her shot was thwarted and Adriana Leon missed on the follow up.The first 15 minutes we should have been two up. We had two great chances, said Herdman. I thought we started the game brighter than we did the other day. We got caught in their quality in the first 10 minutes in Edmonton. That really set the tone for the game. I thought we started brightly.Leon then missed another grade-A chance from 10 yards out at the end of the half after taking a pass from Sinclair.Canada returned to B.C. Place for the first time since a 2-1 defeat to No. 2 Germany in June that saw the visitors waste a number of opportunities in a game that wasnt nearly as close as the scoreline suggested.Weve definitely progressed, said Sinclair. Were now expecting results against these teams, which is exciting.Note: Ogimi also scored for Japan in Edmonton. ... Canadian midfielder Diana Matheson, who scored the goal in Canadas 1-0 Olympic bronze-medal victory against France two years ago, suffered a knee injury Saturday and was not available for the game. ... A group of elite female players has filed a human rights complaint that FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association are discriminating against women by making them play on artificial turf at the Womens World Cup when the mens World Cup is held on natural grass. There are no Canadian players named to avoid conflicts with the CSA, which doubles as the tournaments national organizing committee. ... Attendance was 14,328.___Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter ' ' '