It is the early 90s and a winter night in Chicago. Kalen Ballage Jersey . Michael Jordan is at the free throw line. He is in the prime of his career yet with no one in front of him the greatest shooter in the history of man misses. Bounce, bounce, clank. He would go on to miss 1,444 other free throws throughout his magnificent NBA career. No one is perfect. Not even his Airness. It is now the final month of 2014. Soccer’s governing body have informed us that three men have been nominated for their illustrious individual honour, the Ballon d’Or. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Manuel Neuer. Messi and Ronaldo are on the three-man ballot for a fourth successive year. That is no surprise. The third name, however, certainly raises eyebrows. Not because he is German, after all it was clear many wanted a World Cup winner on the ballot, particularly after all the moaning and campaigning coming out of the mouth of UEFA President Michel Platini in recent weeks. The surprise comes from the fact Neuer is a goalkeeper. There is little doubt that the Bayern Munich stopper is the greatest at his position in the world and during the summer spectacle in Brazil his name got more press when he in particular performed brilliantly in the game against Algeria, allowing his backline to play higher up the pitch and effectively played as a sweeper at the edge of his box. It was the kind of performance that a whole chapter of a book on the position needed and the 28-year-old is certainly the poster child for a whole new crop of goalkeepers who are technically superior to most of those who played the previous generation. Neuer is the best goalkeeper on the best national team and arguably the best club team in the world. There are plenty of reasons to explain why he is great at what he does and how he deserves the credit. Giving him the Ballon d’Or is not one of them. Platini will have slept soundly in his bed after finding out who the nominees were but the inclusion of Neuer on the ballot just puts a massive exclamation mark on the argument against a German coming in the top three, no matter which position. Germany was a marvelous team in Brazil. They peaked at the right time, overcame obstacles that came their way, had a proven international goalscorer up front, a star man out wide (when not asked to play up front) who continued to score goals at the World Cup, a brilliant trio of central midfielders and some legitimate world class defenders. None of which were good enough to be classed as a top three player in the game in 2014 and that is fine; the sport is defined by collective balance, relationships on the field and combinations that tick, a true team game. The inclusion of Neuer will certainly satisfy Platini and his cronies while ensuring FIFA’s grandest stage of all does indeed get some kind of recognition but that should be all it does. Don’t bet on it. This is FIFA after all. They have opened up a window of opportunity for the contrarian and in a world where people are trying to stand out and be different expect the Neuer campaign to pick up significant steam. Votes, of course, have already been counted and the top three nominees are simply just the top three vote getters but it was no coincidence that Platini’s mouth was wide open throughout the voting process. Now the votes have been cast more people will speak out. It hasn’t even been a day since the announcement and the Internet is flooded with journalists claiming the goalkeeper should win the award. In an incredibly flawed voting process it is easy to point fingers at the national team captains’ picks and many over the years have been hilarious. I am still convinced Xavi got robbed of the award in 2010 because many people wrote Xabi Alonso by mistake. Coaches are not much better. Last year the Laos head coach didn’t bother putting Messi on his ballot (he wasn’t the only one) and instead picked Gareth Bale as the number one player in the world. Last season, though, we should not forget that professional writers who are paid to cover this sport handed more first place votes to Franck Ribery than Ronaldo or Messi. And it wasn’t even close with the Frenchman getting 80 first place votes compared to Ronaldo’s 48 and Messi’s 31. Why? Many said it was because he was the best player on the best team who won the biggest prize of the year, the Champions League. Sound familiar? It is easy to push this entire debate aside and act like it doesn’t matter. I for one have written that in the past and continue to feel that way but it is not my opinion that matters and it is clear that clubs and players very much care about this individual award in a team sport. The more Platini talked last week the angrier Real Madrid got and in the end they were forced to issue a statement, one they will hope influenced some late voters. Firstly, we are surprised at the repeated comments regarding his [Platini’s] personal preferences over the choice of winner of the Ballon dOr, particularly given that he is the head of European footballs principal body, where our understanding is that the strictest impartiality should prevail. Secondly, the Ballon dOr is an individual rather than collective prize which is awarded annually to the best player in the world, and we believe that, in order to maintain its prestige, those who participate in the vote should take into account exclusively the individual professional achievements of the players. Finally, we believe that Cristiano Ronaldo has without doubt had his best ever professional year individually and he is deserving of the Ballon dOr. Without doubt. Two words placed inside a 120-word statement that are so poignant. Ronaldo has had some incredible years as a professional but it is this year that his club believes has been his best by some margin. It is easy to say they would say that, but it is far harder to argue against their case. We are in an era where we are all so fortunate to be able to watch closely two of the greatest players in the history of the game. Messi has won this award four times now but it is the two-time winner Ronaldo who has been marginally the better player for the best part of three years. He should have won it in 2012, he did win it in 2013 and he should win it again in 2014. He and Messi are once in a lifetime talents, only this generation has been gifted with two of them at the same time. Golf waited years for a Tiger Woods and may never fill the void once he has gone, and the NBA will never see anyone come close to another Michael Jordan. In a sport played by millions there is a pantheon of current players gathered in the penthouse and only two men should be allowed in. The fact that one is slightly better than the other for a certain year speaks to just how incredible their performances are every single week. If the FIFA Ballon d’Or really needs to be significant amongst those in the game the very least we need to ensure it does is tell the story to those who will follow us on this earth about just how good these two footballers were. What are we doing if we pass the story on to the future that someone else, who played as a goalkeeper, was the best footballer on the planet in 2014? It shouldn’t be that difficult. Those who have been given a vote by FIFA stand on the free throw line and it should be as easy as bounce, bounce, swish. But don’t count on it. Even the greatest missed sometimes. And if these guys miss on this, they’ll never fully appreciate true greatness delivered to us every week by two very special footballers. Robert Quinn Jersey . - Connor Brown and Dane Fox both scored in regulation and in the shootout, as the Erie Otters extended their win streak to 10 games by defeating the London Knights 4-3 on Saturday in Ontario Hockey League action. Jerome Baker Jersey . Cleveland has won the first two of this set and has won six straight games since losing back-to-back tilts to open the year. Seattle, on the other hand, has now lost six in a row following consecutive wins to kick off its campaign. http://www.officialauthenticdolphinsshop.com/authentic-kalen-ballage-jersey.html . Its like being on Broadway, everything you do matters. Id want to be good though! I couldnt play here if I wasnt very good. #83217388 / gettyimages.TORONTO - Wisely, the Raptors downplayed the importance of an early-season litmus test ahead of Thursdays nationally televised contest with the new and improved Chicago Bulls. I would say yes, admitted Dwane Casey, asked if the Bulls would be their best opponent so far, following morning shoot-around. I would say they are. Just because Derrick Rose is an all-star, Pau Gasol is an all-star, just the amount of talent they have accumulated. Weve got to come out and play our game for 48 minutes. This game doesnt make or break your season, win or lose [but] weve got to come out and establish the way we are going to play. They did for 24 minutes. Barely a second more. Thats one game in the marathon, Casey continued to stress moments after the buzzer sounded on Torontos 100-93 loss. If we had won it, it wouldnt have made [our season]. We lost it and it doesnt break our season. So we learn from it [and] we move on. Theres a lot to learn out of this game, the type of game that you have to play to play at that level. In the end, it turned out to be more of a lesson than a test. To compete with the big boys, the elite teams in the NBA - to which Chicago is among - they cant live like this. You cant lose focus for even a few minutes, let alone an entire quarter. Leading by seven at intermission, and with the US spotlight focused on them, the Raptors looked like a team out of Chicagos league in the third quarter. Going into the game they had not scored fewer than 20 points in any single quarter this season. On Thursday, the Bulls bested them 35-14 in the third, effectively ending the game 12 minutes before it became official. We withstood their punches in the first half but in the third quarter they got us on our heels and we stayed on our heels, Casey said. You know thats the kind of game youre going to have against them. Its a hard game to officiate and its a hard game to play but youve got to make a muscle and fight through the physicality, the bumps, the grind. And we didnt meet that challenge in the third quarter. Its a four-quarter game and that third quarter did us in. The Raptors offence - crisp in the second frame when they shot 55 per cent - went dormant in the third. Chicagos trademark physicality forced Toronto out of its comfort zone. They shot just 29 per cent while the Bulls, led by the veteran savvy of Gasol, hit 12 of their 18 attempts from the field. I think we just didnt play our game from start to finish, said Kyle Lowry, who had 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, pacing Toronto in all three categories. We played our game in spurts tonight. Not surprisingly, Lowry put thee team on his shoulders in the fourth, scoring eight points and cutting the deficit - once 18 - to five in the closing minutes. Josh Sitton Dolphins Jersey. But it was too late. The Bulls got 20 or more from three starters. Gasol was unstoppable in a throw-back performance, pouring in 27 points on 19 shots to go along with 11 rebounds. Jimmy Butler scored 21 and held DeMar DeRozan to 10 points on 3-of-17 shooting, another frustrating evening for the Raptors guard. And Rose looked like his old self, primarily in the second half, where he scored 13 of his 20 points before exiting late in the game with a hamstring injury. With the game airing on TNT - the first time theyve hosted a Thursday contest on the network since 2002 - the Raptors were over-matched. They suffered their first home loss of the campaign and were knocked out of first place in the Eastern Conference by a Bulls team that now shares their record at 7-2. Thats a good experience for us, said Jonas Valanciunas, who played less than five minutes in the second half, struggling defensively against Gasol, after getting off to a strong start. Were coming off the win streak so thats good. Like a cold shower for us. They made a lot of tough shots. They played good tonight and we werent ready. DeRozan continues to climb Raps scoring list. It was a moment DeRozan had been looking forward to, mostly because he was tired of hearing about it. After narrowly missing the milestone in a frustrating outing against the Magic Tuesday, he wasted little time on Thursday. Fittingly, DeRozan knocked down a mid-range jumper - his bread and butter - over college teammate Taj Gibson nine minutes into the game to pass maligned forward Andrea Bargnani for third on the teams all-time scoring list, having appeared in 41 fewer games with Toronto. DeRozan had already passed Morris Peterson earlier this month in Boston. Now, hes one step closer to cementing his Raptors legacy. Only Chris Bosh and Vince Carter, first and second respectively, have scored more points in a Raptors uniform. Even at his current pace, DeRozan is still at least a couple seasons away from catching Carter and Bosh, his former teammate. Milestone aside, it was another evening to forget for the Raptors All-Star guard. He has made just seven of his last 32 shots over Torontos last two games. I mean, its fine, he said after Thursdays loss. Im not worried about it at all. These games, I understand that theyre going to happen. Ive just got to learn from it. If this was two years ago Id think it was the end of the world, but were only [nine] games in. Id rather have them games now than later on. Cheap Jerseys China NFL Jerseys China NFL Jerseys Wholesale Discount Basketball Jerseys Cheap NHL Jerseys Authentic Cheap Baseball Jerseys Free Shipping Cheapest College Jerseys Sale Cheap Football Jerseys China Nike NFL Jerseys Canada Wholesale NHL Jerseys From China MLB Jerseys Outlet Canada Wholesale NBA Jerseys Canada Store Cheap Soccer Jerseys China Cheap Authentic Jerseys Canada ' ' '