LOS ANGELES -- Canadian NBA star Steve Nash praised league commissioner Adam Silver for his decisive response to the controversy involving Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. [url=http://www.airmaxbelgie.be/]Nike Air Max Belgie[/url] . Sterling was banned for life and fined US$2.5 million by the NBA on Tuesday for racist comments the league says he made in a recorded conversation. Nash, who plays for the rival L.A. Lakers, spoke as a representative of current NBA players at a press conference assembled by Sacramento mayor and National Basketball Players Association adviser Kevin Johnson. Nash, from Victoria, thanked Silver for "a quick, unequivocal and concise decision made today on behalf of everyone involved in this situation. "It begs the bigger question: if racism is a learned behaviour, how long will it go on for," Nash continued. "How long will people be taught to be bigoted, to discriminate and to instill hatred in our communities? "Lets hope this is an opportunity for all of us ... to help educate and take one step further to eradicating racism in our communities." The 40-year-old Nash is a two-time NBA MVP and is the general manager of Canadas national basketball program. [url=http://www.airmaxbelgie.be/]Goedkope Nike Air Max[/url] . Canada wasnt in the game from the outset. Head coach Dan Church left Calgary in the morning without addressing the players. He told The Canadian Press he felt the organization lacked confidence in his ability to defend the Olympic gold medal in February. [url=http://www.airmaxbelgie.be/]Nike Air Max Belgie Kopen[/url] .com) - Generally you want to be the guy who replaces the guy who replaced the legend. [url=http://www.airmaxbelgie.be/]http://www.airmaxbelgie.be/[/url] .com) - James Harden had 32 points, including a tying layup late in regulation, and the Houston Rockets scored eight of their 13 points in overtime at the foul line to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 117-111 on Friday night.MINSK, Belarus -- Three-thousand kilometres from where he grew up in Toronto, Geoff Platt couldnt have felt more at home. Moments after scoring and setting off another wild celebration at Minsk arena, Platt leapt into the arms of Belarusian captain Alexei Kalyuzhny. Not long after, fans were chanting his name. "Its an emotion that Im not sure Ive achieved ever in my career, just because of the atmosphere and the electricity in the building," Platt said. "It just runs through your veins and grabs a hold of you." Along with goaltender Kevin Lalande, Platt is one of two Canadian-born players representing host Belarus at the world hockey championship and playing major roles in what might be the best international showing in the countrys history. Led by Canadian-born coach Glen Hanlon, Belarus is in the quarter-finals for just the third time and the first since 2009. This is the biggest event Belarus has ever hosted, so Minsk has been partying for two weeks. And this team is giving locals another reason to celebrate. "You have to understand the magnitude (of) what this means to them," Hanlon said. "Its bigger than just a game. This is their chance to show everybody." By show everybody, Hanlon means the city, which is decked out in IIHF signs welcoming the world and reminding them in the form of giant bison mascots that hockey is happening here. Inside the 15,000-seat Minsk Arena, home of the KHLs Dynamo Minsk, good hockey has been happening for Belarus. Lalande, a native of Ottawa who plays for Dynamo and gained citizenship, has been stellar and Platt has added timely offence. But the Canadian imports want the credit to go to leading scorers Mikhail Grabovski and Sergei Kostitsyn. "Players are playing for this symbol, and it means a lot more to them to represent their country than probably a National Hockey League team or any club team around the world," Platt said, pointing to the Belarusian coat of arms on his chest. "Youre seeing that with Sergei Kostitsyn, Mikhail Grabovski just really taking their game to a level Im sure theyve almost never played at." Grabovski beamed with pride when talking about what this tournament means to him. Hes showing that to Hanlon, who first coached him as a 21-year-old at the world championships in Vienna in 2005. The Grabovski at this tournament is an other-worldly player. "I dont even look at Mikhail anymore because I know hes going to play great," Hanlon said. "I never get tired of saying, Good game, Mikhail." Hanlon is limited in what he can say to some of his players because of the language barrier. He understands Russian and Belarusian and is trying to learn to speak both languages, even though he doesnt have to. The former Washington Capitals coach and longtime NHL goaltender, whos in his second stint as coach of the Belarusian national team, has someone with him at almost all times who speaks English. At his news conferences with local media, the Brandon, Man., native answers in English, occasionally splicing in Belarusian words and pausing to let the interpreter next to him do his work. "Ive taken lessons, Ive done all of it," Hanlon said. "I have a better handle on it. Ive gone home here after every friendly tournament, so I take all my books, put them in my backpack like the college student on spring break and I end up dealing with my 12-year-old son and my wife and I sort of break away from it for a couple weeks." Hanlons wife and son still live in Vancouver, and because shes a teacher and hes a skier and hockey player they dont accompany him to Europe. "Hed rather play his own hockey than watch me coach," Hanlon said. Everyone in Belarus is watching Hanlon coach with keen interest. In Minsk, televisions all over the city have tournament games on, whether Belarus is playing or not. Inside Minsk Arena, one section is full of fans jumping up and down and doing chants normally reserved for soccer matches. Others whistle and fill the building with the kind of noise Lalande and Platt have no comparison for and Hanlon can only relate to the old Chicago Stadium. "When you go into somewhere like Beell Centre or Madison Square Garden, its pretty loud but it dies off after a while," Hanlon said. [url=http://www.airmaxbelgie.be/]Nike Air Max Outlet Belgie[/url]. "Here its sustained for the whole 2 1/2 hours of the game. Im not kidding: You cant hear a word down there. Im screaming and Im yelling at my players whos up and everything. "From before the game starts till after its over, its like a festival." Its a festival thats special to the Belarusian players, whether theyre from Novopolotsk in the north like Dmitry Korobov, or Ontario like Lalande and Platt. How they got here wasnt a matter of having Belarusian ancestry. Anyone who plays for Dynamo Minsk for two seasons is eligible for citizenship. "I got to keep my Canadian citizenship, so there wasnt really any downside," said Lalande, who began the tournament as a backup but has played too well for Hanlon not to start him. "At first it just made the travelling a lot easier in Russia, I didnt need a visa and saved a couple pages in my Canadian passport. But when Glen was named the head coach, we had a couple conversations together. He made it clear from the start that he wanted me to be a part of this." "Whether Id play or not he didnt know, but hes been very supportive. I owe everything to him for this chance." Lalande and Platt each praised the local players for accepting them while also noting theres a comfort level in having each other and an English-speaking coach around for this run. But Hanlon, who previously coached the Slovak national team, learned from his season with Jokerit in Finland that having Canadians on his team isnt easy. "Being an import coach you want to go out of your way so that the Canadians are respected," he said. "The last thing you want to do is look like youre favouring them." "So you want them to work for everything that they get, and I try to keep my space from them. I dont want to give anybody any reason to think that these players are going to get special treatment from me." No special treatment, but this experience has been special for Platt and Lalande, even though theyre not playing for their home country. Platt, who played 46 NHL games for the Columbus Blue Jackets and Anaheim Ducks, won a gold medal for Canada at the under-18 world championships in 2003. Platt hasnt represented Canada since and has moved on. "Not putting on the Canadian jersey now is just a chapter that sits in the past in my career," the 28-year-old said. "I was very fortunate to wear the Canadian jersey and win a gold medal at the under-18 level, and now this is a realistic goal to be playing with Belarus and to be competing at this level. Its really fun when were successful." Belarus was plenty successful in the preliminary round, going 4-3 to finish third in its group, ahead of Finland, Switzerland and Latvia and set up a quarter-final game against Sweden on Thursday night. Even if Sweden ends Belaruss run, the host teams performance wont be forgotten any time soon. When a victory over Latvia clinched a spot in the quarter-finals, Platt called it a "very rare opportunity for Belarusian ice hockey" that his teammates capitalized on. Lalande couldnt come up with words to describe his emotions. "We did it for ourselves because we believed," Lalande said, crediting fans who made a real impact on the team. "I think all of the Minsk and the whole countrys behind us right now. ... Were playing for us and were playing for them and its a tremendous feeling to be able to win in this fashion for them." Thats Hanlons priority, too. More than six years after being fired by the Capitals on U.S. Thanksgiving Day, he has no plans to return to coaching in the NHL and has invested a lot of time and energy on European hockey. Hanlon still keeps track of whats going on in North America and watches games because hes interested, but now the 57-year-old also checks on scores from leagues around Europe. Hes still a Canadian citizen, but the prospect of playing his native country doesnt mean anything to him anymore. "Whats special for me is winning for Belarus," Hanlon said. "Thats whats special." 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