TORONTO - On the anniversary of Nelson Mandelas death, basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson says the late South African leaders message of peace could help heal the distrust and disconnect thats led to days of protests across the United States. .The three-time NBA MVP and co-owner of baseballs Los Angeles Dodgers, Johnson was in Toronto on Friday to attend The Giant of Africa, an event honouring Mandelas legacy.The Mandela event, held before the Toronto Raptors played the Cleveland Cavaliers, was hosted by Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri, the first African-born GM of a North American team.Among those in attendance were former NBA stars Dikembe Mutombo, Charles Barkley and Tracy McGrady, Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan, Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier, Amadou Fall, the NBAs vice-president of development in Africa, former Toronto Argonauts star Michael (Pinball) Clemons, and UN Goodwill Ambassador and 1999 Miss Universe winner Mpule Kwelagobe.Johnson said Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who became President of South Africa after spending 27 years in prison during the apartheid regime, was a master at bringing people together to facilitate change. The same approach, Johnson said, could help heal the racial tensions stoked by high-profile deaths in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City that have led to rioting, looting and clashes between protesters and police.Its going to be important that these meetings take place and we can really bring about serious change because the distrust and the disconnect is huge, Johnson said. Make no mistake about it, its bigger than weve seen on TV.Blacks dont think that theyre ever going to get a fair shake, Johnson said. They think every time the police is coming its going to be trouble, so weve got to really make sure that we can bring about serious change on everybodys side.In a halftime TSN interview with Johnson, Barkley said a year after Mandelas death the same issues were going on.And I wish we had somebody in the United States who could say Listen, obviously some bad things are happening. Weve got to find a way to make this thing work. I just thought about that right now, how ironic were celebrating Nelson Mandela, who was in prison for 27 years. And when he got out of prison, the majority of the blacks over there wanted to retaliate against the whites. And he said No. Lets make this thing work together.Its ironic with all the crap that we have going on in the United States today, we dont have a leader in the United States that can do that.Said Johnson: Charles just said it. And its the truth. And until we come up with that person, or multiple people, we will have the same issues.The mistrust that we have with law enforcement, the mistrust that we have with government, we need somehow to have a leader bring us together, say OK ,this is what we need to do, Johnson added. And then on the other side, come together with whites and say OK this is what we all need to do to make it better for blacks and whites.Asked what he hoped the night might accomplish, Ujiri said I dont know…The world is not in a good place, in my opinion, and (Mandela) makes it better. I think hes going to be bigger, even though hes passed. He was bigger than life.Ujiri organized the event, from which funds raised went to both the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Ujiris Giants of Africa basketball program.Growing up I always remember watching the news with my dad and when the news would come on I just remember the images of fire, fire, fire in Soweto and all the fights on the streets. Id sit there and Id see my dads reactions and thats when I really started to learn about Nelson Mandela, Ujiri said. You study him as you grow up and you read and as I got older, it started meaning more to me what hes done, and the sacrifices he made. In 2006, when I met him, I think it completely changed everything.From then on, hes just somebody that I idolized.Mandela died last Dec. 5 after a long illness. He was 95.— With files from The Canadian Press . While Minnesota takes aim at its eighth win of November, the Canadiens will try to post just their third victory in nine games this month. .Cowboys owner Jerry Jones seems to be leaning the fiscally responsible way.Let me put it like this: Its going to be a challenge, Jones said of re-signing both of Dallas biggest potential free agents.TORONTO - If you had just started watching Raptors basketball two days prior you wouldnt have recognized the team that was run out of their own building Friday night. Coming off their most encouraging victory of the season in Memphis Wednesday, the Raptors were out-muscled, out-worked and ultimately out-played against a Chicago Bulls team missing their star point guard. The Bulls - as they tend to do, with or without Derrick Rose - set the tone with their defence in the opening minutes. By the time the buzzer sounded 24 minutes into the contest, the Raptors booed off the floor by their home fans, Toronto had mustered just 31 points on 26 per cent shooting. "Theres nothing redeeming about tonight," said Dwane Casey, who later relented and cited DeMar DeRozan as the lone redeeming spot on the night. "Tonight was one of those stinkers that you have. We were mentally fried, physically fried but this is the NBA [and] theres no excuses. That wasnt us. Weve had stretches like that but not an entire game, the way we were running in mud." DeRozan, just 3-of-9 at the half, caught fire late in the third quarter. He scored 28 of his career-high matching 37 points in the second half, including 19 of the Raptors 21 points during a stretch that extended into the fourth quarter. He couldnt miss, knocking down off-balance jumpers, four three-pointers and crowning Joakim Noah on a tomahawk slam. If it was conceivable for the Raptors guard to bring his team back on his own at that point he may have, he certainly tried. But it was a little too little too late. "I just wanted to win," DeRozan said solemnly after his offensive outburst was wasted in a game that was lost early in the first half. "Thats the only thing. Just looking at the score, I knew it was going to be tough. Its just my passion, just trying to win." "He was the one redeeming spot tonight," Casey eventually acknowledged. "The way he came out in the second half, but its a 48 minute game. Youve ggot to start the game out that way. . " First Half Credit the Bulls and their defence for what turned out to be a nightmare of a first half for the Raptors offence. The same team that registered 11 assists and hit 7-of-9 three-point attempts in the first half of Wednesdays game against a quality opponent had just seven dimes and missed all seven shots from long range. The Raptors were routinely pushed around under the rim, as the Bulls front line of Noah, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng got the visitors off to a quick start on both ends of the floor. "You cant allow someone to come in your home and outwork you like that," Casey said. "Its hard to get to the basket on them," DeRozan admitted. "They all load in. Theyre a good defensive team so youve got to find counters and different ways to try and get to the basket." However, the game was lost on the other end, where the Raptors failed to match Chicagos defensive effort. With Rose on the sideline - ruled out prior to the game, nursing a sore right hamstring - the Bulls didnt miss a beat. They moved the ball with precision and shredded Toronto in the paint, outscoring them 26-18. "Mental frustration I think is more than anything else," Casey said. "We allowed them to do that. Youve got to make a team miss. We didnt play with the desperation weve played with this week." Regrouping With five of their next six games at home, the Raptors will benefit from more practice time, something they expect to take advantage of immediately as they return to the gym on Saturday to reflect on this loss. "Its a long season, its a marathon," Casey pointed out. "But its how you bounce back from these types of games that define you." "I dont want to get too overly alarmed because you have those. You have about five or six of those a year but we cant make it a habit." Toronto is back in action at the ACC Sunday afternoon when they host the Portland Trail Blazers. ' ' '