If there's one common link between Miami Heat star LeBron James and New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, it's that both athletes use the vicious "Haterade" spewed at them by fans and the media as motivation to excel.
After falling short in appearances in two NBA Finals in the first eight years of his career, the "LeBron bashers" were out in full force, claiming that James would never become a champ.
But with one historic postseason run, James, who had been called "overrated", "overhyped" and "disloyal" for turning his back on the Cleveland Cavaliers, melted his critics' pens by leading the Miami Heat to a championship in 2012.
The moral of the story is to always dust yourself off when you fail, and keep working hard until your dreams are fulfilled.
Perhaps with that theme in mind, James appears to see a little bit of himself in Tebow. Both men use the harsh words of their doubters as fuel to succeed.
The Miami Heat standout clearly has more natural, raw ability than Tebow, but he sees the hard work, class, professionalism and determination put in by the new Jets quarterback.
Both men get constantly bashed for no real reason except jealousy by their peers of their fame and fortune, and it seems that is why James stuck up for Tebow when former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Merril Hoge ripped into the quarterback during a strongly-worded rant in 2011.
Hoge said in his rant that "[Tebow] is awful as far as accuracy goes and what's kind of even more disturbing, he's probably worse moving and running around with the football and throwing than he is from the pocket. Can you get better there? A little bit. If everything is perfect, the pocket, your feet are good, all your fundamentals come into place, the coverage is what you want it, you can be successful. But that doesn't happen at the National Football League. Rarely does that happen."
James used his Twitter handle to defend Tebow while chiding Hoge. "Guys get on that TV and act like they was all WORLD when they played," James said of Hoge. "How bout encouraging him and wishing him the best instead of hating!!"
I'm with James on this one. All the hateful words only work to inspire him and Tebow to keep working hard. One of my favorite Tebow commercials is his FRS ad where he uses the words of his doubters as motivation.
"They said I couldn't get a D-I scholarship," Tebow says in the commercial. "'You can't make it. You're not good enough. You're not skilled enough.' They said 'I couldn't win a Heisman. They said 'I couldn't win a National Championship. They said I wouldn't be a first-round draft pick. They said I couldn't play in the league. I appreciate that."
Now that James finally won a championship, the focus turns to Tebow, who no one gives much of a chance to of leading an NFL team to a Super Bowl victory.
If Tebow ever does get it done, that's the stuff dreams are made of. He's the ultimate underdog, which is why he has such a large fan base.
Whether or not he ever does win a Super Bowl, it doesn't take away from the important lesson I learned from James and Tebow. Pick yourself up after failure, keep working hard, continue to climb and pursue your dreams.