The 2010-11 champions have all been examples of character rewarded. That and each of the links below shows how a team was taken through the fire and made stronger for it.
Now the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Bruins have won titles because they had more character than their opponents. They had character of their own but what their opponents lacked was even more stark:
While their talent was better than anyone in the Western Conference, the Vancouver Canucks were immature (see the following link to more on their short-comings). As their roster losses narrow the gap with their closest 2011-12 competition, they will find winning a Cup harder, not easier.
But what ails the Canucks is not as severe as what is lacking in the Miami Heat.
And I am not even referring to the classless mocking of Dirk Nowitzki's illness. Likewise, I am not talking about their failure to close a game in which they had a 15-point, fourth-quarter lead.
I am talking about how they were assembled specifically to win a title through stock-piling stars. Real champions do not want to take the easy road. When those who do face adversity, they will not be able to rise above those who face challenges.
After spending an hour feeding his ego with his infamous and self-aggrandizing television program, The Decision, LeBron James let us all in on his plan to “take my talents to South Beach.” He thought by adding himself to Dwyane (how is that not pronounced Dwy-ane?) Wade and Chris Bosh, they could take a shortcut to a title.
That is why James folded in the clutch. Considering his past response to being shown up, perhaps he simply did not want to risk trying.
After telling his teammates that Game 4 was a must-win game, he did not want the ball in the fourth quarter. After tweeting “It's now or never,” he had more turnovers than points when his team needed him most.
This time he responded by pointing out that his life is better than that of his critics. These fans pay your salary because the money you make is helped by those who root both for and against you.
Rubbing it in their face that your life is better than theirs just makes you a bad person. Even if you kept it to yourself, dwelling on it makes you a bad competitor.
You are not a winner because your life is good and that is what you care about more than being a champion. Most of those fans would sacrifice almost anything to get the opportunities you have, but they were not blessed with arguably the most athletic body in the history of mankind.
For my part—one of the fans rooting against you—I once played a sandlot football game with a pinky so injured I still cannot straighten it nearly 20 years later. By contrast, you favoured your bad elbow that never needed surgery or rehab so badly in last year's playoffs that your opponents knew you were not a threat.
Cleveland and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert certainly overreacted to The Decision. Considering their suffering you publicly enjoyed even though they rooted for you and paid your salary, his statement that the Cavaliers will win a title before you do seems absurd.
But he is right that there is no shortcut. If the seasons that began in 2010 have taught us anything, it is that even in this era of athletes suffering from entitlement, there will always be someone with almost as much talent able to keep those lacking in maturity and talent from becoming champions.
Grow up and maybe people will stop rooting against you.