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Tyler Johnson and Ronnie Lott: their hidden connection for a championship

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While the Heat struggled at the charity stripe versus the Nets, Tyler went a perfect 8 for 8.

NBA: Preseason-Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Paul George remains the only NBA All-Star out of the California State University, Fresno. During Tyler Johnson's tenure as part of the Fresno State Bulldogs, his teammate Marvelle Harris received star treatment from the local media. The snubs didn't matter to Johnson. When Miami Heat‘s Tyler Johnson sets his mind on achieving a goal, he's an unstoppable force.

Realizing his next step to reach a higher level meant creating a championship support group, he turned to a former high school classmate, Ronnie Lott’s daughter, Hailey Louise Lott.

The Palm Beach Post quotes Johnson as saying,

“I’ve been doing a lot of mental training, a lot of meditation, a lot of things that seem like corny almost, but they really help to slow the game down and have a better understanding for what’s going on in the game. I think that’s probably the biggest thing I’ve been needing — the mental aspect of the game.”

“I think physically I have the tools to be a really good player in this league. It’s just mentally staying with it. It’s such a long season. There’s going to be so many ups and downs, but all the great players talk about having that even-keel, not getting too high or too low on themselves. It’s something I’ve been working on.”

Since being separated from his undefeated MMA soulmate, James Johnson, Tyler found another decorated role model in a 4-time Superbowl champion, Ronnie Lott.

While other players find their passion in social media, video games, or being celebrities, Tyler hangs with, and is influenced by, the best of the best in professional sports. The results from mental training spoke for themselves when Johnson calmly drained 8 of 8 free throw attempts versus the Brooklyn Nets.

Ronnie Lott was not a professional basketball player, but he had the heart of a champion during his playing days with Joe Montana. Lott famously amputated his left pinkie finger so as not miss playing time. That mentality could explain Tyler staying toothless as a reminder of what it takes to win in professional sports.

Pat Riley's nemesis Phil Jackson, aka the Zen master, used meditation as standard operating procedure for years as a head coach to help instill the championship mentality of staying focused under all conditions. Having Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant on his teams also helped.

Since Udonis Haslem remains the only Miami Heat player in the locker room with championship experience, Tyler Johnson seeks to surround himself with other certified champions. He can't do much better than spending time with the Ronnie Lott family.