Ronnie Lott appreciates the Warriors as only a mega-champion can

49ers great, on a potential Golden State three-peat: 'That doesn't happen. We tried. Got close.'

Ronnie Lott, a member of the advisory committee for the Bay Area Host Committee for the 2019 College Football Playoff National Championship is recognized before the San Francisco 49ers game against the Detroit Lions at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Ronnie Lott watched the Warriors punch their ticket to the NBA Finals on Monday. His appreciation for that triumphant moment came from a place that most of us will never visit.

See, Lott was one of the architects and caretakers of the 49ers dynasty. His 49ers won four Super Bowls in nine years. The Warriors are gunning for their fourth NBA title in five years. Not to mention a three-peat.

“That doesn’t happen,” said Lott during an appearance on KNBR’s “Tolbert & Lund” show. “We tried. Got close. But that is a hard, hard journey.”

Lott told the KNBR audience that he was “a big Celtics fan” as a kid. Perhaps that’s when his fascination for mega-champions was cultivated.

“I saw some great teams over the years,” he said. “The Lakers. The Bulls. They did all the right things, all the things you have to do to win.”

He said that on Monday, “I was sitting there going, ‘These guys are good. They’re just freaking good,’ To go five times?”

Little-known fact: Lott had a cameo with the USC basketball team in the 1979-80 season. He scored four points and was called for 10 fouls. Sounds about right, the way he played safety.

Back to talk of dynasties. Once upon a century, UCLA basketball coach John Wooden put together his pyramid of success comprised of overarching themes (Industriousness, Team Spirit) as well as specific traits. On top of that he had a wellspring of hoops homilies: “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

Lott’s thoughts on enduring champions are more visceral. For him, winning was a mindset. It was mastery of the moment.

Asked about the advantage of having been in a big spot before, Lott answered:

“You start to get certain things done that nobody else can get done. You find yourselves in those moments where a lot of people fall apart. There are winners and losers for a lot of reasons. A lot of times you lose because you don’t know how to deal with the situation, or the moment.

“There are certain things that this group of (Warriors) have been able to achieve that a lot of other guys can’t. In the fourth quarter, when you’ve got to win, you’ve got to make it happen, when you’ve got to figure it out, I think that’s what made Joe Montana who he is.”

Lott recalled another childhood memory in which “kids used to say, ‘Can you be Robin Hood?’ As a kid you would just sit there and you would go, ‘How does Robin Hood, every time, hit the apple?’ And the reason he hit the apple was he was the best.”

Ethereal, but entertaining.

“That’s what I see when I watch this (Warriors) group,” Lott said. “There were moments (Monday) night, the rebounding that they got in the fourth quarter was just out-hustling, outworking (the Trail Blazers). It was like, ‘I want it more than you.’ You could see it.”

Lott did have one piece of practical, if earthy, advice to would-be champions.

“I tell people this all the time,” he said. “Man, when your (rear end) is tight, it’s hard to function.”

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