Flau’jae Johnson Is ‘Bringing a Different Swag to PUMA’
Over the past few years, PUMA have been recruiting the most explosive talent to join their PUMA Hoops roster, signing ballers like Deandre Ayton, LaMelo Ball and Breanna Stewart. The latest addition to the squad is 18-year-old Flau’jae Johnson, a top high school basketball recruit and McDonald’s All-American! Not only has Johnson achieved an impressive amount already, but she’s also a burgeoning rap artist entering her freshman year at Louisiana State University (LSU). She’s set to rock styles like the TRC Blaze Court, Rise Nitro, Slipstream, Mayze and more! In her own words, she’s ‘bringing a different swag to PUMA.’ Check out our chat with Flau’jae here.
How did you get into playing basketball? Tell us about your journey.
I’ve been into basketball ever since I could walk; I was still trying to dribble a basketball. I got the chance to play at five years old when I complained to my mum for a year straight that I hated ballet and wanted to play basketball instead. She eventually found me a team, and I played with the Frank Callen Boys & Girls Club in my hometown, Savannah, Georgia, on the boy’s team for over four years until it was time for me to transition to the girl’s team. Ever since then, basketball has been the love of my life.
You’ve accomplished such a wide range of achievements so far! Are there specific things or people that motivate you?
Really just my family motivates me to be the best I can be. We are a very competitive family that strives to accomplish all our goals with grace and dignity. I just love sports, period, but basketball really became my thing, and I want to be the best at that.
You’ve mentioned that your basketball career is your legacy. Can you expand on this?
I think I can just achieve a lot in the basketball space. I’m eager to keep learning, growing and just getting even better at it, and I want that to be my legacy. With what I’ve done so far, what I’m doing with my teammates at LSU and what I plan to do in my future professional career, I want people to look at me and say, ‘the sky is the limit for her.’ I want to win championships. I want to win rings, and I want to really make a name for myself as a hooper.
How do your passions for basketball and making music intertwine?
They’re both really therapeutic to me. When I’m in the gym working out or practising, I’m listening to my music. Basketball and music have always been and will always be ingrained in each other, and they both come second nature to me. They’re both my favourite crafts to perfect, so when I’m killing it on the court, I’m usually inspired to work on my music as well and vice versa. It’s always gone hand in hand for me.
Whether in music, sport or anything else, is it important to you to inspire other women? If so, why?
Yes, specifically the next generation of girls coming up. I just want to show them you can be successful without conforming to societal norms. The sports and music industries can be extremely critical of women, so for me to do and have success in both, I hope that inspires young girls to know they really can do anything they put their minds to. If I can excel in these spaces that have historically been extremely tough on females, they can do it too.,
What’s your relationship with sneakers? Did you have a go-to pair growing up?
I’ve always loved sneakers. As a kid, my mum always kept me loaded with the newest kicks, so I was fly on the daily, but I didn’t have a go-to pair. When I look good, I feel good. And when I feel good, I play even better. My style is always evolving and changes on the regular, so I like to keep a wide variety of sneakers to match my mood and vibe to what I wear. Lately, I’ve been rocking with the PUMA Slipstreams and the RS-Xs, which are definitely one of my favourite styles right now.
How does it feel to be joining the PUMA Hoops roster?
It feels fake! As a kid, you dream of going professional and signing with a sneaker brand, but I did it at 18. It’s crazy. To be a part of the PUMA roster with LaMelo Ball, Breanna Stewart, Kyle Kuzma, Skylar Diggins-Smith and everyone is surreal. Joining that group of athletes has made me even more confident in where I am in my career and where I’m going.
What excites you the most about being a part of PUMA Hoops?
Repping PUMA with an elite group of athletes pushing the culture forward is an amazing feeling. I’m so thankful for that and excited, too. I want to make the brand proud to be riding along on this journey with me.
What can we expect from your PUMA Hoops partnership?
Just a lot of creativity, not just on the court but off the court as well. Really just getting involved with the community and bringing a different swag to PUMA. I’m a unicorn.