During the March Madness Tournament, the LSU Lady Tigers beat Caitlyn Clark and Iowa for the women’s college national basketball championship, 102-85. The game broke records, becoming the most watched women’s basketball championship game in history with over 9 million people tuning in. It was viewed by more people than the men’s game that aired later that weekend, which probably has to do with the media storm surrounding Caitlyn Clark, the Women's College Basketball National Player of the Year, and Angel Reese the most dominant all-around player of the season. Since the end of the season, members of the LSU team have been on a media tour talking about their championship win and future endevors and it has given the public a chance to see them as more than just basketball players, but “Young & Ambitious” ladies who’s aspirations extend far beyond a basketball court.
Flau’jae Johnson is not new to the spotlight & fame. She’s been rapping on the big stage since the age of 12 when she was featured on Lifetime’s teen music competition The Rap Game and has competed on America’s Got Talent several times. Big 4, as she is often referred to referencing her jersey number, stepped onto the LSU team with a decorated high school career. She was the #26 high school guard in her recruiting class, an McDonald’s All American and the only female to ever play in the Iverson Classic, a high school basketball showcase. Her rap skills caught the eye of a lot of hip hip’s heavy hitters and helped her secure a management deal with Jay Z’s label Roc Nation. When asked what she likes better, rap or basketball, there is no comparison. Flau’jae says music is her gift, that’s what she was born to do but basketball is her therapy, it’s what she’s good at. And she’s shown just how dedicated she is to both crafts as she was able to juggle life as a student athlete and a music artist with a blossoming career.
Sophomore Angel Reese, “The Bayou Barbie” is a first year transfer student from Maryland. After spending 2 years at Maryland and recovering from an injury that ended her freshman seson early, it is very admirable to see her win a championship in her first year with the LSU program and dominate the stats like she did. This season, she broke the Southeastern Conference (SEC) record for most double doubles in a season and won Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. As great of a season as she had, her accomplishments were overshadowed by her competitive nature on the court. Her agression and trash talk on the court was not well received by many people as they dubbed her to be unsportsmanlike and ignorant but she remains unapologetically herself even with the backlash from the haters.
One of the best interviews the pair sat in one was in New York City with Charlamagne and DJ Envy of The Breakfast Club. If you only know their personalities on the court, this interview was a great way to get a glimpse of who they are outside the court. These are 2 beautifully talented Black girls who have accomplished sports highest honor on the college level and are living their lives in the spotlight. When asked about how they are dealing with the fame and the growth of women’s college basketball, they credit the power of social media and NIL for changing the course and how they see their careers in the future. Neither superstar is in a rush to head to the WNBA because the way NIL has changed college life for student athletes may prove to be a better path than a rush to the league. With 2 years left of college eligibility, Angel has over 17 brand deals that is estimated at over $700K. That is a bigger bag than some professional athletes are carrying but thats another conversation. Flau’Jae continues to make monet from her rap career, NIL deals and her sneaker deal with Puma that she was able to pull in before she reached the collegiate level.
Aside from hoop dreams, both young ladies envision career for themselves that pushes beyond the basketball court. Angel expressed her desire to enter the world of fashion and broadcasting post basketball while Flau’Jae plans to work towards a Grammy winning rap career and becoming the owner of her own record label. So much more was spoken about during their interview including how it feels to be apart of a culture that is changing how the world see’s female athletes.
Click here to check out the full interview.