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Flavor Flav is the new official hype-man for U.S. women's water polo team. This is why he is doing it.

Olympic flame arrives in France
Olympic flame arrives in France ahead of 2024 Paris Games 03:06

The U.S. women's water polo team is preparing for the upcoming Olympic games in Paris this summer – and they have an unlikely supporter cheering them on.

Earlier this week, Maggie Steffens, the team's captain, made a plea on social media to her followers to build up support for the team.

"There is no greater honor than representing Team USA on the Olympic stage side by side with strong, talented & driven women who empower you every day," Steffens wrote in the post on May 4.

She added: "Water polo, women's water polo specifically, may not be the most popular sport or on everyone's radar, but with women's sports even more on the rise – I encourage everyone to give these women a try!"

USA v China
LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 22: Maggie Steffens #6 of USA passes the ball against Xiao Chen #11 of China in the first half at Long Beach City College on April 22, 2024 in Long Beach, California. / Getty Images

Steffens' post got the attention of one unlikely – and clock-wearing – character who has become the official hype man for the team.

Enter Flavor Flav.

The 65-year-old rapper stepped forward to help the U.S. team as it goes for an unprecedented fourth consecutive gold medal at the Paris Olympics this summer.

"As a girl dad and supporter of all women's sports – imma personally sponsor you my girl,,, whatever you need," he commented on Steffens' post. "And imma sponsor the whole team."

He added: "That's a FLAVOR FLAV promise."

And it's a promise he is planning to keep.

Flav is finalizing a deal that will make him a USA Water Polo sponsor and the official hype man for a program seeking a bigger spotlight. He has also jumped headfirst into his new duties, highlighting some of the team's best players on social media. He also is making plans to watch the women's team play in Paris.

"When I come out and I watch this water polo team ... 'USA! USA!' Yo, I'm going to be the biggest hype man that they ever had in their life," he told the Associated Press on Friday. "I'm going to be bigger than any cheerleader that they had in their life. I'm going to cheer this team on, and I'm going to cheer this team into winning a gold medal."

Flavor Flav
Flavor Flav. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File) Jordan Strauss

Flav, who was inducted with the group Public Enemy into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, said his manager brought the post to his attention.

"One thing about me, I know what it feels like to want to see a dream come true," said Flav. "I know what it feels like to want to achieve a goal, and I'm the type of person that, if I see you trying, then I'm going to do whatever I can to help you."

Flav, whose legal name is William Jonathan Drayton Jr., told PEOPLE magazine that as a father of four girls, supporting women comes naturally.

"There's a lot of women, I'm saying that all they want is just a chance," he tells PEOPLE. "And all they want to do is feel like they got a chance. So I just wanted to help out, and help give women that chance that they are looking for."

As for 30-year-old Steffens, she said that it was shocking when the rapper reached out to her.

"Is this real, this reality?" Steffens told PEOPLE. "Water polo is my whole world. It's a family sport. It's not just my passion. It's not just a hobby. It is my life and it's been my life and it's been a gift for me."

She added, "But to us, to have a Hall of Famer and somebody like him notice us and be willing to share our story, and to empower our journey, was pretty spectacular."

Steffens is one of the oldest players on the U.S. team, but she said Ryann Neushul, 24, had Public Enemy in her top five on the music streaming service, Spotify. A couple of the team's coaches and Steffens' family also were excited about the partnership.

"My whole family was like 'Is this real? Flav is part of the water polo world now?'" Steffens told the Associated Press on Friday from Paris, where the team is on a training trip ahead of the Olympics. "I was like 'I don't know what's going on, but I want to wear a clock right now and that's how I'm feeling.'"

Winning has been the usual result for the U.S. women's team since the 2012 Olympics. But it hasn't attracted the same attention or support as similarly dominant American programs, largely because water polo remains a niche sport throughout most of the world.

That — along with a little nostalgia — prompted Steffens, the last remaining member of the 2012 team, to post on Instagram. While expressing gratitude for the opportunity to play and her love for her sport, she also encouraged anyone reading the post to check out her team and highlighted the constant financial struggle for most Olympic athletes.

"We've gotten a lot of comments you know of 'Oh, it's so cool what you've done. Bummer you're not a soccer player or a basketball player, because your team would be getting way more publicity or way more support,'" Steffens said.

"And instead we're still kind of where we were at 12 years ago, which for me isn't my goal. I've always wanted to propel the sport forward."

Steffens and the U.S. team also have another high-profile supporter in Taylor Swift. They had plans to see the musician's Eras Tour concert on Friday night at La Défense Arena — the venue for the women's water polo final on Aug. 10.

Women's national team manager Ally Beck reached out to Swift's camp and surprised the team with the tickets. Flav said he also contacted Swift's team, but the tickets had already been approved.

Flav, who is working on another tour with Public Enemy that could begin later this year, then held up a T-shirt with his picture that read "KING SWIFTIE."

"I'm proud to support Taylor. ... Flavor Flav is a Swiftie, the king of all the Swifties," he said.

That's another connection Flav has with his new favorite team.

Rapper Flavor Flav visits Harvard University, volunteers at homeless shelter 02:40
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