Flavor Flav on Why He's Funding the U.S. Olympic Water Polo Team — and Updating His 'Bucket List' (Exclusive)

The Public Enemy founding member and team captain Maggie Steffens spoke with PEOPLE about the unlikely partnership

<p>Jesse Grant/Getty;  Mike Coppola/Getty</p>

Jesse Grant/Getty; Mike Coppola/Getty

Flavor Flav is so excited to talk about the U.S. women’s water polo team that he was up before 5 a.m.

“I got proof that this is really so special to me,” Flav, 65, tells PEOPLE exclusively. “You know why? Because here it is, five o'clock in the morning, wherever I live, and I'm up on a Zoom with y'all. I am not a morning person. I'm not a morning person.”

Yet meeting Maggie Steffens, the captain of the women’s team — albeit virtually — had the Hall of Fame rapper and DJ pumped and happy to share the details about his generous pledge to support the team at the Paris Olympics, after Steffens shared on Instagram over the weekend that she and other players need financial help.

“[I heard that] the water polo team needed some type of sponsorship, you know what I'm saying?” Flav tells PEOPLE. “And Maggie, I heard about a lot of your accomplishments and I applaud you. I heard you got some gold medals and all that great stuff. I want to see you continue that and further that.”

Related: Flavor Flav Promises to Fund the U.S. Water Polo Team to the Paris Olympics: ‘Imma Sponsor the Whole Team’

At 30, Steffens is the captain of the team, and has been a member of the 2012, 2016 and 2020 gold medal-winning squads.

But in her post on May 4, Steffens shared her own struggle and those of her teammates, who she says work multiple jobs so that they can follow their Olympic dreams.

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“Some may not know this, but most Olympians need a 2nd (or 3rd) job to support chasing the dream (myself included!) and most teams rely on sponsors for travel, accommodations, nutritional support, rent/lodging and simply affording to live in this day and age,” she wrote. “Especially female sports and female athletes. We’ve had companies & amazing individuals support our sport alongside donors, USAWP & USOPC, but we always need more help.”

Steffens tells PEOPLE that she was in shock when she saw that the founding member of Public Enemy had commented on her post.

“Is this real, this reality?” Steffens says. “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.”

Related: Team USA Water Polo Star Maggie Steffens Says How Team's Bond Helped Her Cope with Olympics Delay

She adds, “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.”

For Flav — who is the 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.”

While the "Fight the Power" rapper and his team are still ironing out the details of what his financial contribution will entail, he will have a new name this summer: Hype Man of the U.S. Women’s Water Polo Team.

And Flav is making time in his schedule to achieve a goal of his own.

“Yo, check this out,” he shares. “By me sponsoring this water polo team, this is going to help me pull something off of my bucket list. You know what? I always wanted to one day go to the Olympic Games and see it and see it live with my eyes, not just on TV. You know what I'm saying?”

He adds that, schedule permitting, he hopes to see at least two matches and watch Steffens and her teammates go for a fourth-straight gold medal.

“This is going to give me a chance now to come to the Olympic Games so I could see it live," he says. "Oh my god, I'm coming to the Games!”

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