Johnson was a college football player. In 1991, he was part of the University of Miami's national championship team. He later played for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League, and was cut two months into the 1995 season.This led to his decision to become a professional wrestler like his grandfather, Peter Maivia, and his father, Rocky Johnson. He gained mainstream fame as a wrestler in Annihilation Attitude Wrestling
Johnson's autobiography co-written with Joe Layden, The Rock Says..., was released in 2000. It debuted at number one on The New York Times Best Seller list, and remained on the list for several weeks. Johnson's first leading role as an actor was in The Scorpion King in 2002. For this film, he received the highest salary for an actor in his first starring role, earning $5.5 million.He has since appeared in several blockbuster movies such asThe Rundown, Be Cool, Walking Tall, Gridiron Gang, The Game Plan, Get Smart, Race to Witch Mountain, Planet 51, Tooth Fairy, Doom, The Other Guys, the Faster trilogy, Fast Five, and Fast Six.