Whether you like or dislike LSU coach Kim Mulkey, there is something wonderful in a woman who is unconcerned about the criticism and narratives that others have created about her.
DALLAS – Kim Mulkey has been described as a heartless person. Egotistical. Petty. Shallow. Self-absorbed. Thin-skinned. Attention-seeking.
She is aware of all of this, but she is unconcerned.
People formed their opinions on Mulkey a long time ago, so trying to clear the air would be a waste of time. Furthermore, if people are criticizing her, discussing what she’s wearing, or cheering against her, it implies they’re paying attention.
To her, but more significantly, to the sport to which she has dedicated her life.
Alumnae from LSU who are well-known designers mail me jackets and say, “There are some LSU women who have graduated. Mulkey remarked, “Coach, to be quite honest, I know nothing about basketball, but I’m coming only to see what you wear. “Hey, you know what? I want those who attend the games for that reason to continue doing so, and I want them to learn how to play basketball.
“People who come for the basketball should ignore what I wear on the sidelines and instead focus on the merchandise on the ground. Do not let what I am wearing overshadow what is happening on that field or my Xs and Os as a coach “She spoke. “But if me donning their coats and other items benefits them while also drawing more attention to our game or selling one more ticket, then so be it.
Mulkey could have been discussing her entire character while responding to a query about her extravagant gameday attire. She is a member of the Hall of Fame and the first person to have won national championships both as a player and a coach. She has three championships to her name as a coach, and this week she joined Gary Blair and C. Vivian Stringer as the only ones to lead multiple teams to the Final Four.
The Final Four game between LSU and Virginia Tech is on Friday night.
Coach Kenny Brooks of the Hokies remarked, “I love Kim, and I appreciate the way she goes about her business.” “We’re still old-school basketball coaches, but she’s a little fierier than I am and wears bolder clothes than I do.”
Mulkey, on the other hand, has almost willingly become a caricature of the narcissistic coach. She gets just as much attention for stomping her high heels and hurling those sequined coats as she does for her. She has an 860 winning percentage and refuses to challenge perceptions that are either false or overblown.
“Everyone has a perception of me that is completely false.” But I’m fine with it because these kids who play for me, the coaches who coach for me, and my family that knows me (know),” Mulkey said earlier this week.
“What people want to think about you is not under your control.”
Mulkey is the target of considerable, though not all, of the animosity because of her friendship with Brittney Griner and other LGBTQ athletes.
At Baylor, Griner won the national player of the year award twice, and in 2012, she guided the Bears to their second championship under Mulkey. At the time, Baylor was just the seventh team to go undefeated for the entire season.
They appeared to be close at the time. Mulkey vehemently supported Griner in the wake of her two-game suspension in 2010 for striking a Texas Tech player in the face, breaking his nose.
“I don’t think Brittney Griner should be defined by this episode, either as a person or as a player. She’s a terrific kid, as everybody who has been around her knows,” Mulkey added at that point.
Yet after Griner claimed to ESPN in 2013 that Mulkey had advised her and other LGBTQ+ athletes to keep their sexuality a secret for fear of harming recruiting, a rift between the two appeared to have developed.
Premarital and LGBT sex are prohibited at the fundamentalist Christian university of Baylor.
“It was more of an unwritten law [not to discuss your sexuality]… it was just one of those things, you know, just don’t do it,” Griner explained at the time. “They attempted to make it seem as if, ‘Why put your company out on the street like that?'”
Both Griner and Mulkey have remained mum regarding the current state of their relationship. Mulkey stood out for how little she publicly spoke when Griner was being unjustly jailed in Russia and it seemed like the whole women’s basketball community was supporting her.
Mulkey didn’t declare in a statement that “God is good” until after Griner was freed in December. Prayers have great power. Brittney is traveling to her place of residence. While they recuperate and come to terms together, our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.
Mulkey revealed on Thursday that since Griner’s release, she has not spoken to her.
No, Mulkey replied. “But, I’m happy she’s back. I’m relieved that she is sound and safe. Everyone, I believe, is. But I haven’t, sorry.”
Whether you agree or disagree with Mulkey, like her, or dislike her, it is admirable that she doesn’t seem disturbed by the criticism and stories that others have published about her. The fact that she is doing it at a time when her teammates are constantly harassed by internet trolls and haters serves as a potent reminder to them that a woman’s value is not determined by what other people think of her.
After transferring to LSU, Angel Reese has emerged as a breakout star this season. “I feel like I’ve grown women’s basketball within the last six months, and being able to do that, and I’ve built my platform on and off the court,” she said last week.
I love that I can embrace the fact that I’m more than simply an athlete and that women’s basketball is respected.
Mulkey is and has always been herself. Without hesitation. You may dislike her or believe she is insane. But you have to respect her for her achievement and the fact that she has never pretended to be another version of herself to attain it.
Kim Mulkey is anything but a phony in a world full of them.