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Grand Slam: Kim Mulkey’s Fiery Fashions and Feuds



As Kim Mulkey‘s Louisiana State University Tigers fought their way to the Elite Eight, all eyes were on the legendary coach – not just for her tactical brilliance, but for her bold, unapologetic wardrobe choices. Mulkey’s signature style of sparkling jackets, bright colors, and statement jewelry has become as iconic as her four national championship wins.

But this March Madness, Mulkey’s outfits took a backseat to her war of words with The Washington Post over a new profile piece. The article, released just hours before LSU’s Sweet 16 game against UCLA, delved into Mulkey’s personal life and allegedly strained relationships with former players. Mulkey had twice rebuffed reporter Kent Babb’s requests to be interviewed over the past two years.

“I could not possibly meet it,” Mulkey fumed at a March 23rd press conference about the Post’s final pre-publication questioning. “It was just an attempt to prevent me from commenting and an attempt to distract us from this tournament. It ain’t going to work, buddy.”

Her menacing Louisiana drawl sliced through the air as she threatened legal action against the prestigious paper: “Not many people are in a position to hold these kind of journalists accountable, but I am, and I’ll do it.”  

Defiant Dame of the Hardwood

Such brazen self-assurance is quintessential Kim Mulkey. The 60-year-old has never been one to bite her tongue or dull her dazzling game-day ensembles. From her playing days of racking up championships at Louisiana Tech to her celebrated coaching career resurrecting programs at Baylor and now LSU, Mulkey has been both a whirlwind of success and controversy.

The Washington Post portrait is a nuanced exploration of those complexities. It covers her estranged relationship with her father, who pushed her relentlessly as a youth basketball prodigy. It recounts her 1984 Olympic gold medal glory, as well as the serious allegations from former players who felt she was unsupportive of their sexualities.

Perhaps most pointedly, it questions Mulkey’s muted response when star player Brittney Griner was arrested and imprisoned in Russia last year. As one of her former Louisiana Tech teammates remarked, “I wish she would have made more of a statement” beyond only commenting briefly on a radio show.

For Mulkey’s part, she remains defiant about prioritizing her team over media scrutiny. As LSU prepared for their Elite Eight clash with Miami, she doubled down on her criticism of the Post story’s timing:

“Imagine that. Must have thought y’all would look at it, right, get some clicks or be a distraction,” she told reporters. “I haven’t read it and I probably won’t read it. I probably will have my attorneys communicate with me to see if there’s anything there that we need to be concerned about.”

Her pugnacious attitude is reflected in her bold wardrobe, which has made Mulkey a de facto fashion icon of women’s basketball. You’ll rarely see her courtside without crackling beads, glistening embellishments, or bib necklaces shimmering underneath her suit jackets.

“She sure can dress,” admired LSU fan Michael Wilcox as Mulkey’s sequined purple coat dazzled during a January game. “When she comes out in those outfits, you know it’s gone time.”

Luxe Leopard to Bubblegum Hues

Indeed, Mulkey goes big and fearless with her gameday getups, almost as if to command the spotlight with her loudly colored palettes and flair for glitzy patterns. During her two championship seasons at Baylor, she embraced an “air traffic control” aesthetic, donning a bright red jacket and highlighter yellow slacks combination that seemed perfect for guiding jumbo jets.  

At LSU’s Final Four entrance in 2022, she stunned in a shiny leopard print topcoat and black leather gloves – an edgy, sexy look that wouldn’t be out of place in a spirited Broadway revival of Chicago. Then at the national championship game a few days later, she went full showstopper in a dazzling bubble gum pink blazer, her platinum blonde hair perfectly coiffed.

Mulkey’s ensembles make clear that while basketball may be her chosen playing field, she’s bringing the same competitive spirit and flair to her fashion choices. She dresses for the grand stage, never shrinking from the spotlight.

“I wear what I want and don’t worry about anybody’s opinion,” she once declared about her glamorous courtside couture. “It’s a representation of me. It’s me being me.”

Defiant Diva to the End

Of course, Mulkey’s audacious attitude and sartorial selections have also landed her in hot water at times. There was the 2005 incident when she showed up for a men’s NCAA tournament game in an eye-popping orange blazer that some felt violated the “no courtside credentials” rule for non-team personnel.

And just last year, she engaged in a heated exchange with a reporter who questioned why she wasn’t wearing LSU’s team colors of purple and gold during one tournament game, instead opting for a cherry red suit. “Because that’s just two farts!” she fumed, deploying one of her frequent made-up dismissive phrases.

Yet such controversies never seem to faze or reform Mulkey. Now as she enters the twilight of her Hall of Fame career, she remains authentically, brazenly, and fashionably herself.

On the eve of LSU’s Elite Eight showdown against Miami, she emerged for her press conference in an electric sapphire jacket covered with gleaming silver embroidery. Her platinum curls were perfectly tousled, and a glistening bib necklace rested atop her black embellished top. 

As questions were fired her way about The Washington Post’s unflattering portrayal, Mulkey simply shrugged and let her stylish armor speak for itself. She was focused solely on cutting down more nets – not nets worth.

“I ain’t got time for distractions,” she stated matter-of-factly in her bone-deep Louisiana lilt. “Best get ready, ’cause we’re comin’ for that national championship.”

With that, the 60-year-old coaching dynamo turned on her phenomenally bejeweled heels and sashayed off, ready to let her team’s performance do the talking. Because when it comes to outfits or controversies, for the inimitable Kim Mulkey, there’s always next week’s grand slam of an entrance.

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