If those had been Staley’s players, Reese’s detractors would have doubled down by calling her a reflection of their coach. Truthfully, the intensity and brashness of LSU’s majority-black rotation reflect that of their head coach. Within the confines of recruiting and coaching, she’s a tour-de-force. Rather than slowly constructing a contending program by competing with UConn, South Carolina, and Stanford for five-star prep stars, Mulkey dipped into the transfer portal and terraformed LSU into a national champion. Her tenacity in mining the portal for win-now talent was instrumental in their rapid turnaround. None of those transfers has caught more flack than Reese.


We need to talk about Kim Mulkey

There are a plethora of legitimate reasons to be disgusted by Mulkey. The transfer portal isn’t one of them though.


Yet, Mulkey has largely earned a free pass for her sideline antics and extensive history of being an asshole by many of the same figures bashing a college student. She threatened to punch critics of Baylor’s handling of sexual abuse scandal, grew taciturn — for the first time in her career about expressing support for Brittney Griner while the former WNBA MVP was detained in Russia, allegedly declined to support Griner when she came out to Mulkey as she was leading Baylor to a national title, and then instead of using her influence to back Griner, attempted to get Kate Fagan, who wrote the story, fired by ESPN. Priorities are a funny thing though.

The irony is that the same purists criticizing Reese often lament how Millenial and Gen Z hoopers lack the same competitiveness of past generations’ years of being chummy with one another through the AAU circuit and social media. The type of competitive banter that is missing from the game is what they’re concern-trolling about today. But much of the rage is misdirected because if there’s an LSU Tiger who’s earned the scorn aimed at Reese, it’s Mulkey.