The mother of star LSU guard Flau’jae Johnson went to bat for Kim Mulkey after a recent profile from The Washington Post painted the Tigers coach as someone who holds grudges, had strained relationships with former players, including some who accused her of treating gay players differently.

Kia Brooks, who manages Johnson, a rapper and social media star, explained in a recent interview why she respects 61-year-old Mulkey’s coaching style.

“I trust her with my kid. Honestly, I do, because she’s not going to baby Flau’jae,” Brooks said in a conversation with the Baton Rouge-based WAFB Channel 9. “She’s going to make her a woman. When she leaves here she’s going to be a woman, you know what I’m saying? And I respect that because I’m not easy on Flau. I was hard on her.

“Anything you want in life you gotta go get it, you gotta go fight for it. There are a million kids out here trying to do what you’re doing, so what’s going to separate you?”

Brooks also defended Mulkey against criticism she received online as the highly publicized Washington Post piece was published just hours before LSU’s Sweet 16 win over UCLA on Saturday.

“It’s kinda crazy because this day and time, at a certain age, I just feel like people should know, if you haven’t met a person how can you judge them?” Brooks continued.

“And these are 40, 50-year-old people on the internet throwing daggers at a woman they’ve never even spoke to, which is very weird to me. I could see kids doing it, but adults — seems like at this point in your life you should know, dang I never even really met this woman or given her a chance before I just judged her.

“I’ve met coach Mulkey. Everything coach Mulkey told me, or everything that I asked her about my kid, she kept it real, you know what I’m saying? And when Flau’jae says she’s an OG — to be there to navigate the different situations that may come with players and parents and coaching, and being a coach, just dealing with so much.”

The 20-year-old Johnson is one of the faces of the NIL era, reportedly making millions while wearing the hat of an NCAA champion, rapper and full-time student.

The 2023 SEC Freshman of the Year praised Mulkey after LSU’s 78-69 win over UCLA in the women’s NCAA Tournament on Saturday.

“That’s my coach and I love coach Kim,” Johnson said when asked if she and her teammates felt the need to defend Mulkey. “She believed in me when nobody believed in me.

“When I was in my recruiting process, every school told me, ‘You gotta pick music or you gotta pick basketball.’ But she didn’t. She let me be who I want to be, she supported me all the way. I love coach Mulkey.”

The Washington Post feature paints Mulkey as having issues with some players, mostly during her coaching days at Baylor from 2000-21 — when she won three titles — due to her brash coaching style.

“Shame was a frequent tool in Mulkey’s coaching arsenal, whether during practice drills or in addresses to the team,” the report said.

The report also alleges players were called out over their weight under Mulkey, with frequent weigh-ins in front of the whole team.

Mulkey, who is in her third season at LSU, threatened to sue The Washington Post if they published a false story about her in a fiery rant ahead of the team’s second-round March Madness contest.

Her attorneys denied she treated gay players “more harshly or differently” in a letter to The Washington Post.

Mulkey signed a 10-year, $36 million extension with LSU after coaching the Tigers to their first national title in a 105-85 win over Iowa last year.

LSU and Iowa will face off in a championship rematch in the women’s Elite Eight on Monday night.

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