CHAMPION FOR SOCIAL CHANGE

"Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose - it teaches you about life." - BILLIE JEAN KING

 

In 1990 Life Magazine named Billie Jean King one of the 100 most important Americans of the 20th Century.  Only three other athletes, Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali, made the list.

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With 39 Grand Slam titles to her name, including a record 20 titles at Wimbledon, Billie Jean King is one of the greatest tennis players of all time. She held the world #1 ranking in women’s tennis for six of the ten years from 1966 through 1975.

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Known for her lightning-fast speed, forceful net game, and fierce backhand, Billie Jean’s tennis championship titles are only half her story.

Off the court, Billie Jean campaigned for equal prize money in the men’s and women’s games. In 1970, she joined the Virginia Slims Tour for women, and in 1971, King became the first woman athlete to earn over $100,000 in prize money. Yet when she won the U.S. Open in 1972, she received $15,000 less than the men’s champion,Ilie Năstase.

In 1973, at the height of her competitive years, Billie Jean leveraged her position to spearhead the formation of the Women’s Tennis Association and became its first president. She lobbied for equal prize money for men and women at the U.S. Open, and a sponsor was found to level the playing field. The U.S. Open became the first major tournament to offer equal prize money to both sexes.

Read more about the amazing work she continues to do for women in sports here.

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"When they take surveys of women in business, of the Fortune 500, the successful women, 80% of them, say they were in sports as a young woman." - BILLIE JEAN KING

American tennis player Billie Jean King plays at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon in London on July 8, 1967. (AP)

American tennis player Billie Jean King plays at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon in London on July 8, 1967. (AP)


Billie Jean King raises her arms after defeating Bobby Riggs, in the 'Battle of the Sexes' at the Houston Astrodome in 1973.

Billie Jean King raises her arms after defeating Bobby Riggs, in the 'Battle of the Sexes' at the Houston Astrodome in 1973.

Houston, Sept. 20 - So now we know. When it comes to tennis, a 29-year-old at the height of her game can beat a 55-year-old man, many years past his prime. In the span of only two hours and five minutes, Billie Jean King freed all the women in chains, undermined the entire vitamin and avocado industry and severely battered the reputation of the world’s No. 1 hustler, Robert Larimore Riggs.

Playing with all the caution of a Kamikaze pilot and all the femininity of a roller derby star, Billie Jean routed Bad Bob in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, to win the Super Bowl of the Sexes, $20,000, and a front-row ticket to the next Bobby Riggs promotion - The Happy Hustler vs. the Pacific Ocean.
— NY DAILY NEWS
Source: https://www.amazon.com/Outstanding-Women-A...