Billie Jean King
She's a former #1-ranked tennis player with 12 grand slam titles to her name, but Billie Jean King may be best remembered for her victory over tennis champ Bobby Riggs in their 1973 "Battle of the Sexes."
A tireless advocate for women's rights, Billie founded the Women's Tennis Association and piloted the Virginia Slims ~ the first female pro tour. She also campaigned for Title IX, which requires schools to provide equal funding for men's + women's sports.
Billie took an important risk by becoming one of the first prominent American athletes to publicly acknowledge she was gay. Today, the legend continues to lead way towards greater equality in sports + society.
social impact | spanning well beyond being an athlete on the tennis courts, she confronts sexism, homophobia, pay inequity
equality | founded Women's Tennis Association, which has successfully broken the gender pay gap
~ since 2007, Grand Slam tournaments have given equal prize money to women and men ~
1961 | at 17 years old, won the doubles championship at Wimbledon alongside teammate Karen Hantze
1973 | beat Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes, a societal rallying point for women's rights
2009 | awarded America's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Barack Obama
from | to
tennis great | prominent human rights advocate
November 22, 1943
Long Beach, California
Billie Jean Moffitt
The United States of America
~ homemaker ~
Willis Jefferson Moffitt
~ firefighter ~
1 younger brother | Randy
~ former major league baseball player with the San Francisco Giants ~
New York City
~ keeps an apartment in Chicago ~
Long Beach Polytechnic High School
California State University, Los Angeles
~ married 1965 - 1987 ~
~ "Billie Jean, you're the queen!" ~
~ longtime friend who wrote "Philadelphia Freedom" for her tennis team ~
~ "same opportunities, same rights, easy-peasy" ~
in her spare time
supports causes | very involved with the Women's Sports Foundation + Elton John AIDS Foundation
acts | played a judge on Law & Order and appeared on Ugly Betty
rehabs | had both knees replaced in 2010
image creditscollapse bio bits
"The most important words that have helped me in life when things have gone right or when things have gone wrong are 'accept responsibility.'"Unversity of Massachusetts commencement address | may 2000
"Reputation is what others think about you. What's far more important is character, because that is what you think about yourself."The Right Words At the Right Time | april 2002
"A lot of people talk about getting into an opponent's head as part of their strategy. I don't really do that. I prefer to assess my opponents strengths and weaknesses quickly and then get my own act together."Pressure is a Privilege | 2008
"I didn't ask for help enough when I was younger because I was all about 'just doing it' ~ sucking it up and not acknowledging or dealing with my feelings. Now I know better."Pressue is a Privilege | 2008
"Once you accept and embrace the passing of the torch, it is much easier to be graceful and helpful to those coming after you. Each generation shapes the future for the next."Pressure is a Privilege | 2008
"Equal prize money is the message, not the money."40th Anniversary of the Women's Tennis Association | august 2013
"One tennis match to me is almost like life. There are so many ups and downs. You can be down to where you think there’s no way possible you can win a match. You just keep trying step by step and finally you win. The next time you’re in a position when you’re ahead and you lose. It’s just like life. Life’s like that."Plays Tennis Like a Man, Speaks Out Like — Billie Jean King | august 2013
Battle of the Sexes ~ 1974 Houstonian
Billie Jean and Bobby Riggs prepare to face off at the Houston Astrodome for the "Battle of the Sexes" match.
Houston Library Digital Services
Bella Abzug, Betty Freidan and Billy Jean King Accompany Torch Relay Runners into Houston, 1977
Billie Jean stands with fellow feminist icons as they march with Olympians representing the women's peace movement.
National Archives at College Park
About The Women's Sports Foundation
Billie Jean established the Women's Sport's Foundation in 1974..."dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity." Decades later, the foundation's mission remains clear + relevant.
Women's Sports Foundation
Billie Jean King
Billie Jean in front of the "Battle of the Sexes" exhibit at the US Open.
Billie Jean King
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