Billie Jean King, WTT co-founder
Click to purchase a copy of Billie Jean King's new book - "Pressure Is A Privilege"
Visionary. Innovator. Champion.
Billie Jean King has long been a champion for social change and equality. King created new inroads for women in sports and beyond during her legendary career and she continues to make her mark today. Among her many accomplishments are:
On August 12, 2009, King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. The first female athlete to be honored with the Medal of Freedom, King was presented the award by President Obama in ceremonies at The White House.
Named "one of the 100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century" by Life Magazine in 1990.
Won 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles and mixed doubles tennis titles, including a record 20 titles at Wimbledon.
Pressure is a Privilege: Lessons I've Learned from Life and Battle of the Sexes to commemorate the 35th anniversary of her historic 1973 match against Bobby Riggs. Published by Lifetime Media, the book was released in mid-August 2008.
Was one of nine players who broke away from the tennis establishment and accepted $1 contracts from tennis promoter Gladys Heldman in Houston. The revolt led to the birth of women’s professional tennis and the formation of the Virginia Slims Tour and Women’s Tennis Association.
Photos: Jonathan Exley
Empowered women and educated men when she defeated Bobby Riggs in one of the greatest moments in sports history - the Battle of the Sexes in 1973. This match is remembered for its effect on society and its contribution to the women’s movement.
Founded the Women’s Tennis Association (1973), the Women’s Sports Foundation (1974), and Women’s Sports Magazine (1974).
Co-founded World TeamTennis (1974), the groundbreaking co-ed professional tennis league and founded the World TeamTennis Recreational League, one of the most popular recreational tennis formats in the U.S.
Ranked No. 5 on Sports Illustrated’s "Top 40 Athletes" list for significantly altering or elevating sports during the last four decades (1994).
Continues to be a leader in the fight for equality and recognition in the GLBT community, and has been honored by many of the leading GLBT organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD and Lambda Legal Foundation.
Honored on August 28, 2006, when the National Tennis Center, home of the U. S. Open, was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in honor of King’s contributions to tennis, sports and society both on and off the court. She continues to be involved with the USTA and is currently Chair of the Tennis in the Parks committee.
Honored in October 2006, when the Sports Museum of America and the Women’s Sports Foundation announced that the Billie Jean King International Women’s Sports Center, the nation’s first permanent, comprehensive museum collection dedicated to women’s sports, will be housed at the Sports Museum of America which opened in New York City in 2008.
Serves currently on the boards of the Women’s Sports Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
Has launched an environmental initiative called GreenSlam, which is a challenge to the sports industry to get proactive about being green.