Billie Jean King
Sports Icon, Social Justice Pioneer, and Entrepreneur
Named one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” by Life magazine and a 2009 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Billie Jean King has long been a pioneer for social justice.
King grew up playing tennis in the California public parks and won 39 Grand Slam titles during her career. She helped form the Virginia Slims Series and founded the Women’s Tennis Association. She defeated Bobby Riggs in one of the greatest moments in sports history – the Battle of the Sexes on Sept. 20, 1973.
In 1974 King co-founded World Team Tennis (WTT), the revolutionary co-ed professional tennis league, and the Women’s Sports Foundation. In August 2006, the National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in honor of her accomplishments on and off the court. King serves on the boards of the Women’s Sports Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation and is a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.