As one of the 20th century’s most respected and influential people, Billie Jean King has long been a champion for social change and equality. She created new inroads for all genders in and out of sports during her legendary career and she continues to make her mark today.
Billie Jean King
- Became the first woman to have an annual global team sports event named in her honor when Fed Cup, the women’s world cup of tennis, was rebranded as the Billie Jean King Cup.
- In 2019 King’s deep Southern California roots were recognized with the opening of the Billie Jean King Main Library in her hometown of Long Beach, California.
- In 2020 King was honored with the release of the Billie Jean King Barbie doll, part of Mattel’s Inspiring Women Series.
- In 2019 ESPN established the Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award, which is presented annually at the network’s Sports Humanitarian Awards ceremony.
- In 2014, founded the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to addressing the critical issues required to achieve diverse, inclusive leadership in the workforce.
- In August 2009 King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. The award was presented to King by President Obama on Aug. 12, 2009 in ceremonies at The White House.
- 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.
- Named one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” by Life Magazine 1990. Won 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles and mixed doubles tennis titles, including a record 20 titles at Wimbledon.
- In 2008 King authored “Pressure is a Privilege: Lessons I’ve Learned from Life and the Battle of the Sexes” to commemorate the 35th anniversary of her historic 1973 match against Bobby R.
- In 1974 King co-founded World TeamTennis, the revolutionary professional team tennis league.
- 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 (WTA).
- Currently serves on the boards of the Women’s Sports Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.