The Life of Billie Jean King
She's one of the world's most iconic tennis stars and was the first out LGBTQ female athlete. This is Billie Jean King. 🎾
Battle for Equality
She was born in 1943 in California, to an athletic family. At 11, with money she earned doing chores, she bought a tennis racket for $8. By 23, she won the Wimbledon women’s singles tournament for the first time. She went on to win 12 Grand Slam titles. At 30, she successfully got equal pay for female players at the U.S. Open. The same year, she won the “Battle of the Sexes” — a historic match against Bobby Riggs. “I had my epiphany at 12: I wanted to fight for equality the rest of my life. And I knew I was lucky to have tennis.”
When she was 32, Elton John wrote a song for her. Since then, she’s been working with him in his fight against AIDS. At 38, her ex-partner Marilyn Barnett sued her for alimony. By coming out during a press conference, she became the first female athlete to publicly come out. When she was 66, Barack Obama awarded her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest civilian award in the United States.
At 73, she was played on the big screen by Emma Stone in the movie Battle of the Sexes, which portrays her famous match against Bobby Riggs. King hopes this movie, “Battle of the Sexes,” will inspire the millennials and the Gen Z, the younger ones, even, to fight for equality and freedom, because every generation has to fight for it. King concludes, “It was a tennis match, but it’s what it represented that mattered. So, I knew this was the moment. This was a moment, could be a pivotal moment for women and for men: how men looked at us, and how women looked at themselves.” She is the legendary Billie Jean King.