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Billie Jean King
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. She is recognized for spearheading the women’s movement in tennis and for her lifelong pursuit of equality in sports and in life.

King grew up playing tennis in the California public parks and won 39 Grand Slam titles during her career. She led efforts to form the Virginia Slims Tour and founded the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) in 1973. She empowered women and educated men when 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 that same year she founded the Women’s Sports Foundation to advance the lives of women and girls through sports and physical activity. 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.

Entries by Billie Jean King

Bottom Line: It's All About Inclusion

(1) Comments | Posted November 19, 2014 | 4:31 PM

Ninety million people worldwide watched me step onto the tennis court to defeat Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of Sexes" 41 years ago. Looking back, my victory was more than a point of athletic pride -- it was about social change, part of a growing movement that showed women were...

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Coaching For Life

(0) Comments | Posted November 15, 2013 | 9:29 AM

Long before I competed at Wimbledon, won a Grand Slam, or stepped on the same court as Bobby Riggs, I was a fifth-grade student in Long Beach, Calif., holding a tennis racquet for the very first time.

Back then, I hardly understood the basic concepts of tennis, let alone how...

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Diana Nyad Inspires, Energizes and Empowers Us

(41) Comments | Posted September 3, 2013 | 4:56 PM

If Diana Nyad's swim from Havana to Key West didn't inspire you to be a better person and to get more out of life, then I am not sure what to say.

But, if you are like me and countless other people, you are not only impressed with Diana's athletic...

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Two-Out-Of-Three Isn't Bad... It's the Way to Go

(0) Comments | Posted August 17, 2012 | 12:36 PM

This week's news of Rafael Nadal's withdrawal from the upcoming U.S. Open makes me think -- one more time -- that professional tennis needs both men and women to play the best of three sets, rather than three-out-of-five sets at all professional tennis events, including Davis Cup and...

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Fight Arthritis - Keep Moving!

(32) Comments | Posted September 1, 2011 | 8:37 AM

If you have arthritis like me, you know that sometimes the pain can feel unmanageable. But I am here to tell you there are ways to manage it. The key is to keep moving and take part in some form of physical activity every day.

Exercising and staying active can...

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Looking Back, Looking Forward: 40 Years Of Title IX

(46) Comments | Posted June 23, 2011 | 9:09 AM

From courtside at Wimbledon, I'm celebrating two important anniversaries this week: the 50th anniversary of my first championship win at Wimbledon, and the 40th anniversary year of Title IX, legislation that ensures equal access to both men and women in federally-funded educational programs and activities, including sports programs.


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Different Time, Different Sport, Similar Story

(11) Comments | Posted January 19, 2011 | 7:51 AM

In 1970 nine tennis players signed a $1 contract with World Tennis Magazine publisher Gladys Heldman, which was the birth of women's professional tennis as we know it today. It also was a move that allowed players like Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova to make a living today...

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President Obama Has Impressed Me

(33) Comments | Posted December 27, 2010 | 3:31 PM

There is a saying in sports that you should never underestimate your opponent. And it might apply in politics as well.

While President Obama has taken his share of knocks this year and things did not look particularly good for him after the mid-term elections, he has risen to the...

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Celebrate Milestones Based on Accomplishment, Not Gender

(36) Comments | Posted December 21, 2010 | 8:37 PM

Just to set the record straight... I'm a basketball fan. I love the sport -- women's, men's, college or pro -- it is something I enjoy watching as a fan. I even had a chance to watch my niece's son play in a kid's game at an Atlanta rec center...

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Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell Is a Big Deal

(161) Comments | Posted December 19, 2010 | 10:55 AM

Years from now we may look back on Saturday's repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" and wonder why it was such as big deal in the first place. But today, as we analyze the impact of the 17 year struggle for recognition and acceptance forced upon gays and lesbians in...

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Beating Diabetes -- Together

(0) Comments | Posted November 29, 2010 | 11:17 AM

As American Diabetes Month draws to a close, I wanted to share some final thoughts on my personal battle with diabetes. I've spoken in my past few posts about my strategies for managing diabetes -- taking control of my diet and stepping up my exercise routine...

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Diabetes Has Met Its Match

(1) Comments | Posted November 23, 2010 | 3:53 PM

As I mentioned in my previous post, November is American Diabetes Month, which is why I'm taking some time to share my personal experiences with diabetes. When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about three years ago, I was presented with a challenge and like many athletes...

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My Connection to Diabetes

(13) Comments | Posted November 18, 2010 | 1:45 PM

November marks American Diabetes Month -- a time for all of us to stop and take notice of this epidemic and take the necessary steps to prevent its spread. This means taking an active role in managing our diabetes if we've already been diagnosed, or doing whatever we can to...

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Smash Hits Brings Music and Tennis Together on November 15 in Washington, D.C.

(0) Comments | Posted November 1, 2010 | 1:16 PM

When I first met Elton John in 1973 we talked about finding a way to put music and sports together. So when he started the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992, World TeamTennis CEO Ilana Kloss told us, "Here's your chance to make this happen and we can raise money...

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Maria Shriver's Conference Is Empowering

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2010 | 6:11 PM

I recently returned to my hometown of Long Beach, California for the final edition of Maria Shriver's California Governor and First Lady's Conference on Women. This two-day event is perhaps one of the most powerful events of the year and once again, I left Long Beach feeling more connected, more...

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After 49 Years, the King Finally Meets the Queen

(2) Comments | Posted June 24, 2010 | 10:11 AM

After 49 years of coming to Wimbledon, today I was honored to meet Queen Elizabeth II. Tim Phillips, the chairman of the All England Club introduced us in the grassy courtyard of the member's enclosure.

The Queen thanked me for being loyal to Wimbledon and we talked briefly about...

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Thank You, Sandy for Helping Me Win Wimbledon!

(4) Comments | Posted March 18, 2010 | 12:06 PM

With plans being made for the 35th season of World TeamTennis, I recently thought of how important being part of a team is to my career and my life. Maybe part of the reason I am such a proponent for all things team, is that I have been fortunate to...

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Wall Street Journal Is My New Sports Hero

(25) Comments | Posted January 7, 2010 | 4:37 PM

I'm not big on hero worship, but I may have to re-think my position.

"The Hidden Benefits of Exercise," the cover story in the "Personal Journal" section of the Wall Street Journal (January 5, 2010), almost made me swoon.

There it was -- everything our Women's Sports Foundation...

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