Billie Jean King ( born November 22, 1943) is an American former world No. 1 tennis player. King won 39 Grand Slam titles: 12 in singles, 16 in women’s doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. King was a member of the victorious United States team in seven Federation Cups and nine Wightman Cups. For three years, she was the U.S. captain in the Federation Cup.
King is an advocate of gender equality and has long been a pioneer for equality and social justice. In 1973, at the age of 29, she famously won the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match against the 55-year-old Bobby Riggs.
King was also the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association and the Women’s Sports Foundation. She was instrumental in persuading cigarette brand Virginia Slims to sponsor women’s tennis in the 1970s and went on to serve on the board of their parent company Philip Morris in the 2000s.
Billie Jean King Net Worth
Billie Jean King is an American retired World No. 1 professional tennis player who has a net worth of $20 million. Considered one of the best tennis players of all time, King won 39 Grand Slam titles: 12 singles, 11 mixed doubles, and 16 women’s doubles. She also took the singles title at the inaugural WTA Tour Championships.
During her career, Billie Jean represented the U.S. in the Federation Cup and Wightman Cup several times, and she was a member of the U.S. team when it won nine Wightman Cups and seven Federation Cups.
A vocal advocate for gender equality, 29-year-old King won the so-called “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match against 55-year-old Bobby Riggs in 1973. Billie Jean founded the Women’s Sports Foundation and the Women’s Tennis Association, and she served as the U.S. captain in the Federation Cup for three years.
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In 1987, King was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and she received the Fed Cup Award of Excellence in 2010. In 2009, President Barack Obama honored her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Billie Jean has published the books “Pressure Is a Privilege: Lessons I’ve Learned from Life and the Battle of the S*xes” (2008) and “All In: An Autobiography” (2021), and she executive produced the documentaries “The Battle of the S*xes” (2013) and “Althea” (2014). Billie Jean has appeared as herself on the TV series “Arli$$” (1999), “Ugly Betty” (2009), “Fresh Off the Boat” (2016), and “The Bold Type” (2020), and she was portrayed by Emma Stone in the 2017 film “Battle of the S*xes.”
Billie Jean King Awards and Honors
In 1967, King was named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, and in 1972, she became the first tennis player and first female athlete to be named “Sports Illustrated” Sportsman of the Year.
In 1990, she was included in “Life” magazine’s “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” list, and in 1999, she received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award and was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.
In 2000, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) honored Billie Jean with an award for “furthering the visibility and inclusion of the community in her work.” In 2003, she received the Philippe Chatrier Award from the International Tennis Federation, and she was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in 2006.
King received the “Sunday Times” Sports Women of the Year Lifetime Achievement award in 2007, and she was inducted into the Southern California Tennis Hall of Fame in 2011 and the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
In 2018, she received the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award. The USTA National Tennis Center in New York City’s Flushing Meadows–Corona Park was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in 2006, and the Billie Jean King Sports Complex is located at California State University, Los Angeles.
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