Billie Jean is a cultural icon and one of the greatest female tennis players of all-time. She won 12 Grand Slam singles titles, 16 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, and 11 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. She has been a very influential figure in securing equality for both genders in and out of sports and she continues to make her mark today.
Billie Jean King is the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association, the Women’s Sports Foundation, and owner of World Team Tennis, which was founded by her former husband, Larry King, Dennis Murphy, Frank Barman, and Jordan Kaiser.
She also co-founded World TeamTennis (1974), the groundbreaking coed professional tennis league and founded the World TeamTennis Recreational League, one of the most popular recreational tennis formats in the U.S.
Billie Jean was named one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” by Life Magazine in 1990.
King has also been named Global Mentor for Gender Equality by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2008 and received the NCAA President’s Gerald R. Ford Award in 2009, recognizing her contributions to improving higher education and intercollegiate athletics.
Honored on August 28, 2006, when the National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in honor of King’s contributions to tennis, sports and society both on and off the court. She continues to be involved with the USTA and is currently Honorary Chair of the Tennis in the Parks Committee.
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.
Currently serves on the boards of the Women’s Sports Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
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. A brilliant speaker.