Billie Jean King, Mylan WTT co-founder
Born: November 22, 1943
Birthplace: Long Beach, California
Resides: New York, N.Y.
Billie Jean King is the founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative and the co-founder of World TeamTennis. As one of the 20th century's most respected and influential people, she has long been a champion for social justice and equality. She created new inroads for both genders in and out of sports during her legendary career and she continues to make her mark today. Among her many accomplishments are:
On August 12, 2009 King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. The first female athlete to be honored with the Medal of Freedom, King was presented the award by President Obama in ceremonies at The White House.
- Named one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” by Life Magazine in 1990.
- Won 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles and mixed doubles tennis titles, including a record 20 titles at Wimbledon.
- In 2014, in partnership with Teneo Strategies, she launched the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative to address inclusion and diversity issues in the workplace.
- 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 Riggs.
- 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.
- Empowered women and educated men when she defeated Bobby Riggs in one of the greatest moments in sports history – the Battle of the Sexes in 1973. This match is remembered for its effect on society and its contribution to the women’s movement.
- Founded the Women’s Tennis Association (1973) and the Women’s Sports Foundation (1974).
- In 1974 King co-founded World TeamTennis (WTT), the revolutionary professional tennis league. Now in its 40th season and known as Mylan World TeamTennis, the league showcases the best in professional team tennis competing for the King Trophy. Also founded the World TeamTennis Recreational League, one of the most popular recreational tennis formats in the U.S.
- Appointed Global Mentor for Gender Equality by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2008, received the NCAA President’s Gerald R. Ford Award in 2009, honored with Major League Baseball’s Beacon of Change Award in 2010 and named to the Presidential Delegation to the 2014 Winter Olympics.
- Continues to be a leader in the fight for equality and recognition in the LGBT community.
- 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.
- A member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and serves on the boards of the Women’s Sports Foundation, the Andy Roddick Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
For more information about Billie Jean King or to request an interview, please email Tip Nunn at TipNunn@comcast.net.