Billie Jean King (01:44)
Billie Jean King was a championship tennis player. She also became a leader for women's tennis and women in all sports. The Battle of the Sexes match against Bobby Riggs made her a hero for all women.
King's Early Life (04:57)
King grew up in California in the 1940s and 1950s. She lived in the working-class area of town but went to school with wealthier children. Sports were an important part of the family and tennis was one of the few that allowed girls to play.
King's Realization About Tennis (04:14)
As King played more tennis, she realized it was an elitist sport. She wanted to change it but knew she would have to be the best to do so. King started winning and defeated the number one seated player at her first Wimbledon.
Sexism in Tennis (06:01)
Tennis fans and the association began to dislike King because she was too outspoken and not feminine enough. King was married at an average men's tennis player named Larry King. Many people thought she should give up tennis, so she could be a better wife.
King and the Professional League (07:41)
When tennis went professional in 1968, women were being paid significantly less than men and started being pushed out of tournaments. Nine players, including King, left the tennis association and created their own tournament with the help of magazine publisher Gladys Heldman.
King in the Virginia Slims International (07:28)
King and the eight other players toured the country playing wherever they could get a big enough crowd. The players had to education people about women's tennis and why they deserved the prize money. The tournament became a part of the women's rights movements.
Bobby Riggs and Women's Tennis (07:48)
Retired tennis player Bobby Riggs made a bet that he could beat any women's player and called out King. King refused, fearing what would happen to women's tennis and Title IX if she lost. Margaret Court agreed to play him and lost.
King and Equal Pay (06:32)
Riggs challenged King after beating Court, but King was too busy working for equality. King unified the Virginia Slims players and the ones who stayed with the tennis association to fight for equal pay.
King Accepts Riggs' Challenge (03:09)
King agreed to play Riggs to help move the women's movement forward. Riggs went on talk shows and spread publicity about men's superiority.
Preparing for the Match (05:21)
As Riggs kept promoting the match, King used it as a distraction. She had realized she was gay and was seeing a woman, while still married to her husband. With the increased media attention, she was scared about being found out.
Battle of the Sexes (08:35)
The nation had an emotional interest in the tennis match. King knew she would be remembered forever if she won or lost the match. She defeated Riggs.
King Wins the Match (02:06)
King defeating Riggs was a win for the women's equality movement. It changed the perception of women in sports and women in general.
King Gets Outed (06:42)
In 1981, the media found out about King's affair and sexuality. King was not prepared or ready to come out, but tried to turn it into something positive. King's career was hurt by lost endorsements.
King and World Team Tennis (02:45)
King and her partner Ilana Kloss own World Team Tennis, a co-ed professional league. Women and men compete together and equally share the outcome. Venus and Serena Williams started in a World Team Tennis clinic.
King's Legacy in Sports (06:44)
King changed the role of women in tennis and it continued into all sports. King and the effort of the "Original 9" allowed for women's tennis to continue in the United States.
Credits: Billie Jean King (01:23)
Credits: Billie Jean King
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