Billy Jean King

Billie Jean King (nee Moffitt) was born in 1943 in Long Beach, California. Father, Bill, worked for the Long Beach Fire Dept and Mom was a housewife. Kings brother, Randy Moffitt became a professional basketball player and played for some thirteen years in the major leagues.

Billie Jean married Lawrence King in 1965, she began a relationship with her secretary Marilyn Barnett in 1968. When the affair became public knowledge in 1981 it caused such controversy that within 24hrs she lost all her numerous endorsements and claims she had no choice but to continue playing tennis to repair the financial damage.

During her career she won 6 Wimbledon Singles titles, 10 Doubles titles and 4 Mixed Doubles titles, her last win was playing with Martina Navratilova in 1979. Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong, and Chris Evert have all suffered defeat at her hands.

King is the founder of the W.T.A., the Women’s Sports Foundation and a co-founder with her husband of World Team Tennis, she has coached the U.S.A. National Team and their Olympic squad.

In 1971 she became the first woman to earn more than $100,000 in a season. The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows has the distinction of being the first such sports arena to be named after a woman.

Off the court, she has worked to promote women’s tennis and sport and was instrumental in gaining equal pay for women tennis players. Amongst the many honours she has been awarded are the 2007 Sunday Times Sports Woman of the Year for contributions to the sport on and off the court.

Billie Jean currently serves on the board of the Elton John Aids Foundation and in 2009 was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, the highest civilian honour in the U.S.A., she now lives in New York.