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“Billie Jean King (née Moffitt; 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. She often represented the United States in the Federation Cup and the Wightman Cup. She was a member of the victorious United States team in seven Federation Cups and nine Wightman Cups. For three years, she was the United States' captain in the Federation Cup.

“King is an advocate for gender equality and has long been a pioneer for equality and social justice. In 1973, at age 29, she won the "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match against the 55-year-old Bobby Riggs. She was also the founder of the Women's Tennis Association and the Women's Sports Foundation. She was also 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.

“Regarded by many in the sport as one of the greatest women's tennis players of all time, King was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987. The Fed Cup Award of Excellence was bestowed on her in 2010. In 1972, she was the joint winner, with John Wooden, of the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year award and was one of the Time Persons of the Year in 1975. She has also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year lifetime achievement award. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1990, and in 2006, the USTA National Tennis Center in New York City was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. In 2018, she won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Standing at only 1.64 m (5 ft 4½ in), King is the shortest player to have ever won a grand slam in tennis.” ~ Wikipedia:

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Yes, it is. I guess that's why it appealed to me. You're welcome!

This is a strange quote, loved all the comments. Thanks for the post.


Eddie, I thought people had fled the board of tobacco companies a long time ago. I guess I never thought about Billie Jean's height.


I am surprised no one has tried to "cancel" being on the board of Phillip Morris. Great athlete and business woman. Plus I always thought she was taller than that, just looking at past pictures.


It is certainly that, Bill.


All good points, Ron. She must have had a reason for saying it. I don't have time to dig and find out when and why she did—I just thought it was thoughtworthy.


BJK is an icon for may reasons, but, let's face it, this is rubbish. So the players that beat her (which undoudabtly were more than she won - I'll try and check that!) were afraid of winning? I won many things in my time. If I was beaten by the better team/player well done.


This reminds me a bit of what a friend used to say: "Be careful what you wish for, it might come true."


An interesting perspective from a renowned athlete.


what i believe she means, and i always thought we had a shared cultural understanding of this, is that a champion is defined by the drive and determination within and the willingness to act upon it.
i think fear of winning would be fear of change and of the responsibility that would fall upon you if you succeed in effecting that change. it can apply to big and little things. full disclosure - i'm guilty of that in a lot of ways, so i get it.


Well, I suppose that can be true, if one doesn't have a plan for what to do after succeeding? Thanks for sharing this one, Bill. I am certain we will have some interesting observations on this one! (*&*)


Why be afraid of anything? Just do your best.


There must be some meaning to the second statement that I'm not getting. Is she saying that because someone was better, everyone who didn't win didn't WANT to win?

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