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Quotes On Billie Jean

Billie Jean King has never shied away from controversy. What have others said about her?

Published March 18, 2010 12:00

Quotes On Billie Jean
King posed in an umpire's chair during a 1976 Colgate Series event.

"Victory is fleeting. Losing is forever."
- Billie Jean King

"We honor... what she did to broaden the reach of the game, to change how women athletes and women everywhere view themselves, and to give everyone - including my two daughters - a chance to compete both on the court and in life."
- US President Barack Obama, speaking in reference to Billie Jean at the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House in 2009.

"The greatest competitor I've ever known."
- Margaret Court

"I would have to pick Billie Jean at her best. Consistently, Chris [Evert] is hardest to beat but for one big occasion, one big match, one crucial point, yes, it would have to be Billie Jean."
- Martina Navratilova, speaking in 1979 when the top players were asked who they would pick to help them recover from a hypothetical deficit of 1-5 (15-40) in the third set of a match on Wimbledon's Centre Court.

"Billie Jean cackles when the matter of her being a sex symbol is raised. 'Hysterical! Hysterical! Me, with these little short legs!' But she is practical enough to realize that a guy who buys a ticket to look at the girls has bought a ticket as sure as the guy who buys a ticket to look at the girls' forehands."
- Frank Deford, writing in Sports Illustrated, 1975

"She doesn't want to risk appearing weak in front of anybody. She told me once that if you want to be the best, you must never let anyone, anyone, know what you really feel. You see, she told me, they can't hurt you if they don't know."
- Former Tour player Kristen Kemmer Shaw, quoted in the same Deford article.

"She's the wisest human being that I've ever met and has vision people can only dream about."
- Chris Evert.

"Her success is so far beyond the scope of tennis. She was the face behind women and equality."
- Rosie Casals, with whom King won the Wimbledon doubles title five times.

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