Maiden name is Moffitt ... At age 11, when she bought her first tennis racquet with money saved from odd jobs and was taking free lessons near her home in Long Beach, California, told mom Betty, "I am going to be No.1 in the world" ... Attended Los Angeles State University for three years ... In September 1970 was one of nine players who broke away from the tennis establishment and accepted $1 contracts from promoter Gladys Heldman in Houston; revolt led to the birth of women's professional tennis with the formation of the Virginia Slims Tour and the creation of the Women's Tennis Association, which King spearheaded in 1973 ... Also founded the Women's Sports Foundation in 1974 to increase opportunities for female participation in sports; continues to serve on organization's board ... Co-founder of groundbreaking co-ed professional tennis league WorldTeamTennis in 1974 ... Is involved in a variety of enterprises including publishing, promoting tournaments and tennis exhibitions and has doe extensive tennis commentary for television ... Interests include ballet, old and new movies ... Father, Bill, was an engineer in the Long Beach Fire Dept.; younger brother, Randy Moffitt, was a Major League Baseball pitcher for 13 years ... Wrote book titled We Have Come A Long Way, published in November 1988.
Firsts and Other Key Achievements- First female athlete in any sport to earn more than $100,000 in a single season of competition ($117,000 in 1971)?prompting a congratulatory call from President Nixon.- Won 'Battle of the Sexes' match against Bobby Riggs at Houston Astrodome on September 20, 1973; match was watched live by a crowd of 30,492 people (remains largest tennis audience ever) and televised to millions more in 36 countries.- In 1973 lobbied for, and obtained, equal prize money for men and women at the US Open.- First woman to coach a co-ed pro sports team, Philadelphia Freedoms (WorldTeamTennis, 1974).- First woman commissioner in professional sports history (WorldTeamTennis, 1984); later founded World TeamTennis Recreational League.- In 2006, became first woman to have a major sports venue name in her honor ? USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows.- In 2007 founded GreenSlam, an environmental initiative for the sports industry.- Authored Pressure is a Privilege: Lessons I've Learned from Life and the Battle of the Sexes, commemorating the 35th anniversary of the historic match against Riggs (2008).- Named Global Mentor for Gender Equality by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2008.
Awards and Honors - Tennis- Received a Philippe Chatrier Award on June 3, 2003, from the ITF (its highest award) at the ITF World Champions Dinner in Paris for her wide-ranging and far-reaching contributions to tennis.- To celebrate Tour's 30th Anniversary, attended on-court ceremony at 2003 season-ending Championships that honored her role as founder, other founding members and 13 world No.1 champions (past, present).- In 2003, was among first six inductees into Court of Fame at the USTA National Tennis Center.- Since 1998 the winner's trophy for the Tour's season-ending Championships has been named for her, as founder of the Women's Tennis Association in 1973 and its first president, serving from June 1973-Sept. 1975 and Sept. 1980-Sept. 1981.- Honored as an International Master Pro by the United States Professional Tennis Registry in 1995.- Recipient of the 1995 Sarah Palfrey Danzig Award, the United States' highest honor for sportsmanship and contribution to the game; presented with March of Dimes Lifetime Achievement Award in April 1994 for commitment to helping others.- Inducted into International Tennis Hall of Fame on July 18, 1987.- Recipient of inaugural Tour Honorary Membership Award in November 1986; recipient of 1993 Tour David Gray Special Service Award.
Awards and Honors ? General- Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor of the United States, by President Obama in a ceremony at the White House on August 12, 2009.- In 1990, named one of Life magazine's '100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century'.- Selected by the Women's Sports Foundation as the 1997 recipient of the Flo Hyman Award, given annually since 1987 to a female athlete who exemplifies the dignity, spirit and commitment to excellence of the late Flo Hyman, captain of the 1984 US Olympic volleyball team.- No.5 on Sports Illustrated's Top 40 Athletes list, named in 40th Year Anniversary issue (September 1994) of the magazine, for significantly altering or elevating sports the last four decades; highest ranked woman and one of only four to make list.- Received the NCAA President's Gerald R. Ford Award in 2009, recognizing her contributions to improving higher education and intercollegiate athletics.- Continues to be a leader in the fight for equality and recognition in the GLBT community, and has been honored by many of the leading GLBT organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD and Lamda Legal Foundation; currently serves on board of Elton John AIDS Foundation (the singer wrote his hit No.1 Philadelphia Freedom for Billie Jean).
SINGLESWinner (67): 1968 - Wimbledon; 1969 - Pacific Southwest, South African Open, Natal, Dublin, Stockholm; 1970 - Rome, Sydney, Durban, London Indoors, VS Richmond; 1971 - US Open, San Francisco, Long Beach, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City, Chattanooga, US Indoors-Detroit, Boston, San Diego, Hamburg [German Open], Hoylake, Kitzbuhel, Houston, US Clay Courts, Louisville, Phoenix, London Indoors; 1972 - Roland Garros, US Open, Wimbledon, Phoenix, Richmond, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Tucson, Charlotte, Bristol; 1973 - Wimbledon, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Denver, Nottingham, VS Hawaii, Tokyo [Toray]; 1974 - US Open, San Francisco, Washington DC, Detroit, Akron, US Indoors-New York; 1975 - Wimbledon, Sarasota; 1977 - Lionel San Antonio, Phoenix, San Paulo, San Juan, Japan Invitational, London Indoors; 1979 - Tokyo Sillook, Stockholm; 1980 - Detroit, Houston, Tokyo Sillook; 1982 - Birmingham; 1983 - Birmingham.
DOUBLESWinner (101 Open Era): 1980 - US Open (w/Navratilova); 1979 - Wimbledon (w/Navratilova); 1978 - US Open (w/Navratilova); 1974 - US Open (w/Casals), Virginia Slims Championships (w/Casals); 1973 - Wimbledon (w/Casals); 1972 - Roland Garros (w/Stove), Wimbledon (w/Stove); 1971 - Wimbledon (w/Casals); 1970 - Wimbledon (w/Casals), Rome (w/Casals), Queen's Club (w/Casals); 1968 - Wimbledon (w/Casals), Winchester (w/Casals).
MIXED DOUBLES Winner (7 Open Era): 1976 - US Open (w/Dent); 1974 - Wimbledon (w/Davidson); 1973 - Wimbledon (w/Davidson), US Open (w/Davidson); 1971 - Wimbledon (w/Davidson), US Open (w/Davidson); 1970 - Roland Garros (w/Hewitt).
ADDITIONALUnited States Fed Cup Team 1963-67, 76-79. United States Wightman Cup Team 1961-67, 70, 77-78.
- Ranked No.1 in the world five times between 1966 and 1974 and was in Top 10 a total of 17 years (beginning in 1960); ranked No.1 on US doubles list for a record 12 years, eight with Rosie Casals.- Owns 39 total Grand Slam titles (12 singles, 16 doubles, 11 mixed), third on the all-time list.- Enjoyed greatest success at Wimbledon, where she holds a record 20 titles combined in singles (six), doubles (10) and mixed doubles (four).- Won the singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles at 1973 Wimbledon, one of three players to accomplish a Grand Slam Triple Crown in the Open Era (Court and Navratilova are the others).- Is one of just nine players in history to hold a singles title in each of the four Grand Slam tournaments, along with Court, Connolly, Fry, Graf, Hart, Evert, Navratilova and S.Williams.- Only woman to win the US singles title on four surfaces (grass, clay, carpet, hardcourts).- Oldest player to win professional Tour title by winning 1983 Birmingham at 39 years, 7 months, 23 days.- Unbeaten in 27 Fed Cup doubles matches and third in total wins (with 52); Captain of US Fed Cup team in 1995-96 and 1998-2001.- US Olympic women's tennis team captain in 1996 and 2000.