Yoon Joung Lee
A former professional tennis player, Billie Jean King, was born in 1943 in Long Beach, California. She grew up in a conservative Methodist family. Her father was an engineer for the fire department and her mother was a housewife. Her brother, Randy Moffitt became a baseball player whose major leagues were the San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros, and Toronto Blue Jays. Billie Jean attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School and graduated from California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA).
She developed an interest in tennis when she was 11. She saved her money to buy her first racket and started to play tennis at the public courts near her house. She was taught by Clyde Walker, a fine tennis teacher. When she was 14, she won her first championship in a southern California tournament. She also received coaching from Alice Marble who was a famous player from the 1930s. In 1962, she won acclaim after capturing the women’s doubles title at Wimbledon. In 1965 not too long after her tennis career began, she married Lawrence King. However, their marriage ended in 1987 because she found out that she was interested in women. During her marriage in the 1970s, she had an intimate relationship with her secretary, Marilyn Barnett. And King became the first prominent American athlete with an openly gay relationship
From 1962 to 1979, she won 20 Wimbledon titles including the singles in 1955~ 1968, 1972~1873. She also earned 13 US titles, four French titles, and two Australian titles. Off the courts, she worked for women’s liberation (the feminist movement) and for equal prize money for men and women.
In 1973, she organized the campaign called, Battle of the Sexes, to match against a tennis champ, Bobby Riggs, who claimed that women cannot beat men in sports. Riggs lost the match against King. This campaign gained considerable publicity worldwide and she became a feminist icon.
From 1973 to 1981, she founded the Women’s Tennis Association and became the first president of the association. In 1987, she was also selected in the International Tennis Hall of Fame and served as a captain of the United States Fed Cup team during 1990s.
In 1995, she joined the Virginia Slims, the first professional women’s tour with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova to raise fund for fight against AIDS, acquired immune deficiency syndrome. She is also currently associated with the sports broadcaster, teacher and coach for professional teams in the U.S. From 1999 to 2000, she taught the US women’s team.