Biography Of Billy Jean King

Billy Jean King was born on November 22, 1943. She tried her hand at softball, but the world was not ready for women in this sport. Her parents suggested she attempt the sport of tennis.

Billy Jean King (Moffitt) was born on November 22, 1943. At an early age, Billy Jean decided to try her hand at softball. But during this time in history, this sport was not ready nor did it welcome women as participants. Luckily, her parents introduced her to tennis. She tried to attend college at Cal State Los Angeles and also made playing tennis an important part of her life as well. But, the two did mix so she dropped out of school in 1964. During the 60's, it was difficult to make a living at this sport of tennis. Billy Jean met a man by the name of Larry King who was responsible for showing her that discrimination exists in most sports. Larry was in the process of attending law school at UC Berkeley. As the relationship seemed to grow, they began dating. One thing led to another and they were married by 1965.

At Wimbledon in 1962, there was an upset when Billy Jean King won against Margaret Smith-Court. It was an exciting win for Billy Jean because Margaret was known to be the world's leading tennis player. Her winnings continued by being the first woman to win the triple crown singles, doubles, and mixed doubles in 1967. This had not been done since 1939. The Wimbledon championships were won by Billy Jean by 1968 for the third consecutive year. She also won the United States title, as well. She was clearly making a name for herself and women all around the world.

Billy Jean's luck changed in 1971 when her earnings exceeded $100,000. News of her success spread and she became recognized as "Sportsman of the Year". This made history, as Billy Jean King became the first woman given this honor. She had another great victory on September 20, 1973 when she won in the "Battle of the Sexes" against Bobby Riggs. This win is what made Billy Jean the most famous. This win gave both Larry and Billy Jean exposure. They took active part in the Women's Tennis Association, Women's Sports Foundation, and the Women's Sports Magazine. Billy Jean's marriage was nearing its final days because of the exposure and visibility. She wanted to get a divorce, but Larry convinced her otherwise. Then Billy Jean made a shocking discovery in 1971, when she found out she was pregnant. Sad, but true, she had an abortion in California. She, in turn, became one of the women to advocate legal abortions in the United States.

Then, in 1974 she won her fourth United States Open. She won two more wins in 1972 and 1973. And the winnings continued with the sixth won in 1975. Unfortunately, she retired not too long after her sixth win. Her life took another twist in the early 1970's. She had an affair with her secretary. The secretary's name was Marilyn Barnett. When the relationship ended, Marilyn sued Billy Jean in 1981. Marilyn felt she was entitled to part of Billy Jean's winnings. Even after the lawsuit was settled, it took its toile on her. Billy Jean King is also known for winning twenty Wimbledon championships. This record, of course, made history for the number of Wimbledon winnings by anyone.

Billy Jean made the statement that winning the Wimbledon was very important and meant the world to her. With Wimbledon she had the opportunity to go out of the country and it was a dream come true. It Billy Jean stated that she made the decision to take herself out of the tennis game in 1975. Now she feels that was a mistake and her husband never understood her reasoning for doing this. She now realizes that she more than likely could have won the Wimbledon in 1976. She has made the statement that she did not plan her life or career very well. She knows that if she had continued the sport of tennis her winnings for Wimbledon would have increased. The injuries she received were increased during her life in tennis and become more than she could withstand.

In 1980, her husband began what is known as Team Tennis. Larry gave her the position of commissioner. This job helped Billy Jean to focus on developing the young, ambitious tennis players for the future. She had definitely made her mark as a woman tennis player. She had stood on the court at Wimbledon many times to win title after title. That she could certainly be proud of. This sport that was once only comprised of male competition, is now opened to women. Billy Jean King blazed the trail for women's equity on the tennis court. Even though rivalries existed, she continued to pursue her dream and make a statement to the world as s tennis champion. She has publicized her life as being private, but also how she was affected by being a woman competitor. All she wants to do now is be herself and enjoy every moment of every day that is left.

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