Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King
born Billlie Jean Moffitt
Billie Jean King is one of the greatest women tennis players in history, having won 129 singles tournaments during a professional career spanning from 1968 to 1983. She has also been a social activist for the cause of women.
Among her singles titles are 12 Grand Slam titles. She was also one of the best doubles and mixed doubles player of all time. She was one of the first prominent female players to turn professional and was an activist for the creation of the Women's Tennis Association and for conditions granted to women players in major tournaments. In 1973, she humiliated the aging Bobby Riggs by defeating him on the court at the Astrodome when he claimed he could beat any female player in the world, scoring a huge victory for women's tennis. This "Battle of the Sexes" is considered a seminal event in the cause of women in sports and its story later became a feature film.
She was also one of the first prominent athletes to declare her homosexuality and has been a long-time militant for the cause of diversity and inclusion. She is a member of both the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the National Women's Hall of Fame. She also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
For a long time, her main connection with baseball was through her brother, relief pitcher Randy Moffitt. Her father, Bill Moffitt was also a professional scout. However, in September 2018, she entered baseball in her own right by joining the ownership group of the Los Angeles Dodgers headed by Mark Walter along with her life partner, Ilana Kloss. She described herself as a life-long Dodgers fan. Commissioner Rob Manfred called King a "true American trailblazer" and added: "We are excited to have them both [King and Kloss] join the national pastime."