Program Directory

City Club of Cleveland - Billy Jean King
You've Come A Long Way, Baby!
Billie Jean King
Sports Pioneer
Location: Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University
2000 Prospect Ave
Sponsor: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and National City

Billie Jean King has long been a champion for social change and equality. King is recognized for spearheading the women's movement in tennis and for her life-long struggle for equality in sports and in life, and she empowered women and educated men when she defeated Bobby Riggs in one of the greatest moments in sports history-the Battle of the Sexes in 1973.

King founded the Women's Sports Foundation in 1974 to advance the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity. In 1998, she became the first athlete to receive the prestigious Elizabeth Blackwell Award, and in February 1999, she won the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage for her fight to bring equality to women's sports. Off the court, King remains active in a number of important causes. She serves as a director on several boards including the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Women's Sports Foundation.

King co-founded World TeamTennis in 1974 and remains active in both the WTT Professional League and WTT Recreational League. Her biggest honor in tennis came in August 2006, when the National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, in honor of King's contributions to tennis, sports and society both on and off the court.

In 1990, Life magazine named her one of the "100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century". In 1994, she ranked No. 5 on Sports Illustrated's "Top 40 Athletes" list for significantly altering or elevating sports the last four decades.

On the court, King left a lasting and indelible mark. She won 39 Grand Slams, including a record 20 Wimbledon titles with six of them in singles, won the U.S. Open four times, the French Open in 1972 and the Australian Open in 1968. She was ranked No. 1 in the world five times between 1966 and 1972 and was in the Top 10 a total of 17 years. In partnership with Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. Women in the Game Series in partnership with YWCA Greater Cleveland.

April 2, 2007