Billie Jean King won 39 Grand Slam titles during her tennis career, and has long been a pioneer for equality and social justice.

Why you should listen

Named one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” by Life magazine and honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, Billie Jean King is the founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative and the co-founder of World TeamTennis. She founded the Women’s Sports Foundation and the Women’s Tennis Association. In August 2006, the National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in honor of her accomplishments, both on and off the court.

King grew up playing tennis in California public parks and won 39 Grand Slam titles during her career. She defeated Bobby Riggs in one of the greatest moments in sports history, the Battle of the Sexes on Sept. 20, 1973. She now serves on the boards of the Women’s Sports Foundation, the Andy Roddick Foundation, the Elton John AIDS Foundation and is a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

Billie Jean King’s TED talk