Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King is a former World Number 1 professional tennis player. King was a member of the Philadelphia Freedoms in the World TeamTennis inaugural season in 1974. This team played their matches at the SPECTRUM and Billie was the league MVP that year. The Elton John song “Philadelphia Freedom” was a tribute to Billie and the Philadelphia Freedoms tennis franchise. In her career King won 39 Grand Slam titles: 12 in singles, 16 in doubles and 11 in mixed doubles. She holds the Wimbledon record for most Championships with 20! In 1973 she won the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match against Bobby Riggs with a worldwide audience of 90 million. Regarded by many as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, King was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987. In 1972 she was the joint winner of the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year (first tennis player and first woman to earn this honor) and one of the Time Persons of the Year in 1975. Her achievements on the court are only a part of her accomplishments as she has achieved so much as an advocate for gender equality and has long been a pioneer for equality and social justice earning her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 awarded by President Barak Obama. She was named one of the 100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century by Life Magazine and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1990.