Billie Jean King
"When I was 13, I was at the Los Angeles Tennis Club and I started daydreaming, and I started thinking about my sport. And everyone wore white shoes, white socks, black clothes, played with white balls. And I asked myself, ‘Where is everybody else?’ So that was my moment where I decided I would fight for equality and inclusion."
A no. 1 world tennis ranked player for six years, Billie Jean King is a tennis legend (and not just because of her infamous Battle of the Sexes victory over Bobby Riggs). Her success on the court, which includes 39 Grand Slam titles and 20 career victories at Wimbledon, amplified her platform, which she used to champion women’s rights on and off the court. Billie Jean testified before Congress to advocate in favor of Title IX, she formed the Original 9 group in 1970 with eight other female tennis players to protest the unequal pay of the United States Tennis Association, and she went on to found the Women’s Tennis Association in 1973 and become its first president. Although her tennis career has come to an end, her efforts to make equality a reality have not, and she founded the Billie Jean Leadership Initiative, which is a non-profit organization that promotes equality within the workplace.