Former world tennis champion and social activist Billie Jean King is one of the most iconic athletes in American history. With 39 Grand Slam titles and 20 career wins at Wimbledon, King was named one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” by LIFE magazine. King joins Washington Post opinions writer Jonathan Capehart to share stories from her remarkable life and her ongoing commitment to equality, penned in her new book, “All In: An Autobiography.”

Highlights

Former world tennis champion Billie Jean King says writing “All In: An Autobiography” was a labor of love that took her four years to complete. But she says some of the memories, including her eating disorder and being outed in 1981, were difficult to relive. “It was tough. Some memories were difficult…and then when we did the audiobook…it was rough. I had to stop sometimes, and just, I was crying...so my heart and soul, I gave everything I could to this book.” (Washington Post Live)
Former world tennis champion Billie Jean King says Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka have been courageous in speaking up about their mental health. It’s great how female athletes do step up and use our platforms really well. I think we’re very courageous in that way.” (Washington Post Live)
Former world tennis champion Billie Jean King says she thinks it’s important that young athletes are taught how to take care of their mental health, but she adds they should also be told at a young age what it means to be a professional athlete, explaining that part of that obligation is talking to the press. “I think it’s important as an athlete that we have this privilege, that we have this platform that very few people will ever experience. I want to make this world a better place, and I think communicating is one of those ways.” (Washington Post Live)

Billie Jean King

BILLIE JEAN KING is the first female athlete to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She is the founder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, the Women’s Tennis Association, and the Women’s Sports Foundation; she co-founded World Team Tennis; and she is part of the ownership group of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2006, the National Tennis Center was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. In 2020, the Fed Cup was renamed the Billie Jean King Cup, making it the first global team sports competition named for a woman. She was one of Life magazine’s “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century,” and in 2018 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards. She is an Adidas Global Ambassador, a past member of the board of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and a past member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. She lives in New York.