Sports

Billie Jean King Discusses Coming Out On PBS Show

View Comments
American tennis player Billie-Jean King returns a ball against compatriot Bartkowicz, 26 June 1967, during the Wimbledon championships. King won six times the women's singles title at Wimbledon, four times the US Open, and once the Roland Garros tournament. Outside the courts, she was the mentor of the movement that succeed in creating the women's professional circuit, in 1970. (credit: AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

American tennis player Billie-Jean King returns a ball against compatriot Bartkowicz, 26 June 1967, during the Wimbledon championships. King won six times the women’s singles title at Wimbledon, four times the US Open, and once the Roland Garros tournament. Outside the courts, she was the mentor of the movement that succeed in creating the women’s professional circuit, in 1970. (credit: AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

Sports Fan Insider

Keep up with your favorite teams and athletes with daily updates.
Sign Up
Lakers Photos
Lakers vs. FC Barcelona The Los Angeles Lakers face off with Pau Gasol’s former team and European Champions FC Barcelona on October 7, 2010. Nike's House of Hoops In Barcelona and Basketball Clinic Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol go against Ricky Rubio and Juan Carlos Navarro on a 2-on-2 game Lakers Travel To London Pilots hold up a Lakers flag before the Los Angeles Lakers travel to London at LAX on September 30, 2010, in Los Angeles, California. Barcelona Goes Crazy For The Lakers The Lakers arrived in Barcelona, Spain to huge crowds and lots of media at their practice inside Palau Blaugrana stadium. Lakers star Pau Gasol is from Spain.

 BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Billie Jean King says she couldn’t have revealed herself as being gay in the 1970s because it would have damaged the fledgling women’s professional tennis tour.

King became the first prominent female athlete to come out as gay in 1981 after her partner filed a palimony lawsuit against her.

King told the Television Critics Association on Tuesday that coming out years earlier might have set back the women’s pro tour, which was in just its third year of existence in 1973 when she beat Bobby Riggs in their landmark “Battle of the Sexes” match.

King will be the first sports figure to be profiled on PBS’ “American Masters.” Her episode airs Sept. 10 in commemoration of the 40th anniversaries of the Riggs match and the founding of the Women’s Tennis Association.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,528 other followers