Billie Jean King Net Worth 2022 – How Did She Get Rich? Exposed!

Billie Jean King Net Worth

Billie Jean King has an estimated net worth of $20 million. American tennis great Billie Jean King broke down barriers by pushing for equal prize money for women and becoming one of the first well-known openly gay athletes. She earns most of her income from playing tennis and film production. 

By 1967, Billie Jean King had risen to the top of the women’s tennis rankings. She founded the Women’s Tennis Association in 1973, and she famously defeated Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes.” King, the first prominent female athlete to admit her homosexuality, went on to become a powerful social activist after retiring from tennis.

To calculate the net worth of Billie Jean King, subtract all her liabilities from her total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity she has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of her net worth:

Name: Billie Jean King
Net Worth: $20 Million
Monthly Salary: $200 Thousand
Annual Income: $5 Million
Source of Wealth: Tennis player, Film Producer

Athletic Beginnings

Billie Jean Moffitt was born on November 22, 1943, in Long Beach, California, to parents Bill and Betty. Bill Moffitt was offered a tryout for an NBA team before becoming a firefighter, and Betty, a housewife, was an excellent swimmer. Randy, their second child, went on to become a Major League Baseball pitcher.

Softball was King’s first sport; at the age of 10, she was a shortstop on a team of 14- and 15-year-old girls that won the city championship. Her parents, however, suggested she try a more “ladylike” sport, and at the age of 11, she began playing tennis on the Long Beach public courts.

Early Career

When she won the Southern California championship for her age bracket in 1958, King established herself as a player to watch, and in 1959, she began receiving coaching from former women’s tennis great Alice Marble. Following a string of defeats to top-seeded players in various competitions across the country, King made sports headlines for the first time in 1961, when she and Karen Hantze Susman became the youngest women’s doubles pair to win Wimbledon.

From 1961 to 1964, while attending California State University, Los Angeles, King continued to compete in tournaments and worked as a tennis instructor to make ends meet. However, after receiving mixed results in several of the competitions, King realized that she would need to increase her practice schedule if she wanted to reach her full potential, and she embarked on an intensive training regimen and worked on sharpening her fundamentals.

Major Singles Titles and Rise to No. 1

King won her first major singles championship at Wimbledon in 1966, after a few years of promising play. She went on to successfully defend that title for the next two years, adding her first U.S. Open singles title in 1967 and her only Australian Open victory the following year. After claiming the world No. 1 ranking in women’s tennis in 1968, King turned professional.

Over the next few years, King, known for her speed, net game, and backhand shot, was a regular presence in the winner’s circle in singles, doubles, and mixed-doubles tournaments. In 1972, she won the US Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon, giving her three Grand Slam titles in a single year.

‘Battle of the Sexes’

Billie Jean King is best known for her 1973 match against former men’s champion Bobby Riggs, which became known as the “Battle of the Sexes.” Riggs, 55, had adopted an openly chauvinistic public persona in order to entice the sport’s top women to face him, and after easily defeating multi-time champion Margaret Court in the “Mother’s Day Massacre” of May 1973, he secured King as his next opponent.

The match took place at the Houston Astrodome on September 20, 1973. King entered the court in a gold litter pulled by four muscular men, while Riggs arrived on a rickshaw pulled by a team of women known as “Bobby’s Bosom Buddies.” But once the match began, King was all business, and she easily defeated Riggs in straight sets in front of an estimated 90 million viewers.

Following that, King acknowledged the stress she felt that day. “I thought losing that match would set us back 50 years,” she explained. “It would derail the women’s tour and harm the self-esteem of all women.”

Equal Pay Activism, WTA and WTT

King, who was never afraid to speak her mind, jolted the tennis establishment with her views that the sport needed to shed its country-club image and offer equal payouts to both genders. She joined the brand-new Virginia Slims Tour for women in 1970, and in 1971, she became the first female athlete to win more than $100,000 in a single year. However, she was irritated by her colleagues’ lower pay.

King was instrumental in establishing the Women’s Tennis Association in 1973. (WTA). She threatened to boycott the 1973 U.S. Open if the pay disparity was not addressed, leveraging her position as the sport’s most famous player. After her demands were met, the United States Open became the first major tournament to offer equal prize money to men and women.

The World TeamTennis (WTT) co-ed circuit was founded the following year by King and her husband, Larry King. She was one of the first women to coach professional male athletes as a player-coach for the Philadelphia Freedoms.

Later Tennis Career and Retirement

After winning Wimbledon in 1975, King announced her retirement from singles competition, but she returned two years later and competed until 1983. Meanwhile, she was a dominant force in doubles for many years, winning Wimbledon in 1979 and the US Open in 1980. She continued to play WTA doubles matches on the side until she retired for good in 1990.

King won 39 major singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles in total, including a record 20 at Wimbledon.

Acknowledging Her Sexuality

In 1965, the rising tennis star married Larry King, but she soon discovered she had feelings for other women. In 1981, her private affairs were brought to light by a lawsuit filed by her former female personal assistant and lover. King, the first prominent female athlete to admit to being gay, lost her endorsements but became a torchbearer for the LGBT community. In 1987, she divorced her husband and began a long-term relationship with former player Ilana Kloss.

Tennis and LGBT Ambassador

King was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987 and remained active in the sport as a television commentator throughout the 1990s. She was also the captain of the United States team at the Summer Olympics in 1996 and 2000. In her honor, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in 2006.

King’s achievements extend beyond the realm of tennis. She has received numerous awards, most notably the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. She has served as acting director for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the National AIDS Fund, as well as being a board member of the Women’s Sports Foundation, which she founded during her playing days.

When she was named to the United States delegation for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, King accepted the honor, which both recognized her athletic achievements and made a political statement in opposition to Russia’s anti-gay legislation.

‘Battle of the Sexes’ Movie

Battle of the Sexes, a 2017 feature film based on the 1973 King-Riggs match, starred Emma Stone as King and Steve Carell as Riggs. The film received generally positive reviews, with Stone and Carell both receiving Golden Globe nominations for their performances.

The saga had previously been dramatized in the 2001 television film When Billie Beat Bobby, starring Holly Hunter as the women’s tennis champion and Ron Silver as her opponent.

Further Reading

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