Tennis and CBE Alumna Billie Jean King Receives the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award

Billie Jean King

The first LGBTQ+ recipient of the award, King says it's a "better world" than she found it...

Tennis Legend and CBE Alumna, Billie Jean King, was recently awarded the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award at the 2021 Sports Illustrated Awards hosted by the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. 

Established in 2015, the award celebrates athletes who have dedicated their careers to both sportsmanship and utilizing their platform to make a positive global impact. 

The first LGBTQ+ recipient of the award, King says it’s a “better world” than she found it, noting that “people can talk about their sexuality now and not get in trouble or lose their endorsements immediately.”

A champion for gender equality and social justice, King is best known for establishing the Women’s Tennis Association in 1973. She also founded the Women’s Sport Foundation which Laila Ali, Muhammad Ali’s daughter, served as president from 2011-2012.

King stated, “I knew him so it means a lot more to me knowing him as a person and a friend.” She added, “Just being in the proximity of him, being near him, and being able to look in his eyes and have a great discussion about family, sports, or whatever.” 

With 39 Grand Slam titles, the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, and World TeamTennis – a mixed-gender professional tennis league – under her belt, Billie continues adding to her legacy.