Growing up in Long Beach, California, Billie Jean King played basketball, volleyball, and softball. In 1954, when King was in fifth grade, she started playing tennis. The second time she picked up a racket, she set a goal.
“I wanted to be the best player in the world,” King says.
Before long, King realized that female players faced discrimination. Boys were treated differently than girls. When she was 12, King was left out of a team photo because she was wearing shorts instead of a tennis skirt.
“I’ll show them someday,” King recalls thinking. “That was when I decided to fight for equality for the rest of my life.”