Billie Jean King

  • Aired:  09/09/13
  •  | Views: 18,768

Tennis legend Billie Jean King talks about her 1973 "Battle of the Sexes" match against Bobby Riggs. (5:59)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE).

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A TENNISLEGEND AND AT THE END OF THE

INTERVIEW I'M LEAPING OVER THEDESK.

PLEASE WELCOME BILLIE JEAN KING!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

SIT DOWN!

THANKS FOR COMING ON.

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME!

>> Stephen: WELL, IT'S APLEASURE AND HONOR TO HAVE YOU

HERE.

>> AND CAN YOU DANCE, BABY.

>> Stephen: THANK YOU VERYMUCH.

YOU WERE WATCHING ME BACKSTAGE.

>> I'VE BEEN WATCHING YOU QUITEA BIT EVERY PLACE.

(AUDIENCE REACTS).

>> Stephen: WELL, I'MFLATTERED.

I'M FLATTERED.

BILLIE JEAN, FIRST QUESTION,PHAOEUPBLG SAYS YOU'RE NOT HIS

LOVER.

MICHAEL JACKSON SAYS YOU'RE NOTHIS LOVER.

>> NOT THE ONE.

YOU KNOW WHO WROTE A SONG FORME?

>> Stephen: WHO?

>> ELTON JOHN.

>> THAT'S RIGHT!

PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM.

THAT GETS TO THE NUT MEAT OFWHAT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT HERE.

FOR OUR YOUNGER VIEWERS, I WANTTHEM TO KNOW WHAT A LEGEND YOU

ARE.

BECAUSE BESIDES WINNING 39 GRANDSLAM TITLES-- SIX WIMBLEDON

SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIPS, FOUR U.S.

OPEN TITLES.

40 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH YOUENGAGED IN SOMETHING CALLED THE

BATTLE OF SEXES WITH A GUY NAMEDBOBBY RIGGS.

>> IT WAS HUGE.

>> Stephen: ENORMOUS.

>> NO SOCIAL MEDIA, ONLY FOURCHANNELS, NO CABLE T.V.

WHOA!

(LAUGHTER).

>> Stephen: PEOPLE WATCHED ITALL OVER THE WORLD!

>> YES.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)>> Stephen: IT WAS INCREDIBLE.

IT WAS INCREDIBLE.

IT WAS LIKE ALI/FRASER, BUT WITHTENNIS.

(LAUGHTER)>> YES.

>> Stephen: AND THIS WAS GOINGTO SETTLE SOMEHOW WHO'S BETTER--

MEN OR WOMEN.

>> MEN CAN BEAT WOMEN EVERY TIMEAT THE SAME LEVEL.

HE WAS AS OLD AS MY FATHER.

>> Stephen: AND HE WAS TRASHTALKING LEADING UP TO IT.

>> TOTAL TRASH TALKING.

KITCHEN, BAREFOOTED, PREGNANT,GIRLS SHOULD BE IN TWO PLACES,

BEDROOMS -->> Stephen: BEDROOM AND THE

KITCHEN IN THAT ORDER, IS WHATHE SAID.

>> BUT I THINK THAT'S A GOODORDER.

BUT I THINK IT APPLIES FORWOMEN, TOO, THAT WE'D LIKE TO

HAVE THAT AS WELL.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)EQUAL OPPORTUNITY!

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY HERE!

>> Stephen: NOW THIS --(LAUGHTER).

YOU'VE RATTLED ME.

ALL RIGHT.

>> IMPOSSIBLE!

IMPOSSIBLE TO RATTLE YOU.

>> Stephen: THIS WAS -- THISWAS DIVIDING FAMILIES.

I'M FROM A LOT OF KIDS IN MYFAMILY.

MY SISTERS WERE ALL ON YOURSIDE, MY BROTHERS WERE ALL ON

BOBBY RIGGS SIDE AND YOU SMOKEDHIM LIKE A HAM.

(LAUGHTER)YOU CRUSHED HIM IN THIS.

AND THIS BECAME -- YOU BECAMETHE BIGGEST NAME IN TENNIS

OVERNIGHT.

>> YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT.

>> Stephen: NOW YOU'RE THESUBJECT OF AN "AMERICAN MASTERS"

ON PBS.

>> "AMERICAN MASTERS SERIES"YES.

>> Stephen: LET'S LOOK AT ACLIP OF THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)>> WHEN HE JUMPED OVER THE NET,

THE FIRST THING HE SAID TO ME IS"I UNDERESTIMATED YOU."

I COULDN'T WAIT TO TELL MY DADWHAT HE SAID!

HE WOULD ALWAYS TELL US "RESPECTYOUR OPPONENTS, NEVER, EVER

UNDERESTIMATE THEM."

IT WAS LIKE HAVING WON THEPRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

EVERYBODY RAN ON THE COURT ANDTHE WOMEN WERE PUMPED UP AND IT

TRANSCENDED TENNIS.

>> ELATION AND FEELING LIKEEVERY WOMAN AROUND THE WORLD WAS

FEELING VINDICATED.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)>> Stephen: I REMEMBER.

I REMEMBER VIVIDLY.

WE HAD A PARTY AT MY HOUSE.

>> DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU WERE?

IF YOU'RE OLD ENOUGH -- BUT MOSTOF YOU ARE NOT.

DO YOU REMEMBER WHERE YOU WERE?

>> WE WERE AT OUR HOUSE IN SOUTHCAROLINA.

I REMEMBER EXACTLY WHERE I WAS.

I WAS NOT ALLOWED TO STAY UPLATE ENOUGH TO SEE WHO WON,

THOUGH.

(LAUGHTER)>> WHAT?

>> Stephen: I HAD TO BE TOLDIN THE MORNING THAT BOBBY RIGGS

HAD LOST.

>> NO, YOU MUST HAVE BEEN A REALBABY?

>> Stephen: WELL, I AMSLIGHTLY YOUNGER THAN YOU.

>> YOU ARE A LOT YOUNGER.

>> Stephen: WHAT YOU WHAT DIDIT FEEL LIKE TO BECOME A SYMBOL

FOR A MOVEMENT?

>> I REALLY ACTUALLY EMBRACEDIT.

I MEAN -- YEAH, I EMBRACED IT.

>> Stephen: YOU USED YOUR FAMETHEN TO START THE --

>> IT WAS A PLATFORM.

TENNIS WAS A PLATFORM FOR ME TOREALLY DO SOMETHING I WANTED TO

DO SINCE I WAS 12 YEARS OLD ANDTHAT IS FIGHT FOR EQUAL RIGHTS

AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR MEN ANDGIRLS, BOYS AND WOMEN.

MY OLDER BROTHER WAS A MAJORLEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER, RANDY

MOFFAT, PLAYED WITH THE SANFRANCISCO GIANTS, A RELIEF

PITCHER AND A GOOD SLIDER.

NOT A GOOD CURVEBALL HE TOLD ME.

SO ANYWAY, I ALWAYS -- I ALWAYSWANT BOTH GENDERS TO CHAMPION

EACH OTHER.

I THINK IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT.

I KNOW IT'S IDEALISTIC BUT IDON'T CARE.

OUR JOB IN THIS WORLD IS TO HELPEACH OTHER, CHAMPION EACH OTHER

AND WE HERE IN THIS WORLDTOGETHER SO LET'S MAKE THE BEST

OF IT!

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)>> Stephen: THESE DAYS THE

ONLY WOMAN WHO REGULARLYCOMPETES ON A NATIONAL SCALE

WITH MEN IS DANICA PATRICK.

>> YEAH.

>> Stephen: ARE YOU UPSET THATWHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER THERE

WASN'T GODADDY.COM SO YOU COULDWEAR A LEATHER OUTFIT.

>> VERY, VERY!

OF COURSE I WAS.

I WOULD HAVE LOVED TO HAVE --NO.

I DON'T KNOW.

>> Stephen: YOU ACTUALLY --YOU CONCEALED YOUR -- YOUR

SEXUAL PREFERENCE WHEN YOU WEREAT THE HEIGHT OF YOUR FAME.

DID IT EVER UPSET YOU WHEN ALINE JUDGE WOULD YELL "OUT!"

(LAUGHTER)BILLIE JEAN KING,

CONGRATULATIONS ON BAG LIVINGLEGEND.

THANK YOU.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE).

>> Stephen: BILLIE JEAN KING,"AMERICAN MASTERS"