Tennis great to address fans during May 22 matchup against Seattle

Billie Jean King Named Phoenix Mercury 2010 Inspiring Woman

Posted: March 23, 2010

The Phoenix Mercury will honor tennis great Billie Jean King as the team’s 2010 Inspiring Woman during the May 22 game vs. the Seattle Storm. The game night will be dedicated to recognizing King as well as local women who inspire others through commitment and dedication to work, family and community.

King, who is ranked among the all-time greatest athletes in tennis history, has won 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles and mixed titles, including a record 20 titles at Wimbledon. She was named one of the 100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century by Life Magazine and is well-known for defeating Bobby Riggs during the 1973 nationally televised tennis match, the Battle of the Sexes.

“Billie is an inspiration to all women not just for her accomplishments in tennis, but her dedication toward raising awareness of women’s rights and equality, “ said Mercury General Manager Ann Meyers Drysdale. “She is a source of hope for many and we are thrilled we are able to recognize and thank her for all that she has done.”

In addition to King’s success on the court, she has pioneered the way for women off-the-court as well. King became the first female commissioner in professional sports history when she was named the commissioner of the World TeamTennis; she was the first female athlete in any sport to earn more than $100,000 in a single season and also holds the honor of the first woman to have a major sports venue named after her. Currently, King serves as on the boards of the Women’s Sports Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

King joins the ranks of fellow Mercury inspiring women Robin Roberts (2007), Ali Vincent, First Female Biggest Loser (2008) and Jackie Joyner-Kersee (2009). Along with recognizing King at the fourth annual event, the Mercury will also be honoring local women of inspiration. To nominate a woman who has inspired others through her community and professional efforts, fill out the form below. Those selected will be recognized during the May 22 game at US Airways Center. The nomination period will be open March 23 through May 3.