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Billie Jean King 2

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Q & A with Billie Jean King

The setting is the acclaimed venue for writers and celebrities, Changing Hands Book Store in Tempe Arizona. Members of the audience posed questions to Billy Jean King.

BJK @ Changing Hands (CableMuse.com) Ben Cable
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Who is your most difficult opponent?

BJK: Besides myself? My most difficult opponent…first it’s yourself, believe me, in life, right? So, be nice to yourself. Be good to yourself. That’s very important, to value yourself. Hear your voice, both boys and girls, hear your own voice. Make sure you hear it, listen to your gut, listen to it, it’s telling you something, believe in yourself all that.

I would say that, well, it’s obvious. Maria Bueno, I was a generation after Maria Bueno the great Brazilian tennis player. Then I had to beat her and then I had to play Margaret Court, with those long arms. She was very tall. Then of course, Kris ‘America’ comes along, Kris Evert. Then Martina Navratilova! Yikes! So, yeah, beat them when you’re a little bit older, when they first come up and then they start beating you…and it’s, it’s the way the season starts, the rhythm of life. Any way, I’m a big believer in vets passing the torch down to the next generation. We all stand on the shoulders of the people, who came before us, and you want the kids to stand on your shoulders, you really do. That’s what made it fun for me. I really have fun. I still text message all the kids, like Venus and Serena…Maria, Annie, Rob… and Rob really likes text messaging.

Is Bobby Riggs still alive?

Billie Jean King (CableMuse.com) Ben Cable
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BJK: Bobby Riggs is not, sadly, he died about ten years ago from prostate cancer. I stayed in touch with him up to that moment. I had total respect for him, that’s why I beat him. (audience laughter). You think I’m kidding, that’s why, because I grew up with Bobby Riggs stories in Southern California. I’m from Long Beach, he’s from Southern California. Eleanor Tenant, a woman, taught him. That male chauvinist was taught by a woman! What are you gonna do Bobby baby?! So any way, since I love history so much, I always tell young people, the more you know about history, the more you learn about yourself. So any way, I loved this guy and I really respected and appreciated him before I played him and I think that made a big difference.

He didn’t know a thing about me. Do you know why? Because he’s of the dominant group, dominant groups are always talking (about) the kids over there. Dominant groups don’t know anything about the sub-dominant groups. But, sub-dominant groups know a lot about the dominant group.

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