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Magic Johnson Recalls “90 Million People” Watching Tennis Great Billie Jean King’s Historic Act

US PRESSWIRE Sports Archive Jun 1988 Los Angeles, CA, USA FILE PHOTO Los Angeles Lakers guard Magic Johnson 32 in action at The Forum. Los Angeles California UNITED STATES, EDITORIAL USE ONLY PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xMPS-USAxTODAYxSportsx 4759330
Magic Johnson recently posted about a legend of her era, Billie Jean King, who was a pioneer in tennis as well as women’s sports. Her enduring legacy started on the court in the ’60s, and continued through to the present day, with a record of 39 Grand Slams, which is no small feat.
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But King’s true legacy lies in her fight for gender equity, showcasing the vast pay disparity between men and women in tennis. She led a fight for equal prize money at major tournaments. This fight resulted in the forming of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) in 1973. It is an organization that empowers female tennis players.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Earvin “Magic” Johnson (@magicjohnson)
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A historic moment in King’s fight for equality came in 1973 with the now-known iconic “Battle of the Sexes” match. That match gained a massive following of 90 million people. King Faced off against former champion Bobby Riggs. King won resoundingly by defeating Riggs in a straight set. This win transcended tennis, symbolizing women’s athletic skills and it is a substantial argument for equal pay.
Johnson highlights the match’s far-reaching impact, stating it “transcended across all sports and pushed for equal pay in tennis.” King’s victory is widely credited with paving the way for advancements in women’s sports, including the current status of women’s tennis players as the highest-paid athletes in their field.
Relationship between Magic Johnson and Billie Jean
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Two iconic names in American sports history, might not be the first pairing that comes to mind. However, their paths have crossed in interesting ways, forging a connection that transcends the boundaries of their respective sports.
In 2012 there was a group that was led by Magic Johnson which purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. Suprisingly, Billie Jean King was part of the ownership group. This joint adventure led them manage the team together. The Dodgers went on to win the World Series in 2020. This made King and Johnson front office champions.
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While there’s no proper proof of a close personal friendship between the two, there’s a clear sense of respect between the two legends of their respective sports. King’s support for LGBTQ+ rights goes along with Magic Johnson’s talking about his HIV diagnosis. These both are challenging social stigmas which face a lot of societal pressure. Their journeys reflect a commitment to pushing boundaries and fight against social stigmas.

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