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Billie Jean King

  • I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion.

    • Billie Jean King,
    • in Sportswoman ()
  • [On tennis:] A perfect combination of violent action taking place in an atmosphere of total tranquility.

    • Billie Jean King,
    • with Kim Chapin, Billie Jean ()
  • ... victory is fleeting, but losing is forever ...

    • Billie Jean King,
    • with Kim Chapin, Billie Jean ()
  • Being Number One isn't everything to me, but for those few hours on the court it's way ahead of whatever's in second place.

    • Billie Jean King,
    • with Kim Chapin, Billie Jean ()
  • I hate being called a homosexual because I don't feel that way. It really upsets me ... Being gay can happen in any walk of life, in any world. If you have one gay experience, does that mean you're gay? If you have one heterosexual experience, does that mean you're straight? Life doesn't work quite so cut and dried.

    • Billie Jean King,
    • in People ()
  • You've got to win in sports — that's talent — but you've also got to learn how to remind everybody how you did win, and how often. That comes with experience.

    • Billie Jean King,
    • with Frank Deford, Billie Jean ()
  • It's really impossible for athletes to grow up. As long as you're playing, no one will let you. On the one hand, you're a child, still playing a game. And everybody around you acts like a kid, too. But on the other hand, you're a superhuman hero that everyone dreams of being. No wonder we have such a hard time understanding who we are.

    • Billie Jean King,
    • with Frank Deford, Billie Jean ()
  • The main thing is not a matter of wanting to win; the main thing is being scared to lose.

    • Billie Jean King,
    • with Frank Deford, Billie Jean ()
  • The trouble with being number one in the world — at anything — is that it takes a certain mentality to attain that position in the first place, and that is something of a driving, perfectionist attitude, so that once you do achieve number one, you don't relax and enjoy it.

    • Billie Jean King,
    • with Frank Deford, Billie Jean ()
  • I have often been asked whether I am a woman or an athlete. The question is absurd. Men are not asked that. I am an athlete. I am a woman.

    • Billie Jean King,
    • with Frank Deford, Billie Jean ()
  • Marriage isn't a 50-50 proposition very often. It's more like 100-0 one moment and 0-100 the next.

    • Billie Jean King,
    • in Anatole Broyard, "Gut Truths From Billie Jean," New York Times ()
  • Failure is feedback.

    • Billie Jean King,
    • in Molly Jay, ed., The Winning Woman ()
  • Each point I play is the now moment: the last point means nothing; the next point means nothing.

    • Billie Jean King,
    • in Molly Jay, ed., The Winning Woman ()
  • Reputation is what others think about you. What's far more important is character, because that is what you think about yourself.

    • Billie Jean King,
    • in Marlo Thomas, ed., The Right Words at the Right Time ()
  • Champions keep playing until they get it right.

    • Billie Jean King
  • Champions take responsibility. When the ball is coming over the net, you can be sure I want the ball.

    • Billie Jean King
  • A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning.

    • Billie Jean King
  • It's about learning your craft. That's a wonderful thing — especially with today's consumerism and instant gratification. You can't buy that. It's about making decisions, corrections, choices. I don't think it's so much about becoming a tennis player. It's about becoming a person.

    • Billie Jean King,
    • with Frank Deford, Billie Jean ()

Billie Jean King, U.S. champion tennis player

(1943)

Full name: Billie Jean Moffit King.