Billie Jean King and partner Ilana Kloss have joined the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group. The announcement was made by the Dodgers.
King issued this official statement: “They share a commitment to equality and inclusion, including the LGBTQ community, and we hope to further expand the team’s efforts in those areas as we move forward together.”
Mark Walter, the Dodgers main owner and Presidend, added: “Just like Billie Jean and Ilana, the Dodger franchise has a history of commitment to breaking barriers, inclusion and winning, and we’re looking forward to them continuing to promote these attributes within our organization.”
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, who called Billy Jean a “true American trailblazer”, commented: “We are excited to have them both join the national pastime.”
Billie Jean King, born 1943 as Billie Jean Moffitt, was one of the top tennis players of all time. She won six times Wimbledon, four times the US Open, two times the Australian Open and one time the French Open. In 1965 she married Lawrence King. After her divorce (1987) she confessed an intimate relation with her secretary Marilyn Bennett. She later declared that “expressing her sexual orientation” was the hardest battle she had to fight.
King led player’s efforts to support professional women’s tennis. She has been involved in the Women’s Sport Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
Ilana Kloss, born in 1956 in South Africa, was also a professional tennis player. She ranked number 19 in the world in singles, but ranked number 1 (1976) in doubles. She won 19 titles in doubles, including the 1976 US Open.
In 2014, Billie Jean and Ilana co-founded the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, which addresses diversity and inclusion in the workplace.