Billie Jean King
Tennis legend Billie Jean King
The most successful woman in professional tennis, King was top-ranked five times and was in the top ten for 17 years. But her list of "firsts" and "mosts" — the first woman athlete to earn $100,000 a year, first woman to coach a professional team, holder of the most Wimbledon titles ever, most influential person in tennis — are less important than her impact as a personality and a symbol for girls and women everywhere who are interested in athletics. She has aggressively fought for equality for women athletes, for honest professionalism in tennis, and for a woman's freedom to do and be what she wants.