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Billie Jean King On The Importance Of Her First Coach, Clyde Walker

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Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) -- a 2009 recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom, our nation’s highest civilian honor – is perhaps more responsible than any other individual for the gains in women’s and girls’ sports throughout the last 50 years. She has long been a pioneer for equality and social justice, founding the Women’s Sports Foundation and the Women’s Tennis Association, and defeating Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match.

King won 39 Grand Slam titles during her career, a statistic partially responsible for the National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, being renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. She serves on the boards of the Women’s Sports Foundation, the Andy Roddick Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation and is a member of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

In this video, Billie Jean recalls her first time meeting Clyde Walker, a coach in the parks system of her native Long Beach, Calif. She uses that experience to illustrate the importance of coaches in general, and of a great first experience in sports catapulting children to lifelong pursuits of fitness, competition and life lessons through sports. The attributes within Walker that most impressed King were his patience and his encouragement to play for love of the game.