Transcript for 'This Week' Sunday Spotlight: Billie Jean King
Time now for our Sunday spotlight shining on tennis legend Billie Jean King. Forty years ago this week she was the reigning Wimbledon champ. Fighting for equal pay for female players. When former tennis pro Bobby Riggs challenge turn to -- battle of the sexes GMA anchor Robin Roberts takes us back. Private pain and ends they knew the man -- there was no it was an emphasis I was so proud. But Billy Jean yeah. I remember being senator recited the pace I was so scared for her. And for all of us that comedy have gone out of Bobby Riggs Billie Jean was you could pop -- pull an awful for a she was she was. Bulls went lately it was a match that -- to -- just about all of us Bobby Riggs 55 years old proud male chauvinist. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- That's 49 year old crusader for women's rights of the feminist thing how important -- them. -- -- no mention of importance in America's culture clash spilling onto the tennis court. With an astounding fifteen million do you. Fans wondering who. You remember any kind event -- any other sport that brought out the emotion in people as this match did forty years ago. Can you believe -- are still talking about it I don't every -- walk out of the apartment that someone's gonna ask me about the -- and they do. But it almost didn't happen Billy refused to play -- until she saw him crush Margaret Court. The top women's player at the times in the first less publicized battle of the sexes I said Donna have to plan -- so you knew at that moment I knew at that moment I had to plan. I thought we -- -- way were changing things through for women and I want that to continue but Billy who have been fighting for equal pay for women. Also worried another loss to the trash talking rigs could set everything back. Conservative volume. -- -- -- running around for a -- Okay. Why don't they don't it's horrible it's been horrible followed the really hard place that the ability it was a -- -- Yeah -- I'll let you know like I really. I just felt I had to win just be emotionally a delight of life and death. Still she never let it show. Starting with that grand entrance. Pulled a chariot by the man from the Rice University track team you're like Cleopatra. And Bob is green with these they've brought in with the with all these -- well endowed women let's let's put it like that we're comfortable with the spectacle. Yeah that was the promoter of the match -- -- feminist. You probably won't want to do this signs that are you kidding it's -- time I love this month by the time the match began. Was all business surging to a first set lead before -- stormed back from what we think that I knew I had when the first I never play three out of five cents. So I -- so important what was billed as an epic battle turned into a rout. -- -- cruising winning three straight sets. You say when he -- the -- To. This -- -- and he was trying his guts out every every point which is why she brushed off new accusations from a man claiming he overheard rigs. Agree to throw the match to pay off his gambling debt. People are upset -- but even forty years later now they are if Bobby beat me. That he had a million dollars winner take all it was fully in his self interest to win this match you came out of them. He does have to congratulate him think again I was supposed to be good and bad myself. I really respect and like to -- is one of my heroes. I stay in touch with Bobby and night before it passed away at talk to them -- -- wouldn't you say you than me you know I understand now -- trying to tell -- did we did make a difference. And I told my love them and tell me love me and I think he was proud -- Look at that it's okay and so many of us are proud of Billy who's now celebrated at the tennis center named in her on here. -- -- -- -- -- -- You want to get riled up today thanks largely to this tennis TrailBlazer and 39 time Grand Slam champion. All four majors -- people prize money for men and women she's Morrison the most penalized -- senator -- -- life. Every woman tennis player every woman athlete should thank her. Personally for building up the sport and confidence in power when. A legacy in many ways made possible by that stunning triumph forty years ago what do you hope that this -- dead. For women athletes wouldn't think that today's players. I hope that it will encourage them to help the next generations. To make their -- better. -- my generation wanted for them. They are living her dream for this week Robin Roberts ABC news New York. Our thanks to Billie Jean king and Robin for that. And now we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice. This week the Pentagon released the name of two soldiers killed in Afghanistan. That's all for us today thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us check out world news with David New York tonight. And George -- right back here with you next week. We leave you with a special tribute to the twelve men and women lost this week at the Washington navy yard. We remember. And.
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