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How to watch Billie Jean King discuss ‘All In’ and her lifelong fight for gender equity

Billie Jean King will join the L.A. Times Book Club Aug. 24 to discuss “All In,” a new memoir about her groundbreaking tennis career and battles for athletic and social equity.

You can watch King in conversation with Times Executive Sports Editor Christian Stone on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook at 6 p.m. PT. Get tickets and autographed books on Eventbrite.

King writes about growing up in Southern California, the daughter of firefighter dad and homemaker mom who sold Tupperware and Avon to pay the bills.

In this ‘All In’ excerpt, Billie Jean King talks about her first time playing tennis. “That night I asked my father, ‘Daddy, which sport would be best for a girl? You know, in the long term.’ ”

Her memoir takes readers from the public tennis courts of Long Beach to center court at Wimbledon to the epicenter of her lifelong fights for women’s rights and fairness.

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A black-and-white photo of two women with a man in between them, all holding tennis rackets.
From Billie Jean King’s “All in.” She writes: “Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe and me at a 1969 Philadelphia tennis clinic. Althea was one of my sheroes from the first time I saw her play at the Los Angeles Tennis Club more than a decade earlier, at the height of her career.”
(Edward Fernberger / International Tennis Hall of Fame)

“King survived some dangerous riptides while winning 39 Grand Slam tennis event titles,” says sports columnist Helene Elliott. “She caused more than a few ripples too, and carried the weight of representing an entire gender when she faced aging huckster Bobby Riggs in the made-for-TV “Battle of the Sexes” exhibition match in 1973.

“King helped organize the first women’s professional tennis tour and founded the nonprofit Women’s Sports Foundation, which increases opportunities for women and girls in sports.”

Billie Jean King joined Times Executive Sports Editor Christian Stone and the L.A. Times Book Club
Tennis great Billie Jean King joined Times Executive Sports Editor Christian Stone to discuss “All In,” a new memoir about her groundbreaking tennis career and battles for athletic and social equity.
(Los Angeles Times)

In “All In,” King writes about being outed as a lesbian and seeing corporate sponsors desert her “overnight.” She couldn’t tell her parents she was gay until she was 51.

“It’s no wonder an early draft of King’s detailed, accessibly conversational autobiography, ‘All In,’ topped 800 pages before her editors persuaded her that she couldn’t mention every friend she’d ever made,” Elliott says. “She reluctantly trimmed it by about half.”

A black-and-white photo of a woman in a tennis outfit holding up a metal plate while being photographed by a gaggle of press
From “All in” by Billie Jean King. After winning her first Wimbledon singles title in 1966.
(Keystone Press / Alamy)

“All In” is the August selection of the L.A. Times Book Club. In September, the newspaper’s community book club will be reading Jaime Lowe’s “Breathing Fire: Female Inmate Firefighters on the Front Lines of California’s Wildfires.” On Sept. 28 Lowe will be in conversation with Times columnist Erika D. Smith.

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