On Saturday Emma Stone performed a very special tribute to Billie Jean King in honor of the 50th anniversary of the tennis icon’s triple crown win in 1967.
Together with Tony nominated singer/songwriter Sara Barellis, Stone paid tribute to King at a pre-match ceremony at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City, where the U.S. Open is currently being held.
In 1967, King won her triple crown by finishing first in the women’s singles, women’s doubles, and women’s mixed doubles championship at the U.S. Open.
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Stone is playing King in the upcoming movie Battle of the Sexes, which tells another remarkable story from King’s career.
In 1973, King famously defeated ex-champion Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome in a match nicknamed “Battle of the Sexes.” Riggs thought there was no way a woman could beat him at tennis, but clearly he was wrong.
At the time so many people turned in to watch “Battle of the Sexes” that it became the most-watched sporting event of all time.
Curiously enough, during filming Stone rarely sought King out to discuss her character, although King had an explanation for that.
“She didn’t want to because I’m in my 70s, and she said I’m more fully formed as a person,” King said. “She said, ‘I want to know what [Billie] was feeling at 28 and 29 when she played Bobby.’ That’s where she had to concentrate.”
Battle of the Sexes will be released in theaters on Sept. 22.