Billie Jean King Opens Up About Her 'Vision' for the Future of Women's Sports

"We're still working on it — to have equality and to have opportunities and have leagues just like the men," the former tennis star said in an interview with NBC Nightly News

Marking the 50th anniversary of Title IX, tennis legend Billie Jean King sat down with Andrea Mitchell on NBC Nightly News to discuss the opportunities to make sports more inclusive for women.

"When I was 9, I just remember looking out on the field, and my heart sank because for the first time I realized, I'm a girl, I can't play baseball," the 87-year-old recalled in the interview airing Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

"Girls can play little league now," she continued. "I think there is so much more opportunity today. It's fantastic. But then, on the other side — there's so much more to do."

King said she envisioned a future where women's leagues were equal to organizations such as the NBA, MLB, and NFL.

"I had this vision for women's sports. I still do," she told NBC Nightly News. "We're still working on it. To have equality and to have opportunities and have leagues just like the men."

"I mean, baseball is over 150 years old. The NHL is over 100 years old. The NBA is over 76 years old," she added. "So these sports are mature, they're old, but they're there for boys. Girls don't play... So I want these opportunities for girls."

billie jean king
Billie Jean King. Gotham/Getty

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According to the U.S. Department of Education, Title IX "protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance."

Earlier this year, King carried out the honorary coin toss at the 2022 Super Bowl to mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of sports gender equality legislation, Title IX, in 1972.

During the event, King was accompanied by California School for the Deaf Riverside Cubs team captains, the High School Girls Flag League of Champions, and girls youth tackle football players with the Inglewood Chargers and Watts Rams.

"It is an honor to stand with these outstanding student-athletes and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX on one of the world's biggest stages," King said in a statement at the time, per

She added, "It's hard to understand inclusion until you have been excluded, and I am proud to be part of this year's Super Bowl Coin Toss and the NFL's commitment to bring us together and make us stronger."

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