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Billie Jean King Corrects White House: 39 Grand Slams, Not 12


Politico caught up with Billie Jean King after yesterday's Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony and she noted that the White House got some of her stats wrong. 

Said King: "They didn’t get any of my facts right. Did you see all the – how many titles I won? I was cracking up. Not even in the ballpark...I thought it was adorable. Who cares? ..Well the Grand Slam’s at 39 not at 12. That’s not what’s important...Like, just move on, get off the tennis stuff. Tennis was a platform."


King has won 12 Grand Slam singles titles, 16 Grand Slam women's doubles titles, and 11 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles.

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  1. Aw... nice to see she could laugh it off so easily though.

    Posted by: Gonny | Aug 13, 2009 12:01:19 PM

  2. It does bother me that the Obama White House messes up on details - and did not reference her LGBT Activism.

    Posted by: RJP3 | Aug 13, 2009 12:30:21 PM

  3. It does bother me that the Obama White House messes up on details - and did not reference her LGBT Activism.

    ...and the Bush White House would have fared better? Would Billie Jean King or Harvey Milk even been so honored?

    Posted by: DaveFL | Aug 13, 2009 12:35:58 PM

  4. Ummm.. it's hardly getting "the facts wrong", Billie Jean. Clearly they meant grand slam singles titles, which is the main statistic everyone measures in terms of tennis greatness. Doubles is nice, but it's hardly an embarassing error.

    But of course Politico and Andy Towle look for every trivial opportunity to make the Obama White House look bad.

    Posted by: brooklynite | Aug 13, 2009 12:44:38 PM

  5. Billie Jean has done an immeasurable amount to help women edge closer to true equality in society - She was instrumental in pushing for more equitable pay for women in sports, and in pushing for opportunities for girls to play sports.

    However, she's really not done anything significant in terms of LGBT activism. It would be disingenuous for the White House to highlight the nonexistent.

    Posted by: Penetration | Aug 13, 2009 12:45:43 PM

  6. Jesus, you just got the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Try to be more gracious.

    Posted by: Joel | Aug 13, 2009 12:46:19 PM

  7. RPJ3, they did mention her LGBT Activism.

    Posted by: Sam | Aug 13, 2009 12:51:38 PM

  8. wowee wow wow,

    although i support obama and the dems, how could they get this so wrong?

    Posted by: nic | Aug 13, 2009 12:53:22 PM

  9. Thank U Brooklynite. It seems the Gay (male) media has found a new way to generate hits to websites and magazine sales, Obama Bashing. It's the same w/FOX and every conservative outlet. There's nothing wrong with it, this is business, however, it's rather easy and the sign of a "hack". Dan Savage has reinvented himself on the back of President Obama. He and others have tapped the MotherLode. The same one that Limbaugh and Beck have found.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Aug 13, 2009 1:50:26 PM

  10. Most people only include singles titles, as Brooklynite points out.

    Billie Jean King was an accomplished doubles player (maybe the best doubles player of all time, though John McEnroe might have a word or 2 to say about that) and she takes pride in that. As does Martina Navratilova (who never did break Billie Jean King's record of total Wimbeldon titles).

    And some would argue that John McEnroe was an even better doubles player than singles player. But doubles doen't get the glory, singles does.

    But, again, the swipe at Andy is unnecessary.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Aug 13, 2009 1:52:38 PM

  11. again, journalism is about facts, awards are not.

    The Obama staff is referring to her excellence -- in interviews with the journalists she has to set the record straight -- the press has to have correct factual information. It may not have been her instinct to do this .... she just did not want to perpetuate the misinformation.

    She is a delight and I will claim her anyday!

    Posted by: David B. 2 | Aug 13, 2009 2:23:36 PM

  12. Derek Washington : How would supposed "Obama-bashing" articles generate more readers for Towleroad? I would guess the majority of gay males are disappointed with Obama, and some disappointed enough where they just don't even want to read the criticism. (Some gay blogs have just dropped the subject of Obama completely, rather than deal with what's going on). I agree with you on a lot, and admire the work you do, but I think you're wrong on this one. I think Towle is just finally being honest (or at least a little more honest than he's been in the past).

    Posted by: JT | Aug 13, 2009 3:19:30 PM

  13. (Tennis is the most annoying sport anyway. Even the clothing looks dorky).

    Posted by: JT | Aug 13, 2009 3:31:45 PM

  14. On the other hand... I believe that people should be able to speak their mind, whether positive or negative.

    Posted by: danny day | Aug 13, 2009 5:22:34 PM

  15. Derek, I completely agree with you about Dan Savage. He's always had a tendency to spout off without knowing all the facts, but I always enjoyed reading him. Lately, though, his Obama-bashing is egregious and seems to be written (often by his own admission) when he's at bars.

    Posted by: Paul R | Aug 13, 2009 5:36:51 PM

  16. LOL!!! Did Obama leave the "TelePrompTer" again?

    Posted by: RB | Aug 13, 2009 6:54:35 PM

  17. JT: Cool, we agree to disagree. Hmm, maybe we could teach the world to sing......

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Aug 14, 2009 3:46:21 AM

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