Sporting Life

At 74, Billie Jean King is still preaching the sermon of entertainment

An engaging radical in a red coat is shaking a 74-year-old wrinkled fist in my direction and declaring "anything is possible". One feels the urge to obediently say: "Yes, ma'am." After all this is Billie Jean King, just off an 18-hour flight, carrying a cough, but still the undefeated sporting evangelist of the world.

"Anything is possible" arises when we're talking equal prize money at the Grand Slams and she's telling me it's not just about the money but the message. It's about the possibilities. "It's to tell girls that are in a village in Africa or a city in Europe... anything is possible." By the time you finish talking to her, you want to go storm a citadel.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2018, with the headline 'At 74, King's still preaching the sermon of entertainment'. Print Edition | Subscribe