Friday, June 27, 2014

King and Collins – Two Generations of Gay Athletes

Tennis legend Billie Jean King is 70. She won 39 Grand Slam titles in tennis, and won the famous "Battle of the Sexes" against Bobby Riggs in 1973 (Harriet saw that game at the USMA at West Point while attending a Tennessee/Army football weekend with a cadet high school friend). Ms. King was outed in 1981 by a former lover, lost all her money overnight to lawyers, and had all of her endorsements yanked.

Jason Collins, 36, outed himself last year on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and became the first male athlete in a major American team sport to publicly announce he was gay while playing. He is a 7-foot-tall, 13-season veteran of the NBA. He was greeted by a supportive public, friends, and family.

In a fascinating interview, the New York Times talks to them both in a Manhattan restaurant about how things have changed in 32 years.