Garrett calls on tennis legend for motivation

OXNARD, Calif. -- Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett likes to tell his players there is inspiration all around them.

For Garrett, one such inspiration was a telephone conversation this offseason with tennis great Billie Jean King.

"It was an amazing conversation," Garrett said. "I can remember being a kid seeing her play and obviously being at the top of her field. She was No. 1 in the world for a number of years. I think she won 32 grand slams, 14 singles, 18 doubles. It was one of the most unique conversations I've ever had in my life. She's one of these really brilliant people who says, 'You know I really don't know anything about it. I love watching football. I follow your team. I don't know anything about it.' Then, she'd say 10 things that were remarkably dead on and insightful. She's got this great way about her. She has an infectious personality, great energy. She loves football. She loves competition. She loves excellence and the pursuit of excellence. So we really had a great back and forth and I'm indebted to her for the time that we spent on the phone. I believe we'll continue that relationship. She really was a very inspirational person. I learned a lot from her."

Garrett has spent time with coaches from other sports, including Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, in the past.

While he wasn't sure he would bring up his conversation with King directly to the players, the message he received will come through at some point.

"We all can get better," Garrett said. "I would put that into that category. I thought a lot about what she said about dealing with individual players, about the team concept, and it'll come up directly, it'll come up indirectly, it'll come up consciously, it'll come up sub-consciously. It really was a great visit."