As one of the most successful tennis players, male or female, in history, Billie Jean King has shown her strength on and off of the court as an advocate for women's sports. She founded the Women's Tennis Association in 1973 and the Women's Sports Foundation in 1974 to increase opportunities for female participation in sports. Her dedication to the cause of women's athleticism and fearlessness to stand up for what she believes in made her the recipient of the 1999 Ashe Award.
Arthur Ashe Award
The Ashe Award is one of the most prestigious in sports. Recipients reflect the spirit of Arthur Ashe, possessing strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost. The award is inspired by the life that Ashe lived, using his fame and stature to advocate for human rights, although, at the time, those positions may have been unpopular and were often controversial. From speaking out against apartheid in South Africa to revealing to the world his struggle with AIDS, Ashe never backed away from a difficult issue, even though doing so would have been easier. Winners of the Ashe Award strive to carry on Ashe's legacy in their own lives - - inspired by those who do so each day.