HBO profiles Billie Jean King – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
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HBO profiles Billie Jean King

An HBO Sports documentary on Billie Jean King, a professional tennis player and advocate for women’s equity in athletics, will be aired several times this month.

King received the Hobart and William Smith Colleges' Elizabeth Blackwell Award in ceremonies on campus in May 1998.

She and several others formed a women's tennis circuit in 1970; her 1973 defeat of Bobby Riggs was watched by an estimated 90 million people on television. She was outed in 1981 when a lawsuit seeking palimony was filed by a former girlfriend, and later became a gay role model.

“Billie Jean King: Portrait of a Pioneer” is described as examining her public achievements and her private ordeals. A schedule of the program's airings is available at

The Blackwell Award, given to women whose lives exemplify outstanding service to humankind, is named for Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in America to receive the Doctor of Medicine degree. Blackwell earned her degree in 1849 from Geneva Medical College, later Hobart College.