Tennis legend Billie Jean King and her longtime partner, Ilana Kloss, will be introduced Friday as the Los Angeles Dodgers newest minority owners.
“As someone born, raised and educated in Southern California, it is an honor to be part of the Dodger ownership group,” King said Thursday when the team announced that she and Kloss would become part of the ownership group. The announcement came on the 45th anniversary of King’s victory over Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes.”
“(Controlling owner) Mark Walter and the entire Dodger organization are a first-class operation that have proven to be leaders in sports on and off the field of play. We share a commitment to equality and inclusion, including the LGBTQ community, and we hope to further expand the team’s efforts in those areas as we move forward together.”
King grew up in Long Beach and attended Cal State Los Angeles before embarking on a tennis career that saw her win 39 Grand Slam titles. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the nation’s highest civilian honor — in 2009.
Kloss is the president of Billie Jean Enterprises and former CEO and Commissioner of World TeamTennis. A former No. 1-ranked doubles player and U.S. Open doubles champion, she is a member of both the National and International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
“I have been fortunate to work closely with Mark and Kimbra Walter on some projects, and I’m looking forward to being part of the Dodgers’ ownership group and helping the team expand its reach with new audiences,” Kloss said. “I hope to work with the team at a variety of levels and I share the organization’s proven commitment to excellence on the field and in the community.”
“We’re excited and proud to welcome two trailblazing athletes, social advocates and businesswomen, Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss, to our ownership group,” Walter said.
“Just like Billie Jean and Ilana, the Dodger franchise has a history of and commitment to breaking barriers, inclusion and winning, and we’re looking forward to them continuing to promote these attributes within our organization.”
King and Kloss are also expected to join Walter as a member of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks ownership group, pending league approval, the Dodgers announced.
“What an honor it is to be part of an organization with such a strong commitment to equality and inclusion,” King tweeted Thursday. “Let’s go, @Dodgers!”
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