There’s now an action figure of tennis champ, activist, and lesbian pioneer Billie Jean King that comes complete with “blue suede” tennis shoes and a racket that “smashes stereotypes.” And a portion of the proceeds goes to a good cause!
The six-inch poseable figure is modeled after King circa 1973 when she trounced Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes, which was a step forward in the continuing fight for gender parity in sports.
King’s action figure is made by the Brooklyn-based toy company FCTRY, which has also released figures of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Hillary Clinton, and Kamala Harris, according to Outsports. The King figure is the first to be made with multi-joined arms so that she can be posed as if she’s about to smash a tennis ball with her racket.
FCTRY will donate five percent of the $20 figure to the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative (BJKLI), a non-profit she founded with her partner Ilana Kloss.
BJKLI “Promotes equality in the workplace through global forums, workplace research on diversity and a biennial leadership conference bringing global corporations and universities together to discuss raising the next generation of business innovators,” according to its website.
On its website, FCTRY explained why it chose King to honor with a figure:
“Billie Jean King is the definition of a changemaker. We’re not sure what’s more impressive: her 39 Grand Slam titles or the impact she’s had on gender equality.
As one of the greatest tennis players the world has ever seen, BJK defeated Bobby Riggs in the most-watched tennis match in history, founded the Women’s Tennis Association, and even has a stadium complex with her name on it.
She was never satisfied with just being an incredible athlete. Throughout her life, Billie Jean King’s mission has always been the same: to fight injustice and use her voice for good. She’s been an inspiration for generations and her never-quit attitude has changed the way women are treated in sports and at work.”
The action figure is not King's first foray into popular culture. The 2017 film Battle of the Sexes starred Emma Stone as King and explored how the battle against Riggs (Steve Carell) coincided with her fight (along with the Original Nine) for equal pay in tennis and with her first affair with a woman.