Emma Stone Honors Billie Jean King At Logo Trailblazer Honors

Stone will portray King in "Battle of the Sexes"

Emma Stone, who is portraying Billie Jean King in Battle of the Sexes, saluted the out tennis legend at Trailblazer Honors.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23:  Emma Stone speaks at the 2016 Logo's Trailblazer Honors at Cathedral of St. John the Divine on June 23, 2016 in New York City. Trailblazer Honors airs Saturday night, June 25th on Logo and VH1.  (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Logo)
Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

One of most acclaimed players of all time, King was also the first to come out as gay, which she did in 1981. She’s also been an outspoken advocate for for LGBT rights and for women in sports, arguing for equal pay for female players and founding the Women’s Tennis Association in 1973.

1970'S:  Billie Jean King of the United States hits the ball during a match in the 1970's.  (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)
Robert Riger/Getty Images)
UNDATED: Billy Jean King waits for the sever during a couples tournament. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Focus on Sport/Getty Images

“When I began preparing for the role, Billie invited me to play some tennis,” Stone recalled. “Let me be clear about something, I was a complete novice, I’d had three lessons and she, on the other hand, is one of the greatest players of all time so, a fair match it was not.”

After hitting repeated “clunkers,” Stone says she started getting frustrated, but King gave her some sage advice: “Forget the bad ones, focus on the next ball.”

emma stone steve carrell battle of the sexes
Battle of the Sexes/Fox Searchlight

For Stone, those words perfectly summarized how King lives her life.

“What I lacked in tennis skills I hope I made up for in my ability to connect with [King’s] essence and understand the greater lesson of what she was saying: ’Let go of the negative, stay open and positive. The next ball might just be a good one.’ That’s something Billie has lived by her entire life.”
 

 

In 2009 Billie Jean King was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award that can be given to a civilian in the United States.

Billie_jean_king
Getty

Two years ago President Obama selected King to be a part of the official US Delegation to the Sochi Winter Olympics and she used the platform to speak out against anti-LGBT laws in Russia and around the world.

Below, Tegan and Sara discuss how King has been a role model for them
 

 

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery