Adidas unveiled a limited-edition Billie Jean King sneaker yesterday, made to commemorate the 45th anniversary of King’s famed “Battle of the Sexes” match.
The shoes, which are part of the Speedfactory franchise, feature the iconic blue the then-No. 1 King wore to beat Bobby Riggs in a 1973 exhibition match at the Houston Astrodome — earning $100,000 for her efforts, which were later documented in the 2017 film “Battle of the Sexes.”
Only 300 pairs of the $200 shoes, dubbed the AM4BJK, were made, and they will be available for purchase from Aug. 27 until they sell out. The tongue of the shoes are NFC enabled, allowing fans to digitally authenticate their shoes and determine which pair they’ve picked up.
“It’s an honor to have these iconic blue shoes modernized and they will serve as the perfect visual reminder of the importance that we must work together to achieve equality for all, on and off the field of play,” King said in a statement.
Today, the tennis star still sees prejudices within the sport, which she referred to on Twitter, condemning the French Open after the tournament announced that it was changing its outfit policy for female players.
In explanation of the revised policy, French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli specifically brought up Serena Williams, saying of the tight-fitting catsuit she wore at Roland Garros this summer, “It will no longer be accepted…One must respect the game and the place.”
King turned the tables on Giudicelli — explaining that Williams’ talent was being disrespected through the policy.
“The policing of women’s bodies must end. The ‘respect’ that’s needed is for the exceptional talent @serenawilliams brings to the game. Criticizing what she wears to work is where the true disrespect lies,” King tweeted.
Others have also poured on their support for Williams, including Nike, the brand for which she serves as ambassador, which tweeted, “You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers.”
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