Tennis legend and social activist Billie Jean King honored with Annalee Thurston Award

The Annalee Thurston Award Reception honored Tennis Hall of Famer and Social Activist Billie Jean King who spearheaded the Original 9 women who fought for equality in the 70’s and signed a $1.00 contract to start women’s professional tennis known as the Virginia Slims.

She captured the attention of the world when she beat male chauvinist Bobby Riggs as the Houston Astrodome with a record crowd of over 50,000 spectators and millions of viewers all over the world who watched it on television.

The event benefited The Love &Love Tennis Foundation and its junior programs that offer free tennis clinics to kids in the Coachella Valley. The Silent & Live Auction brought some good donations, raising approximately $75,000.

The Annalee Thurston Award Reception and Scholarship was established in 2012 at the University Of Oregon Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. Annalee was a close friend of the tennis community and worked for Billie Jean and then husband Larry King in PR and Marketing of their tennis events in the early 70’s. She later went to work for Philip Morris USA in 1994 in assisting with the Legends Tour and retired in 2004 where she went to work in the city of Indio as manager of special events.

Annalee passed away in May of 2007 of a brain aneurysm. In 2017 after The Annalee Thurston Scholarship was fully endowed the event became more local and The Love & Love Tennis Foundation became it’s beneficiary.

The Annalee Thurston Award recognizes exemplary women in their field of sports and business who display leadership qualities and are the best in their field.

Past Recipients: Ilana Kloss, President & CEO of BJK Enterprises, Micky Lawler, President of WTA, Peachy Kellmeyer, WTA Special Relations, Mary Carillo, ESPN & Tennis Channel, Deborah Larkin, past ED Women’s Sports Foundation, Stacey Allaster, past WTA ED & currently President of USTA Professional Tennis, Chris Evert, and Joann Klonowski & Marie Patrick, Marketing.

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