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Billie Jean King on systemic racism and police reform: ‘The laws have to change’

Tennis icon Billie Jean King told HBO’s Bryant Gumbel she’s the most excited she’s ever been at the opportunity for change: “I feel like I have hair on fire sometimes.”

Billie Jean King on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel
HBO via YouTube

Billie Jean King is one of several sports stars and legends commenting on the confluence of protests over racial injustice and the coronavirus pandemic and their intersection with sports.

In particular, the huge public response to the national problem of systemic racial injustice and the need for police reform has King, a pioneer for equality in sports, especially enthusiastic.

“We’ve got to keep the pedal to the metal,” the lesbian tennis legend told Bryant Gumbel in an appearance on the newest episode of HBO’s Real Sports. “We have to do it every single day,” King said, slapping her hand with each word for emphasis.

King was one of 35 big names Gumbel interviewed over two days last week, according to HBO. They include artist and activist Killer Mike, Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty, Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, former NBA player and activist Stephen Jackson, NHL star P.K. Subban, WNBA star and Turner Sports broadcaster Candace Parker, Penn State coach James Franklin, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Pulitzer Prize winner Taylor Branch, New York Times best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell, and Ibram X. Kendi, author of How To Be An Antiracist, among others.

You can see the episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO all this month as well as on the platforms of HBO GO, HBO NOW, and on HBO via HBO Max.