Whether they were alive to see it or not, Billie Jean King's victory over Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome in the "Battle of the Sexes" on Sept. 20, 1973, has inspired generations of people, and that sentiment was shared far and wide on social media Wednesday as Kings milestone victory celebrated its 50th anniversary.

King herself led the reflections, as she noted that her 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 triumph against Riggs, who passed away in 1995, was "more than a tennis match."

"It was a catalyst for social change and one of the most important days of my life," King wrote Wednesday on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, in commemorating the half-century anniversary.

"We have come a long way since 1973, but we are not done yet. Let's keep going for it."


King also founded the WTA Tour in 1973, so it was fitting that the women's circuit, which owes so much to her leadership and drive evident all those years ago and today, also penned a moving tribute.

The tour's official social media accounts called it "arguably one of the most impactful scorelines in sporting history," and that the events of one night in Houston went on to "change attitudes towards women athletes forever."


Other women's sports teams and leagues, including the Washington Spirit of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and the Professional Women's Hockey League, also recognized the anniversary.


Individual women leaders in sports from all generations also joined the chorus of posts, including WTA trailblazer Ons Jabeur, who posted on X that "the battle for equity is still on." Tennis Hall of Famer Conchita Martinez also shared the same sentiments.

"Thank you Billie for understanding the importance and significance of what winning meant and what losing would have cost," wrote Katrina Adams, former WTA pro and ex-USTA president, on X. "Losing was NOT an option."

"The work is not done, but today we celebrate greatness," added Jessica Berman, commissioner of the NWSL on X. "She won, we won. Thank you, Billie Jean."


But women in sports weren't the only ones inspired by King's feat. Former NFL coach and executive Scott Pioli watched the match with his family 50 years ago, and called it a "transformative moment" for not only the world, but for him as well.

"I watched it with my parents and two older sisters," he posted on X. "It was a transformative moment globally & personally. As a mentor, she has taught me so much and continues to inspire me."

Tennis journalist Christopher Clarey, who was 8 years old in 1973, also added his own memories of watching the match on his family's black and white television.

"I remember my mother going nuts when Billie Jean won," he wrote.


While King's victory was monumental in tennis and sports, its impact reverberated outside of sports, too.

Best-selling author Patricia Cornwell was 17 years old in 1973, and reflected on the moment as "a triumph for courage and equality."

Cornwell was one of an estimated 90 million people who watched the match live on CBS.


Recognizing the impact that King has had off the court over these last 50 years, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris posted on X, saying: "Billie Jean's leadership on and off the court continues to pave the way for generations of young girls to dream with ambition."


In a further nod towards the historic nature of King's victory, and her life as a whole, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill in the Senate in conjunction with the anniversary that, if passed, would award King Congress' highest civilian honor: the Congressional Gold Medal.

For three centuries, the U.S. Congress has "commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals and groups to American society," per a press release from Gillibrand's office.

Gillibrand was joined in introducing the bipartisan bill by Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.). The companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in March by Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, and currently has more than 80 cosponsors.

Two-thirds of each house of Congress would need to vote in favor of the bill for it to pass. To date, 11 individual male athletes, and the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, have received the Congressional Gold Medal. King would be the first individual female athlete to ever receive it.