"I came in on the cusp of this women's liberation thing. All I saw on TV were angry women burning their bras."
Speaking via video on ESPN's "Homecoming" show, which honored Billie Jean King today, the best Evert could come up with was a dismissive "women's liberation thing" and the repetition of one of the biggest cultural myths ever: There was no bra-burning during the Second Wave; the news media invented the phenomenon, and people who couldn't be bothered to know what was really happening (we still have hundreds of thousands of those)--people like Evert--are still spreading the false word (not, by the way, that there's anything wrong with burning bras).
Evert is probably my favorite player of all time, but every year, it becomes harder for me to separate my admiration for her as a player from my disappointment in her as a publisher and spokeswoman.
The rest of the show was pretty enjoyable. Maria Sharapova, Zina Garrison and Tracy Austin were in the audience, and during a segment on wooden racquets, King demonstrated what she thought Sharapova would look and sound like if she had to hit with one. She revealed that Muhammad Ali used to whisper in her ear "Billie Jean, you're the queen!" And when she did the "lightning round" of questions with host Rick Reilly, and was asked "What would you most like to steal from Maria Sharapova?" she immediately answered "Money."