The Los Angeles Dodgers announced former tennis players and longtime partners Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss have joined the team’s expansive ownership group.
King and Kloss are not only tennis champions but also huge social activists, particularly in the city of Los Angeles, where King grew up. “As someone born, raised and educated in Southern California, it is an honor to be part of the Dodger ownership group,” King said.
“Mark Walter and the entire Dodger organization are a first-class operation that have proven to be leaders in sports on and off the field of play. We share a commitment to equality and inclusion, including the LGBTQ community, and we hope to further expand the team’s efforts in those areas as we move forward together.”
King and Kloss join the likes of Mark Walter, the Guggenheim Partners, Stan Kasten, Magic Johnson and many others that purchased the Dodgers from Frank McCourt in 2012.
King won 12 Major titles during her illustrious tennis career, but the Dodgers real excitement comes with adding people with eclectic backgrounds like hers and Kloss’ to an organization that has worked so hard in the social activism field in recent years.
“We’re excited and proud to welcome two trailblazing athletes, social advocates and businesswomen, Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss, to our ownership group,” Dodgers owner Mark Walter said.
“Just like Billie Jean and Ilana, the Dodger franchise has a history of and commitment to breaking barriers, inclusion and winning, and we’re looking forward to them continuing to promote these attributes within our organization.”
King and Kloss co-founded the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, which addresses inclusion and diversity issues in the workplace. The couple also are founding board members of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and they serve on the executive committee of the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF).
“Major League Baseball is pleased to welcome Billie Jean King and her partner Ilana Kloss to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ ownership group,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said. “Billie Jean King is a true American trailblazer who has tirelessly championed for gender pay equality, LGBTQ rights, and diverse, inclusive workforce leadership.
“Through her groundbreaking efforts, she has earned some of the most highly regarded recognitions available to athletes and advocates. Ilana Kloss is well-known for being both a professional tennis player and for her work as the chief executive officer and commissioner of World TeamTennis. We are excited to have them both join the National Pastime.”
Along with joining Dodgers ownership, King and Kloss are also expected to join Walter and Johnson as members of the Los Angeles Sparks ownership group, pending the WNBA’s approval.