European countries they don't play their anthems," said Billie Jean. "I
kind of like ours because it seems to settle things. I don't like the victory
ceremonies at the Olympics, though; they're political. I've become much less
nationalistic over the years."
mean you're less patriotic, does it, Billie Jean?" Wooden said.
definitely not," she said. "But if the song offends some people, it is
their privilege not to stand or acknowledge it."
"It is the
national anthem, though," said Wooden.
The new breed of
counterculture sports heroes and their impact on society was mentioned.
"There always have been rebels with different values and unusual
life-styles," said Wooden, "but it's unlikely they ever have majority
support. Duane Thomas is a subject of pity. Joe Namath and Kareem and Muhammad
Ali are stars purely on their ability. Not many people admire their ways or
their styles. They'd be more of a factor in American life if they weren't so,
consider me radical," admitted Billie Jean. "but 10 years from now my
ideas will seem antiquated. People like Namath and Ilie Nastase don't bother
me. They're another sign of the times. People are finding out athletes are not
a bunch of Jack Armstrongs who neither smoke, drink nor have ideas. That's
Wooden pointed out, "because of these men it is sometimes more difficult
for youngsters to accept discipline now. Every person in the public eye has a
deep moral responsibility to youth and to the public. It hurts to see athletes
endorse liquor or tobacco."
home," said Billie Jean. "I don't drink or smoke. You can imagine how I
felt when the sponsors of women's tennis turned out to be Virginia Slims. It
was a tough decision. If I hadn't played—I'll be truthful—there wouldn't have
been a circuit. I wasn't about to deprive 80 girls of a living, and I do know
people who drink and smoke a lot and also play great tennis."
"I used to
smoke," said Wooden, "but I was ashamed to let my players see
is an individual matter," concluded Billie Jean. "If a Dick Allen can
get the job done living whatever way he lives, that's right on."