Emma Stone Reflects on 'Hitting Clunkers' During a Tennis Match With Billie Jean King, Speaks Out on Gun Contr
By Desiree Murphy
Who says you need to be athletic to portray a sports star? Certainly not Emma Stone!
The 27-year-old actress honored Billie Jean King, who she plays in the upcoming comedy-drama film, Battle of the Sexes, during LOGO's third annual Trailblazer Honors in New York City on Thursday, sharing a hilarious story detailing the time the two played tennis together.
"When I began preparing for the role, Billie invited me to play some tennis," Stone told the crowd moments before presenting the Trailblazer Award to the 72-year-old former tennis pro. "Let me be clear about something, I was a complete novice -- at that point I'd had three lessons --and she, on the other hand, is one of the greatest players of all time. So, a fair match it was not."
"I kept hitting clunkers, of course," the Battle of the Sexes star continued, also noting that she remembered feeling frustrated at the time. "But Billie would just say, 'Forget the bad one. Focus on the next ball.'"
That saying stuck with Stone long after their match was over.
"What I lacked in tennis skills, I hope I made up for in my ability to connect with her essence and understand the greater lesson of what she was saying," she explained onstage. "Let go of the negative, stay open and positive -- the next ball might just be a good one.' I feel like that's something Billie has lived by her entire life."
Stone now considers King a "friend" and feels inspired by her accomplishments both on and off the court.
"Even in the darkest times, [Billie] was always looking forward, visualizing a bigger, brighter, more inclusive future," Stone said. "And not just for women, not just for the LGBT community, but for anyone who ever felt marginalized."
During the ceremony, which was dedicated to the 49 people who died following a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando earlier this month, Stone took a moment to give "love to the people of Orlando" and applaud members of Congress.
"I want to thank the Representatives who held the floor of the House to demand common sense gun laws," she said, almost in tears. "I am sure I speak for everyone in this room when I tell you that we stand and sit in solidarity with you. I don’t think it’s ever been more important to celebrate the heroes of equality than right now, and that is what tonight is about."
Later, King took to Twitter to share a collage of pics from the event, including one of her and Stone, captioning it, "Thanks @LogoTV for a tremendous evening. It was a privilege to connect with so many trailblazers #lovenothate."
Additional guests at the Trailblazer Honors, which air Saturday at 8 p.m. on LOGO and VH1, included Macklemore, Laverne Cox, Laura Jane Grace, Wilson Cruz, Jade Sotomayor, Mary Lambert, Rachel Platten, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Lance Bass.
As ET previously reported, LGBT groups, celebrities and public figures took to social media to pay tribute to those who died in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history on June 12. To hear more about Orlando, watch the video below.