Women’s sports pioneer Billie Jean King, owner of the New York City WTT KingPins in the new Professional Bowlers Assn. League, thought it would only be appropriate for the PBA League’s only woman owner to have a female presence on her team.
To make that happen, King completed a trade with Motown Muscle owner Jerome Bettis, acquiring PBA Tour champion Kelly Kulick for her KingPins’ roster in exchange for two-time PBA titlist Brad Angelo, PBA Commissioner Tom Clark announced Monday.
Kulick said that she was excited about the transaction.
“Billie Jean exhibits power, confidence and a competitive desire to win,” Kulick told Bowlers Journal International. “I wish to possess those characteristics and be a team player. It's an honor to be chosen and represent such an authentic captain. She is truly one of a kind.”
The PBA League makes it historic debut as part of the Detroit Winter Swing, a multi-event week of PBA competition, Jan. 19-27 at Thunderbowl Lanes in suburban Allen Park, Mich.
King is well-acquainted with Kulick’s status as an historic figure in professional bowling, Kulick being the only woman ever to win a PBA Tour title and or to earn an “exemption” to bowl full-time on the PBA Tour during its exempt tour era. So King requested the first trade in PBAL history to add the 2010 PBA Tournament of Champions winner to her KingPins’ roster that includes franchise player Pete Weber, Tommy Jones, Scott Norton, Jack Jurek and John Szczerbinski.
“Getting Kelly Kulick on the KingPins is a big win for us,” King said. “Kelly and I have connected through several Women’s Sports Foundation events, and we were so proud of her when she became the first woman to win a PBA Tour title. She is a strong competitor, a quality person and a great addition to our team.”
Kulick will now fill the role as the KingPins’ supplemental player, while Angelo, the KingPins’ original supplemental draft choice, will become the Muscle’s supplemental player. As supplemental selections, Kulick and Angelo, who won the PBA Viper Championship during the GEICO PBA World Series of Bowling IV, will be inserted into their respective team’s lineups if one of the original top-five picks is unable to compete.
The Motown Muscle, which also obtained future draft considerations in the trade, features franchise player Mike Fagan, Tom Smallwood, Mike Scroggins, Ronnie Russell and Jesse Buss.
Qualifying rounds in the PBA League will be conducted Jan. 22-25, concurrently with qualifying in the Carmen Salvino, Mark Roth and Don Carter Classics, and the Earl Anthony PBA Players Championship, leading into a series of PBA League television events on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 26-27, at Thunderbowl.
Included will be live ESPN coverage of PBA League Round 1 at 12 noon Eastern on Sunday, Jan. 27. Additional PBA League rounds (along with Salvino, Roth, Carter and Anthony championship matches) will air on ESPN on Sundays (Feb. 10 and 17 and March 3 at 3 p.m. Eastern, and March 24 at 1 p.m. Eastern).
PBA’s online bowling channel, Xtra Frame, will provide extensive live coverage of all preliminary PBA League competition. For subscription information, visit pba.com and click on the Xtra Frame logo.