When I was a kid, my parents warned me about going into billiard parlors or pool halls. Nothing good happens in there, they said. They had never even met the “Black Widow,” Jeanette Lee.
Jeanette Lee, who’s in Seattle to share her trick shots, has become a leading ambassador for the sport with her
“I went into a pool room when I was 18, and saw this guy playing really well”, Lee said. “He was amazing and mesmerizing. I just thought it was so graceful, and beautiful, and something I wanted to do. I had no intention of making it a professional career.”
Two decades later, she’s won nearly every major pool tournament and title available.
The negative vibes about pool halls hasn’t changed much for some, but Lee has opened eyes and attracted new players with her talent, passion, and gorgeous looks.
“The stigma is still there to some extent, but that’s mostly because of the environment.” Lee went on to explain, “I definitely want to class it up. I want people to know this is a recreation sport that’s fun. You can play with any sex, height, or weight. It doesn’t matter any time, any one can play pool.”
Style and class define the 40-year-old Brooklyn native. She plays 9 ball dressed to the nines. Her black cocktail dress is as famous as her ability to sink 12 balls with one shot.
ESPN named her one of the world’s sexiest female athletes, but Lee has never seen herself as hot or sexy. But she said the label helps her forget the scars and pain she endured from multiple operations to correct childhood birth defects, including curvature of the spine.
“I think that’s what I love about the women athletes of today. So many of them are sexy, beautiful, feminine women, who rock!” she said.
With a cue in her hand, Lee envisions herself as Picasso painting on green felt.
“Every time you break the balls, they spread, and it’s up to you to create your own art. Everyone’s style is different, the way that they pull a rack apart,” she said.
Lee lives with her pool-playing husband, George Breedlove, in Detroit. She’s learned to balance her professional sports career with a new passion; mother to 1-year-old daughter Savannah.
“At first, it was difficult because here was this selfish me, all about improving my game, and taking on the world. And then suddenly this little baby comes. I’m getting so much joy from that! I think it’s a matter of understanding there are two different things. One is a hobby, the other is a relationship,” Lee explained.
Speaking with Lee over the phone, you hear a sweet, sincere, smart young woman in love with her family and sport, but don’t challenge her to a game of 8 ball.
As she reminded me, “I think that’s what the Black Widow is all about isn’t it, luring them to the table and eating them alive!”
Lee will meet with fans Tuesday, Aug. 2, 7:30 p.m. at the Garage on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. Admission is free, but you must be 21 or older to get in.