1. When he came on to bat, the entire family gathered in front of the T.V. with bated breath.
2. He gave little boys all over India the courage to follow their dreams.
3. Because even before he was a professional cricketer, he had set a world record.
By hitting a 664 run partnership with Vinod Kambli in an inter-school cricket match in Mumbai.
4. At 18, he was the first non-English member of the Yorkshire Cricket Club. Indians everywhere brushed off their shoulders.
5. He gave atheists something to believe in.
Because if a 16-year-old can hit four sixes in one over against Abdul Qadir in his debut year, there must be a god.
7. He made commercials as exciting as the game itself… By being in them.
12. He raised the bar for cricket in its entirety, by inspiring other cricketers to be better.
14. In 2010, when he became the first cricketer EVER to score a double-century in an ODI, you literally gave him a standing ovation from your living room.
15. And then when Sunil Gavaskar bowed down to him afterwards, you wanted to as well.
16. Whenever he went up against Shoaib Akhtar, you felt as though years of political conflict were being settled on the cricket pitch.
17. Whenever he got out, you felt a sense of abject doom, like the game itself had lost its meaning.
18. And when his batting style slowed down in the mid-2000s, you (along with the rest of India) panicked and thought he was depressed.
19. But he made it acceptable to display emotion.
Like when India lost to Pakistan by 12 runs in a 1999 Chennai test match, and he reportedly cried for 12 hours afterwards.
20. During the 1999 World Cup, when he hit a century against Kenya immediately after attending his father’s funeral, your hairs stood on end.
21. He taught you to be proud of, and loyal to, your hometown.
After hitting a century in a 2008 match, he dedicated the victory to the victims of terrorism in Mumbai, his hometown.
22. And he taught you to always put your team first.
During his test debut against Pakistan, he was injured and bleeding, but continued to bat, ultimately winning the game for India.
23. You’ve read this paragraph multiple times but it still gives you goosebumps:
Originally published in Time Magazine.