India and Sachin Tendulkar
His international debut came a year before India opened up its economy. His rise mirrored India’s early-90s rise, when foreign corporations arrived in India for the first time, accounts swelling with advertising dollars, looking around for a face. They found Sachin.
He was India’s first modern sports star, a combination of Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan, because his rise mirrored a nation’s economic rise, and he forever changed sports celebrity and marketing in India. Once, when an American company executive contacted his agent and wanted to understand what place Sachin held in Indian culture, the agent didn’t quote the number of Test wins, or international centuries. He said, simply, that Sachin endorsed Audemars Piguet watches, and that the company made a model just for him. The executive was sold.
He not only mirrored the economic rise in India, but he has also risen the aspirations of 90s grown kids. He was an inspiration to many.