Other sporting icons who received similar honour

Former India captain MS Dhoni made the number 7 jersey his own during his playing days and now the BCCI has decided to officially retire the number as per a report. This marks the second instance of such a tribute by BCCI, after the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar’s legendary No 10 jersey in 2017.

Retiring jerseys has been quite common since the numbers on certain jerseys become iconic and become symbols of greatness, honour, and remembrance. The practice of retiring jersey numbers is one of the most powerful traditions in the game as it speaks volumes of the indelible impact and legacy left by iconic athletes.

Back in 2017, BCCI took a unique step in 2017 by ‘unofficially’ retiring Sachin Tendulkar’s No 10 jersey. This gesture marked the end of an era in Indian cricket.

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Australia, too, was witness to one of cricket’s biggest tragedies when Phil Hughes passed away after being struck by a bouncer during a Sheffield Shield game. Australia retired the No 64 jersey in 2014, honouring the memory of Phil Hughes.

Football too has seen its share of jersey retirements, with Napoli retiring the No 10 shirt in 2000 as a tribute to the legendary Diego Maradona. The impact of Maradona’s brilliance on the field and his connection with the club was exemplary and this gesture was a fitting homage.

In Italy too, Inter Milan and AC Milan retired the No 4 and 3 jerseys in tribute to Javier Zanetti and Paolo Maldini, respectively. Both these defenders were iconic and were exceptional for their respective sides.

We now head across to America, where Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat both retired the No 23 jersey in homage to Michael Jordan — who is one of the greatest basketball players in the history of the game.

In basketball, Los Angeles Lakers too retired both No 8 and No 24 in honour of Kobe Bryant after his retirement. Bryant tragically passed away in 2020 and this gesture solidified his status as a Lakers legend and a global basketball icon.

The New York Cosmos, a football team, retired the No 10 jersey in honour of the legendary Pelé, who was part of the side for two years. This speaks volumes about Pelé’s enduring legacy and his contribution to the growth and popularity of the game in the United States.

These symbolic gestures in many ways are considered to be a bridge between the past and the present. It is one sure way of ensuring that legacies never get forgotten and they remain eternally woven into the fabric of the games they graced.

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