Garth and MJ

By Emily Wagner

Isn’t it almost eerie how similar Garth Brooks and Michael Jordan are?

No, never thought about that? Indulge me for a minute and I may just change your mind. Netflix recently released Garth’s documentary “The Road I’m On” and after watching this and the MJ/Chicago Bulls documentary “The Last Dance” I can’t stop finding similarities. 

Let’s start with the most obvious one. They both excelled and defined their art in the 1990’s. You can’t mention the decade without realizing that they were the top players in their craft. Not just that, but they took their career and globalized it. There’s Michael Jordan wearing a beret being mobbed on the Parisian streets, and there’s Garth selling out shows across Europe and South America, where non native English speakers are singing ever word to “The Dance.” 

The NBA and country music benefitted from their global superstars

Then, at the height of their careers, they took a step back and retired. While Michael went to peruse a baseball career, Garth turned to domestic life to raise his 3 daughters. Interestingly, these decisions came around a time when both Michael and Garth lost one of the most important people int heir lives. Jordan’s dad was murdered in North Carolina, while Garth’s mom passed of throat cancer. 

And of course, retirement just sets up the comeback.

Jordan’s ‘retirement’ lasted all of 18 months and he was itching to trade in his cleats for the hardwood. Garth spent 14 years raising his daughters, going through a divorce, and then marrying Trisha Yearwood. As it happens with all greats, their first true love starts coming back to them. It’s safe to argue that both Jordan and Garth were bigger and better when they returned. Jordan won 3 more championships, 2 more MVPs, and Garth surpassed U2 in tickets sold on his North American tour, with 6.4 million tickets sold-14 years after he had released any new music.

So maybe it’s not so far fetched to think that a honky tonk singing cowboy from Oklahoma and a basketball prodigy from North Carolina have something in common. I think all this proves is we need more documentaries about our favorite 90’s heroes.