Music and sports are integral to America’s cultural fabric. The names and faces of many national icons transcend their work on the field or in the studio. Athletes and singers both play to the roar of the crowd, but that’s not where their similarities end. If last week’s Grammy’s awards are any indication, some personalities are so pervasive across both entertainment industries that they warrant comparison to one another. Chance the Rapper and Jimmy Butler may be summer friends, but they have a lot more in common than you might think. We’ve found that titans from both worlds often reflect one another.
Adele — David Beckham
Adele’s voice is graceful and elegant, so it was of little surprise when she cruised to five Grammy awards during last week’s award ceremony. She effortlessly floats from octave to octave whilst at the same time is able to convey raw emotion to an almost unrivaled degree. But Adele’s working class cackle peeks through when she speaks in interviews. She followed her dream all the way to the top.
On the pitch, Beckham, too, was graceful. He would carve teams apart seemingly at ease and would not visibly display the strains of exertion like most other players. Off the pitch, he earned the nickname “golden balls” as his rippling abs and courteous behavior made him the darling of England. He, like Adele, has moments where he stirs up emotion like few others can. One only has to look back to his last-minute free kick against Greece that sent England to the World Cup and drove the entire nation into a frenzy. The back-story behind his success is much like Adele’s as well. Beckham was born the child of a hairdresser and kitchen-fitter in London. Beckham is often cited as the perfect man, and yet his own working-class accent is often the one blemish to which people point.
Adele and David Beckham share the narrative of working-class kids from London with big dreams. They stuck with it and rose through the ranks to become national treasures and earn international praise.
Beyoncé — Ronda Rousey
Beyoncé is known for being independent and fearless. “Queen Bey” picked up two more Grammy awards last week on top of the 18 she has previously won. She dominates the stage at every given opportunity and, while she and Jay-Z are a high-profile couple, she often outshines her male counterpart. She uses her platform to promote the empowerment of women. Beyoncé’s latest work, “Lemonade,” cites the difficult times she has recently faced after encountering a rough patch in her marriage and depicts the complex experience of women in America.
What better example of a female boss in sport than Ronda Rousey. Rousey rose to fame with her ruthless performances in the octagon and soared to stardom quickly. Her boundless talent shone through to the point where she became arguably a bigger draw than any of the male fighters in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and undoubtedly the biggest female star in the scene. Rousey carries a similar message as Beyoncé away from the sport as well.
“I have this one term for the kind of woman that my mother raised me to not be. I call it a ‘do-nothing b****’,” Rousey said. This phrase was later used in concert by Beyoncé who identified with the message.
Like Beyoncé, she, too, has faced challenging times as of late, after her first career loss to Holly Holm was compounded by a second consecutive defeat to Amanda Nunes, but with the talent she possesses it seems inevitable that she will put that behind her.
Chance the Rapper — Jimmy Butler
Chance the Rapper has been churning out catchy hits so consistently that his journey from underground favorite to hip-hop superstar has gone largely unnoticed. The Chicago-born rapper has risen to the top as his three-Grammy haul proved last week. As his profile has risen, he has found himself representing the entire city of Chicago.
The comparison between Chance and Jimmy Butler is an easy one. The two are real life friends and their relationship was recently documented on The Undefeated.
“The union between music and sports is nothing new, especially in a city like Chicago, where the fabric of both are so often used to heal, to inform and to explain,” writer Justin Tinsley said.
Butler, too, has quietly become one of the NBA’s superstars, producing one impressive performance after another. He has continued to improve, and now, like Chance, is receiving recognition in the form of his first start in an NBA all-star game. Abandoned by his mother, Butler eventually found a home with the Bulls and is in many ways Chicago’s adopted son.
These two have both become incredibly important to the city they call home. They have become role models due to their successes and will carry that burden with them as modern day Chi-Town icons.
Drake — Roger Federer
Drake was once again all over the Grammy nomination list this year, winning two — a sign that one of the biggest names in hip-hop right now isn’t going anywhere soon. Drake has reached an almost untouchable summit and has done so without the hard-nosed attitude that many of his predecessors have displayed. He’s a “controlla” of the industry. In a genre that often centers around violence, Drake has steered clear and seems elegant in his regality. Many artists have tried to knock Drake from his perch, yet he remains a “controlla” of the industry.
Similarly, people have been waiting for Roger Federer to fade away for years, and earlier this year many felt it had finally happened. Federer walked into the Australian Open having missed the end of last year’s season due to injury. It seemed as though Federer’s days of dominance were over and a new generation was ready to step up and take over his kingdom. Yet, Federer defeated every opponent over the two weeks and capped it off with a thrilling victory over his long-time adversary Rafael Nadal, a rivalry longer and more evenly matched than that of Drake and Meek Mill. Federer also carries himself with the same untouchable grace as Drake and is not drawn into the common dogfights that can arrive in the personal sport of tennis.
These are two champions that over the course of years have won over millions of hearts and become fan-favorites. What’s arguably more impressive about both their stories is how they continue to lead the way even after they have reached the summit.