Sleater-Kinney was on Sub Pop, so if you were into Nirvana/Pearl Jam/Soundgarden in the 90's and even remotely curious about the surrounding scene, you may have been at least tangentially aware of Carrie because of the whole "riot grrrl" minor phenomenon occurring with the girls I was trying to sleep with at the time.
Having grown up in a small town before the dawn of the internet, the only way for me to expand my musical horizons was through the foldout catalogs that minor labels would include with the cassette that you purchased. You had to be resourceful back then, or it was Paula Abdul 24 hours a day on the radio.
My EastWest records catalog from my purchase of Transnational Speedway League by Clutch led to owning a Trenchmouth tape, but I never really got into math rock/post-hardcore stuff. I knew of Fred because I am a drummer, and drummers know the name of every drummer from every band that they've ever listened to, as opposed to the names of every girl they've ever slept with.
Anyway, Barkley was a likable a-hole as opposed to Jordan. An easy to root for heel. Also, much less ubiquitous.
I just don't like Jordan since booing him in 1988 at my first live NBA game when the Bulls beat the Cavs. 32 years later, still don't like him.