Some names carry more weight than others, and for the average person, sharing that name with a famous athlete can be a burden, small blessing or humorous story.
Look at the 2012 ESPN commercial that shows multiple instances where an ordinary man shares a name with basketball legend Michael Jordan. The man is constantly disappointing people expecting a 6-foot-6 Hall of Famer.
In the commercial, the man checks in at the doctor's office and when the receptionist realizes he is not Jordan, the shock on her face doesn't even surprise the ordinary Jordan. That continues with a restaurant reservation, the airport and deliveries.
It's an entertaining commercial, and it catches nearly every aspect of sharing the name of the most famous basketball player in the world.
For Oklahomans, that can happen with sharing a name with sports celebrities such as Barry Sanders, Matt Kemp and Sherri Coale.
Here are their stories.
Matt Kemp has a good-sized stack of Matt Kemp baseball cards. And didn't buy any of them.
“I do get a lot of letters from his fans fairly often, wanting autographs,” the recording-studio Kemp said of the baseball-playing Kemp.
One of those Kemp baseball cards hangs on the wall of RK1 Productions in Edmond. Matt Kemp, not the baseball player, runs the commercial-audio and music-production studio with his father, Randy.
Music's Matt Kemp, 29, is a 2001 Edmond North graduate. Baseball's Matt Kemp, 28 and a Los Angeles Dodger all-star outfielder, is a 2003 Midwest City grad.
“I tell people, we're the same, except he's rich, black and athletic,” said the music Matt Kemp. “And I'm not.”
The music Matt Kemp also hosts a weekly radio show, the Sunday Night Blues Cruise, on KRXO (107.7 FM), from 9 p.m.-midnight Sunday.
The music Matt Kemp grew up a baseball fan. His dad spent some time as the Oklahoma City 89ers' public-address announcer at old All Sports Stadium.
A few years ago, on a business trip to San Diego, the music Matt Kemp took in a ballgame. He was a little late, and when he finally got seated, the first batter up? Matt Kemp.
Mark McGuire earned All-State basketball honors at Stigler High School. He teaches science at Muldrow. He coaches basketball, too.
Still, he knows he's disappointed lots of people.
He sees the looks any time folks hear his name.
“Then they see my face and find out I'm not the real Mark McGwire,” McGuire said.
Well, he's not that Mark McGwire.
McGuire shares the same name, although not the same spelling, with the former big-league slugger, and it has led to a never-ending stream of jokes.
“Oh, you're a lot smaller than I thought you'd be.”
“How many home runs have you hit this year?”
“I thought you had red hair.”
“If I had a nickel for every time somebody made a comment, I'd be rich,” he said. “It's always fun, though.”
As a kid, McGuire loved collecting McGwire's baseball cards, but ironically, he never played baseball. Basketball and track were his sports of choice. McGuire and identical twin brother, Matt, even led Stigler to the state basketball tournament.
Turns out, McGuire is 6-foot-5, the same height as McGwire.
Still, he isn't that McGwire.
“I thought it would kind of die down after he retired, but still to this day ... everywhere I go, there's a Mark McGwire joke,” McGuire said. “I get introduced to somebody or tell them what my name is, I get a double take every single time.
“I guess it's going to keep going forever.”
Barry Sanders, 70, of Blanchard only lived about 45 minutes away from the Pontiac Silverdome when the Barry Sanders played for the Detroit Lions.
“Our phone rang off the hook,” Sanders said. “One guy called and told me he was Bryant Gumbel, but I knew he wasn't.”
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