Same Name Game: Meet the other Barry Sanders, Matt Kemp and others

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.
by Berry Tramel and Ed Godfrey and Jenni Carlson and Jacob Unruh and Stephanie Kuzydym Published: February 25, 2013
Advertisement
;

photo - Barry Sanders, 70, plays football with his six-year-old corgi Rollie at his home on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, in Blanchard, Okla.  He has the same name as a sports celebrity.   Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman <strong>STEVE SISNEY - THE OKLAHOMAN</strong>
Barry Sanders, 70, plays football with his six-year-old corgi Rollie at his home on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, in Blanchard, Okla. He has the same name as a sports celebrity. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman STEVE SISNEY - THE OKLAHOMAN

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

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

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.”

McGuire laughs.

“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

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.”


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
+ show more

by Ed Godfrey
Reporter Sr.
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
+ show more

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
+ show more

by Jacob Unruh
Reporter
Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the...
+ show more

by Stephanie Kuzydym
Reporter
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
+ show more

Advertisement


Trending Now



AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    For the children's sake, put down that smartphone
  2. 2
    Texas woman found buried beneath hail
  3. 3
    Denver 4/20 rally draws mellow crowd; police issue dozens of citations
  4. 4
    News 9: OKC family says raw sewage backing up in their yard
  5. 5
    KOCO: 19 years after Murrah bombing, grandmother shares story of loss, forgiveness
+ show more