MIAMI, OK — The explanation became routine for Steve Owens: “It's My-am-uh. Uh — not ee.”
Owens, the personable native of Miami, OK, and the University of Oklahoma's 1969 Heisman Trophy winner, would start out with the difference in pronunciation between his hometown and the city in Florida.
“Then I'd go into how it takes its name from the Miami Tribe and that's why it is My-am-uh,” he said.
Another difference is that Miami, OK, is Oklahoma City Thunder territory, said Amanda K. Davis, executive director for the City of Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Thunder blue is evident in the T-shirts, uniforms, flags and messages on multiple business signs, Davis said.
She knows also of at least one youth soccer team called the Thunder. However, she said she doesn't personally know of any Miami (Fla.) Heat fans living in her Miami.
“They are probably hiding if there are some,” she said.
About 195 miles separates the home of the Thunder from the city of roughly 14,000 people in Ottawa County.
But when it comes to the Thunder, it's as if there's no distance between the two Oklahoma communities, said Owens who has a personal example.
“My mom, Cherry, still lives in Miami,” he said. “Mom is 91 and she religiously watches the Thunder. When the new T-shirts came out after they won the Western Conference, my sister Della called me and said, ‘Mom would sure like to have one of those T-shirts.' So, I sent her two.