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.”
Sanders also received a ton of letters for the football-playing Sanders while living in Rankin, Mich.
“I used to get letters from kids,” he said. “I read a whole lot of them. A lot would say they were making a report on him and they would want some information.
“They all talked about how they admired him and would like to be like him. A lot of them would ask if he could send them something, like an autograph or a picture or a keepsake.”
Sanders started answering the letters, telling the kids that they had the wrong Barry Sanders, but eventually there was so much mail that he stopped.
“After awhile, you get tired of putting on that 30-cent stamp,” he said.
Sanders moved to Blanchard in 1998 and the phone calls still came, although less frequently. Then, people started calling in search of the son, the Barry Sanders who played for Heritage Hall and is now at Stanford.
For the most part, Sanders has enjoyed having the same name as the Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma State University, joking with people at places like the airport when they recognize the name. But he has never tried to take advantage of it.
Although he did make a point one day to walk up and introduce himself to former University of Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer in a Norman car dealership.
“I said, ‘I'm Barry Sanders.' He just laughed and said, ‘A Detroit boy.'”
Eric Dickerson is an Oklahoma alum and a Sooner fan.
Still, he wasn't sure he wanted Adrian Peterson to break the NFL single-season rushing record this season.
“It's not very much fun to tell everybody that you have the same name as the guy with the second-best single-season rushing record,” he said.
Former NFL great Eric Dickerson still holds that record, and the Norman resident who shares the same name is fine with that.
Dickerson was in elementary school in Enid when the running back was in his heyday. He played football, and even though he was always a lineman, his friends always gave him a hard time about his name twin, who had a distinctive look with big goggles, big hair and an upright running style.
“Why aren't you wearing goggles?” Dickerson's buddies in Enid would joke.
He graduated high school a year before Dickerson retired from the NFL, and for many years afterward, the jokes died down. Because the football-playing Dickerson was out of limelight, fewer people made the connection.
Then, Peterson started making his assault on Dickerson's record.
“It seemed like a lot more people found out who he was,” said Dickerson, who now lives in Norman.
Dickerson pulled for Peterson to break the record.
“But part of me was like, ‘Hey, that's kind of my record, too,'” he said. “I kind of take a little ownership in it.”
Sherry Cole understands the look that's about to come each time she says her name for a reservation at an Oklahoma hotel or area restaurant.
It's one of disappointment and she already has her answer prepared. She's said it enough times.
“No, I'm not the famous one.”
Cole said that's how she responds to the person whose eyes are scanning her for any recognition to “the famous” Sherri Coale, Oklahoma women's basketball coach.
Although they both grew up playing basketball and were both offered college basketball scholarships, they look nothing alike. Cole is a 5-foot-10 American Indian. Coale is a 5-foot-1, blonde Caucasian.
They do both love Oklahoma women's basketball. Coale is in her 17th season as Sooner coach, while Cole dons her Oklahoma shirt and watches them from her home in Stillwater.
“There's more of us than you think up here,” she said of the Sooner fans living in Cowboy country.
Cole has grown to love Coale and what she represents — though it's technically Cole's name.
“I was here first,” Cole said. “I know she got it (the last name) by her husband. This is mine. I was born with it. ... but anymore, I wish I was her because her job and her prestige — I wish I was her. But I'm pretty happy right where I'm at.”