Here are some old emails sent to us by former Thunder PA announcer Jim Miller…
1:23 PM EDT on May 16, 2012
Because things are now all happy and full of sunshine in Thunderville, it's easy to forget that the Oklahoma City Thunder's inaugural season in town was a rocky one. The first half was particularly dreadful. The team struggled to a 3 -29 record, invented new ways to lose games and trotted out such standouts as Damien Wilkins, Chris Wilcox and Earl Watson.
And not only was the team terrible on the basketball court, but the game presentation was awkward and boring, too. It was not nearly as polished as it is now. This inspired us to write a post detailing 15 ways to improve the Thunder game experience. Number 14 on the list was:
14. Get rid of the annoying Monster Truck Rally PA Announcer...
Jim Miller is the PA announcer for the Thunder. Somehow, he won the lottery and made the jump from announcing the Bertha Teague Classic to announcing NBA games. Only in Oklahoma, right?
Miller is an absolutely terrible arena announcer. For one, his voice isn’t natural. When he talks into the mic, it’s like he’s pretending to be an arena announcer. This works when he’s yelling “Kevin Durant,” but not when he has to speak in a normal voice, like “Earl Watson with the foul.” He also talks way too much and tries too hard to get the fans in the game. Fans don’t need an announcer to tell them to “Stand up and cheer for your Thunder.” They need a team to do that.
A few days after the column published, an email from Thunder PA announcer turned accused sexual pedophile Jim Miller popped up in the Ogle inbox. Usually we keep stuff like this secret and off the record, but once you're accused of sexually assaulting kids and forcing them to watch you masturbate to online porn, you lose your Ogle Mole privileges.
Anyway, here's what Jim Miller emailed to us:
Hey guys!! Great blog, by the way ... I'm officially a fan. Even though I'm about a decade older than most of you guys, I also cut my teeth on the likes of Gary England, Mitch Jelniker, Patti Suarez, etc. You're really going to have to do something with Clark, though ... the fact that he wants J.J. Redick on the Thunder totally ruins his credibility! LOL
By the way, I'm Jim Miller, the PA Announcer for said Thunder. Read a little criticism on the ol' "lostogle" site recently about some of my musings on the mike there in the Thunderdome a couple of weeks ago, and I thought I would defend myself. All open and friendly, though.
The problem with some of that stuff that I say is that they are not really my words. Since I've gone straight from "high school to the pros" with PA, the game operations guy that hired me (John Leach) feeds some things into my ear there at the table (he sits right by me, directing the various events and entertainment aspects of the game, which anyone will HAVE to admit, have gotten way better with each and every week). I would probably do the same thing if in his position, just with me being "green," the magnitude of it all, etc. And I've even been honest with him ... some of the stuff he wants me to say, I could say in a different way if I was more experienced and had time to think about it, but obviously, THERE IS NO TIME TO DO THAT, soooooo .... you get what you get.
So, I don't disagree that some of the crap I say is annoying. I'd like to think that, other than a few of those phrases that so seem to annoy you guys, that otherwise, you've gotta admit I've got the pipes and the excitement, etc. I was anxious and hesitant the first month, much like the team. However, now it's starting to groove. I'm hoping over the course of the year to discover the ways to say things that won't be "annoying." It has to come from my own mind. That said, I don't think a whole lotta people have a mind wired like mine, so we'll see.
It's a whole lot harder than it looks, and no average chump could come in there and do too much with it. Just like with the team, you're gonna have to give other aspects some time. Again, I completely see the reasoning behind the criticism, and know that's part of being a public figure. Just sayin' that sometimes there's more to it than meets the eye.
Mainly just wanted to respond because I LIKE the blog, not so much to bitch and moan. Hope all is well, and keep doing what you do, and if you ever want an extra opinion on ANYTHING, I'll sure as hell give it!!
In all honesty, it's kind of rare for the people we write about to actually reply back to us. Usually they just send their family and friends over to leave hastily written comments. I emailed Jim back thanking him for reading the site, contacting us and being a good sport about everything. I also included this little nugget:
My only huge complaint (other than "everybody clap you hands") is when you are forced to yell "get on your feet Thunder fans!" What makes the Oklahoma City fan base so unique is that we don't need to be told to get on our feet and cheer. It's something we just do. It seems to lose some of its natural innocence when we're forced to do it over the public address. It seems forced and manufactured. Tell that to John Leach for me.
To which Miller replied:
That's good stuff, Patrick, because, well .... I'm a native Oklahoman, and that's what I've known all along, is that there's no need to say "some" things he's wanted me to say, and you can bet I've got a little more confidence now to tell John exactly that!! (Respectfully, of course ... my career is in his tiny hands)
See, I think the team came in here, and in spite of the success of the Hornets and the fan support, they underestimated the knowledge of the fan base. Like we're a bunch of uncultured hicks or something. (Wait ... we are. What to do, what to do ...) Anyway, I think we're on the same page here. And to their credit, the game operations people, front office, etc., are figuring that out. I mean, one has to be impressed with the support of a 4-30 team.
Yes ... I feel the manufactured aspect, and loathe it. If I run across anything weird, I'll let you know for sure, and thanks for the anonymity ... I certainly do hope you keep my two emails here tonight VERY anonymous, as I wouldn't want it to get back to "The Organization." This is a dream come true, and if I have my way and say, I'll be the best PA guy in the league within 5 years, so there you go.
You guys keep rockin' along, and I'm sure we'll cross paths someday, and that will be good.
After that email, I didn't contact Jim for about a month. Then this happened:
Yeah, some lady nearly died while performing some Houdini stunt during halftime of a Thunder game. At the time, I wasn't sure if the act was staged or if the lady really did nearly drown, which considering how bad the team was, would have been a fitting irony.
To get the scoop, I emailed Jim asking for his take on the situation. Here's what he wrote back:
I felt like I had entered some level of hell that has yet to be explored by humans. The thing is, with the events that followed, and with a little research, I've determined that it was staged (by the performers, NOT the Thunder entertainment staff). She had that pocket of air up in the top of the tank that she DID use within 30 or 40 secs. of being freed. I think it was a put up job. I don't think they'll be back.
But of course, I think (and I don't remember details as exact as I would wish) that Leach was exhorting me to act like nothing was wrong and give them the full "Ladies and Gentlemen!!!! ..."-all-done-with-a-smile outro. So there you go. I wanted to "dead-pan" the outro, pardon the pun. But who knows ... it all went so fast.
That was last the correspondence I had with Jim until I ran into him at a Thunder watch party a few months ago. At the event, we exchanged pleasantries and that was about it.
Anyway, I published these emails for a couple of reasons.
1. To irritate the Oklahoma City Thunder and give our readers an uncut, behind-the-scenes look at the team's game day operations.
2. Because this whole thing weirds me out. I know we live in a screwed up world with sick people, but you never expect to actually know those people. Jim came across as a normal, down to Earth, regular dude. You'd never think that he'd be accused of (and even admit to) such hideous and vile acts.
Anyway, that's about all I have to say. Now I have to go spray down our gmail account with some disinfecting bleach.