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May 30, 2024

Charles Barkley got a watch from Tom Brady that supports a 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' theory

The final season of the HBO show jokes about how complimenting others seems to make them more generous and give things away.

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Barkley Brady Watch Sports Illustrated/YouTube

Charles Barkley once received a watch from Tom Brady after complimenting the accessory during a golf match. Brady decided to give it to him, illustrating a theory laid out on HBO's 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.'

The golf course is practically a sacred space for schmoozing in the world of sports and business. It's where competition is still friendly enough for pleasantries to become deals. Even the tiniest gestures of respect for others in the group might mean a bit more than they would in another context.

Charles Barkley, an NBA legend and star of "Inside the NBA" on TNT., is often teased for his painfully ugly golf swing, but he's apparently a master of the social charms that come with the game. During an appearance on SI Media's podcast with Jimmy Traina, Barkley shared a story about how Tom Brady gave him the watch he was wearing.

"I've been offered $250,000 for this watch," Barkley said, holding up his wrist to show off the timepiece. He explained he had been handling broadcasting duties for a celebrity golf match about five years ago and made a comment about the watch Brady was wearing.

"I make a nice comment about this watch — and this watch is a pretty penny. I'm talking double-digit thousands. I said, 'That's a nice watch.' He says, 'Thanks, Chuck.' Blah, blah blah," Barkley said. "We do the broadcast for another two or three hours. One of Tom's boy's comes up to me and says, 'Hey, Tom's looking for you.' ... I go up to the clubhouse and say, 'Tom, what's up?' He said, 'Chuck, take my watch.'"

Barkley said he told Brady he was just trying to be complimentary. Brady said he appreciated it enough to give him the watch.

"I've told that story before and a couple collectors offered me $250,000 for it," Barkley said. "I said I wouldn't sell it for any amount."

The exchange is a spot-on example of a running joke that appeared during the final season of "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Creator and star Larry David, who happens to spend much of the show on the golf course with his friends (and enemies), stumbled on the realization that people often give things away when they're complimented for them. In the show, Vince Vaughn's character gives J.B. Smoove's character Leon a jacket simply because he said he liked it.

"It's the 'I Like It' gambit," Leon tells Larry. "All you gotta do is compliment people on what the f*** they're wearing — next thing you know, they're gonna' give you one."

"That's not a bad idea," Larry says. "I bet that works 50% of the time."

The great thing about the "I Like It" gambit is that it really can't hurt to try. The worst that will happen is that you pay someone a compliment and they feel good about it.

Barkley brought the story up when asked to share his feelings about the personalities of the all-time greats in pro sports. Barkley famously had a falling out with Michael Jordan after he criticized Jordan's performance as an owner of the former Charlotte Bobcats. Since then, the two haven't spoken. 

"(Brady) and Wayne Gretzky are the two nicest GOATs I've ever been around," Barkley said.

Most of the podcast examines Barkley's feelings about the uncertain future of "Inside the NBA," which may be threatened by a new TV rights deal that's expected to leave TNT on the outside after 35 years. Barkley has been outspoken about his concern for his TNT colleagues who might lose their jobs. An interview he gave this week to a New York Times reporter prompted frustration among Barkley's "Inside the NBA" co-hosts, showing the level of tension brewing behind the scenes at the network. 

Barkley said last week that the possible end of the show would ultimately end up giving him more time to golf. If TNT doesn't end up retaining its NBA rights, the new deal wouldn't kick in until after next season. That could mean a lame-duck year of the most unhinged version of Barkley imaginable.

"Even if we lose it, we have to do it for another year," Barkley said. "That's probably the craziest part."