A Simple 2-Word Response Set Bill Belichick and Charles Barkley on the Path to Being ‘Great’ Friends

Hollywood, we have an idea for you. Coming in the summer of 2023: a buddy cop movie starring Bill Belichick and Charles Barkley.

We can all agree that the duo immediately sounds like quite the odd couple. Belichick is the soft-spoken and cold-hearted football mastermind who has won six Super Bowl rings as the New England Patriots’ head coach. Barkley, an NBA All-Star in the 1980s and 1990s, is a snarky man who never holds back on an opinion.

During a recent interview, Barkley explained how the two have been close friends for nearly 30 years despite their differing personalities.

Bill Belichick and Charles Barkley became friends after having dinner

NBA legend Charles Barkley (L) and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
NBA legend Charles Barkley and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick became very close friends over dinner | Stacy Revere/Getty Images for The Match; Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

With how fun and affable a man Barkley is, maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised that he and Belichick, of all people, have such a close relationship.

During a recent appearance on Peacock’s Brother From Another, Barkley recalled meeting Belichick in the 1990s when the latter coached the Cleveland Browns. Mike Fratello, then coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers, told Barkley that Belichick was a fan of the All-Star forward.

Fratello then asked Barkley if he’d go out to dinner with Belichick. Barkley replied, “Of course.” The rest, Barkley explained, is history.

“We had a great time at dinner, and we stayed in touch all these years. And I go up to Foxborough, you know, every chance I get to go to a game. And I bumped into [Tom Brady] quite a few times. But Coach Belichick has been a great friend and man.”

Charles Barkley

Barkley also made it clear where he feels Belichick stands on the rankings of greatest coaches in NFL history.

“You talk about the GOAT,” Barkley said, using the acronym for ‘Greatest of All Time’ when praising his close friend. “He’s the GOAT.”

Belichick has lived up to his part of the friendship

If a cynical part of your brain told you that Barkley’s love and respect for Belichick is one-sided, Belichick wants you to know the opposite is true.

While at a press conference ahead of Super Bowl 53 in 2019, Belichick was asked if he’d donate one of his championships to Barkley, who never won the NBA Finals. Belichick didn’t offer to give away the Lombardi Trophy, but he nonetheless provided a heartwarming answer.

“I love Charles Barkley. That guy is one of the most impressive people that I’ve ever met. I love Charles Barkley.”

Bill Belichick

And yes, Belichick smiled when he answered the question. Perhaps that’s why the highly-anticipated offensive matchup between the Patriots and Rams only resulted in 16 total points. Luckily for Belichick, the Patriots had 13 of those points en route to the team’s sixth Super Bowl title.

Barkley and Brady also have a close friendship

For someone who has had some harsh words about the Boston Celtics over the years, Barkley certainly appreciates two of the greatest figures ever to represent the Patriots.

Years after he first met Belichick in Cleveland, Barkley built a relationship with Brady, who spent 20 years playing for Belichick on the Patriots. The two have golfed together — Brady admitted earlier this year that Barkley had harsh words for his golf game — and are close competitors on the links. Barkley recently called Brady the greatest athlete of all time and said it’s “not even close.”

In the end, this all is a testament to who Barkley is as a person. For all of his hot takes and controversial comments, he’s able to create longstanding friendships with some of the most influential figures in sports history, even if they have significantly different backgrounds.

Only time will tell which team Barkley supports when Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play Belichick’s Patriots on Sunday, October 3. For all we know, maybe he’ll wear one of Belichick’s game-used hoodies and a “TB12” hat.

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