Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Why was Jim Gray watching Tom Brady's interview with Oprah in her backyard?

Alex Reimer
June 18, 2018 - 10:40 am

Jim Gray is Tom Brady’s Forrest Gump. It seems like he’s witness to every big moment in Brady’s life, from Super Bowl victories to … an interview with Oprah Winfrey in her backyard?

Brady’s soothing sit-down chat with Winfrey, which aired Sunday on the Oprah Winfrey network, produced little in terms of news. The most noteworthy revelation was Brady’s admittance that retirement is coming “sooner rather than later,” an obvious statement since Brady is, you know, almost 41 years old. 

Other than that, Brady repeated his TB12 mantra –– your body is your temple, mindfulness, meditation –– and tiptoed around questions regarding his relationship with Bill Belichick and the national anthem protests. But just as viewers, or at least this one, were nodding while the GOAT and Oprah chatted in her bucolic sanctuary, the camera panned to show a small live studio audience. Gisele Bundchen made a cameo, just like Brady did during her 73 questions with Vogue. And what would you know, but sitting to Bundchen’s right was Gray, who was smiling and listening to headphones. 

Gray’s presence was neither explained nor acknowledged, which is the way it should be. His seemingly close-knit relationship with Brady is shrouded in mystery, serving as an apparent bridge between Brady’s football life and A-list hobnobbing. 

Last month, it was Gray who interviewed Brady at the Milken Institute Global Conference in California –– whatever that is –– and got the Patriots quarterback to “plead the fifth” when asked whether he feels appreciated at work. The non-answer from Brady sparked headlines around the world, feeding into the notion that he’s at loggerheads with Belichick. 

Gray has interviewed Brady for years on the syndicated Westwood One “Monday Night Football” halftime show, even while Brady was serving his Deflategate suspension two years ago, and opted to step away from other media obligations. The conversation does not resemble the free-flowing nature of Brady’s spots on “Kirk & Callahan,” but rather seems scripted and taped, with neither man ever interrupting the other. 

Last year, Amazon surveyed its customers about whether they would be interested in watching a half-hour program with Brady and Gray, in which they would talk about TB12’s vegan diet, training methods and off-field life. The program did not launch, and many of those themes were examined in the “Tom vs. Time” Facebook series. 

Brady is far from the first superstar athlete who seems to view Gray as a confidante. Gray interviewed LeBron James during the “Decision” special, Barry Bonds when he broke Henry Aaron’s home run record and Kobe Bryant at various points during his career –– including when Bryant called him in 2003 to vent about Shaquille O’Neal. Gray, a Boxing Hall of Famer, has also interviewed Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather Jr. 

So it’s not uncommon for Gray to be in close proximity to athletic greatness. He’ll likely have a front-row seat for the end of Brady’s career and the celebrity socializing that comes after it, just like in Oprah’s backyard. 

Comments ()