updated 03/04/2013 AT 12:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/04/2013 AT 1:30 PM ET
Charles Barkley’s a pro when it comes to meeting his fans.
Courtney Roberts and her friends bumped into the retired basketball player turned sports analyst on Friday at the Village Tavern in Birmingham, Ala.
“He was seated in the bar area and we noticed some fans greeting him and a young man leaving with a signed basketball,” Roberts told PEOPLE. “All of the waitstaff told us how nice he was and how he loved taking photos with fans.”
After Roberts’s group of friends decided to approach Barkley, they noticed he had a plate of food at his table. “I told him we didn’t want to bother him while he was eating,” Roberts explained. “He was very friendly and thanked us and said we could come by later for a photo.”
As they finished their meal, Roberts sent a drink over to Barkley’s table before approaching him again for a photo opp. “He was extremely nice and even suggested we walk to an area where there was more room to take photos,” she said. “He shook all of our hands twice, thanked me for the drink and wished us a great evening.
She adds, “We all became Charles Barkley fans that night and realized why he has at the reputation of being such a nice guy.”
— People magazine (@peoplemag) August 7, 2012