Metta World Peace has gone from the NBA court to the Dancing with the Stars ballroom, Celebrity Big Brother house, and the Lip Sync Battle stage. The champion basketball player has built quite the reality show competition résumé. However, he’ll be the first to tell you Beyond the Edge is a whole different ball game.
From producers of Naked and Afraid, the new CBS series sees nine celebrities venture to the Panama jungle for an ultimate test of survival. Metta joins Super Bowl MVP Ray Lewis, country superstars Craig Morgan and Lauren Alaina, supermodel Paulina Porizkova, NFL legend Mike Singletary, Full House/Fuller House’s Jodie Sweetin, The Bachelor’s Colton Underwood, and The Real Housewives of New York City’s Eboni K. Williams.
They’ll compete in a number of challenges over the course of two weeks, all in the name of winning money (around $750,000 up for grabs!) for their respective charities. In the end, the top two earners will face off in a final adventure. Who will endure, pushing their limits and not ring out and tell host Mauro Ranallo they quit?
Here, Metta reflects on his journey away from family and civilization in the remote wilderness.
You’ve been on your share of reality shows. How did this one compare?
Metta World Peace: I think this one was different because we were in the jungle and for a cause. I didn’t want to do it, but there was something in me saying, “Do it for the greater good.” One part of me said, “Don’t do it,” while the other part said, “You got to do it.”
There are a lot of physical and mental challenges. Did you do anything to prepare leading up to filming?
Not really. I went into it with no expectations and blindly. I probably should have done some research.
How much camping experience do you have?
I’ve never camped in my life. I had no skills. It was all new.
I know you and Jodi bonded through your experience making the 2021 Tubi special Celebrity Exorcism. How would you describe your friendship?
Being on that with her, I was inspired. I was a real fan and happy with how her life is. She is such a great person. When I found out she was going to be on this show, I thought it would be great. That was a reason to be on the show. Being in the jungle—when I first heard that, I thought I would pass. Then I found out it was a huge opportunity and that I would have a good time. The producers and everyone made me feel comfortable. It was still tough and wasn’t easy, but I’m happy I did it.
There is a vulnerability shown by these celebrities. How was it showing that side?
I’m okay telling people that even though I’m a big boy, I’m afraid of the jungle. It’s reality. I don’t like things I’m not used to. I don’t mind showing that.
How was it seeing the exotic animals, reptiles like snakes?
That’s a whole other issue. I like dogs, but some of the other wild animals I’m not too fond of. I was able to get over that a bit.
Was there anyone in the group you built a surprising friendship with?
I listen to country music but often don’t know the artist. You may put on top song stations and not know. I didn’t know Lauren or Captain Morgan. I keep calling Craig, Captain Morgan. They were singing a lot. They have great voices. Sometimes we were able to get through our day by listening to them sing.
Tell me about the challenges.
There was quicksand-like mud. You’re going to see us in these waters. You’ll see running with mules, doing things together as a team, rock-climbing mountains. So many crazy things.
There is the charity component. I’m sure that weighed on you to do well in the competition—especially, considering Artest University is an organization with your name on it.
We focus on helping adults and youths understand parenting and partnership. We also want to help the youth understand what it takes to be a CEO. We want to focus on family and give them a better chance to be successful. It’s great to have the opportunity to help. What we do is focus on sports and partner up with organizations including local schools and teams to help them too.
What lesson did you take away from the experience?
The main thing was feeling serenity, to sit back and enjoy nature. I have more respect for it now.
Overall, how would you sum up your time there?
It was the closest I’ve experienced to game 7, winning the NBA championship. It may have surpassed it.
Is there one reality show out there you haven’t been on that you’d liked to do next?
[Laughs] If I tell you and say it, then it might come true. So, I’m not going to say it. I don’t need a reason to say, “Yes.”
Give me a hint.
Alright, I’ll say it. My wife loves The Amazing Race.
Beyond the Edge seems like good training for it.
Well, that is true.
Beyond the Edge, Series Premiere, Wednesday, March 16, 9/8c, CBS