The former NBA star talks to ET about competing on CBS' celebrity survival show.
Metta World Peace is testing his limits.
In CBS' Beyond the Edge, which launches Wednesday after Survivor, the former NBA star and eight other celebrities test their mental and physical mettle in the jungles of Panama, where they compete in challenges and endure brutal conditions as they push themselves to go beyond their comfort zone -- all for their respective charities. Other stars along for the intense two-week ride, which does not feature any eliminations but rather allows them the ability to leave the competition early, include Jodie Sweetin, former Bachelor Colton Underwood, Lauren Alaina, Real Housewives of New York City's Eboni K. Williams and Craig Morgan.
The 42-year-old NBA champion "initially" didn't have any desire to sign up for Beyond the Edge when he was first approached by producers. "I didn't think I wanted to do it," he told ET over Zoom on Tuesday. But after producers shared that they thought he "would do well," he reconsidered. "When I got there in the jungle, I was like, 'Oh my goodness, I think I need to turn around right now.' It was really difficult just being in the jungle, making your hut at night."
"So many other things happened that I don't want to disclose," he noted. "But being in the jungle where they removed 16 boa constrictor snakes... and alligators. There's poisonous spiders everywhere. And the spiders, you don't really know where they're at. You can't just find every spider in the jungle. So that was really, really scary, but I'm assuming spiders didn't want to be next to other people. Other than that, it was a good experience, but very, very scary, especially sleeping at nighttime when it's pitch black."
Even in the first episode, Metta has doubts about whether he's cut out for the game, expressing his fears of sleeping in pitch-black darkness outside. He began rethinking his decision to be on the show when he flew in to Panama. "It was times where you ask yourself, 'Should you leave now? Just walk back to the airport,'" he recalled. "Just because being hungry, you want to eat, especially when you could eat here in America anytime you want. Being in the jungle, you got to go get your own food, surviving on bananas for quite some time. I did lose a lot of weight out there."
"I questioned myself a lot, even with the hotel that we stayed in, which is right on the water. Panama is literally a canal and it's surrounded by water. So everything's on water in Panama," Metta later added. "When we stayed in the hotel, our backyard was the ocean. And then, out the front door was the city. And then, a hundred yards across the street is the ocean. That made me kind of like, 'Oh, where are we at?' And then, I knew it was going to be real. When you look on the map, Panama is literally connected to the Amazon. And the Amazon's not a place where I would want to be lost. All that made me take it all in consideration. I just questioned myself so many times."
But Metta acknowledged that going through this journey with his fellow celebrity castmates was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Another reason why he agreed to join the show was partially due to Sweetin and ex-NFL pro Ray Lewis' participation. "I didn't really know anybody else. I didn't do a lot of research on everybody else. But being there with them and competing with them, I found out very quickly that there were a lot of competitors on this journey, on this trip, on this show."
As for the experience as a whole, the most surprising thing was the feeling of camaraderie and teamwork. "Really, really trusting other people to accomplish goals and being able to do that with people you don't know [and] if you have the same goals," Metta looked back, sharing that he was most impressed by Morgan, Alaina and Lewis. "I think that was something I was like, 'Oh, wow. This is really cool.' Some lessons you can take from there. And I think also, how competitive everyone was. You actually had to have different skillsets. You couldn't just be strong or just be fast. You had to be smart also."
While he's been out professional sports for a few years now, Metta hinted that his old self resurfaces.
"On this show, you're going to see some of the Ron Artest, Metta World Peace that played in the NBA," he teased. "I'm not as in good a shape as I was when I played basketball, but the scenarios that they put us under, those different obstacles, it made us compete. And I did give my best. Mentally, I was at times at a place where I would be in the game, in a playoff game. Mentally, I was there, and I gave it my all. Obviously, I didn't want to pull hamstrings. But at some point in time, you wasn't thinking about pulling a hamstring or you hurting yourself. You were just running and working. At a point in time, you had to make a choice. Are you going to give up or keep going? It was sometimes where I was like, 'Wow.' I pushed it a couple times and I was extremely exhausted. It was a really good experience."
But don't expect him to compete on a show any time soon, instead setting his sights on going behind the camera.
"I would likely produce a show like this because you can make all the rules," he said. "Being talent doesn't sound interesting, but producing sounds really interesting. I would like to make the rules and set the traps."
Beyond the Edge premieres Wednesday, March 16 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
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