This article appears in the Aug. 22, 2016 issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. To subscribe to the magazine click here.
In his long boxing career, George Foreman got around, from Zaire to Venezuela to Alaska to Japan. But his travels were always about the fights, he says, not the sights. So when NBC came to him last year pitching an "alternative comedy series" that would send the then 66-year-old and a trio of equally mature travel buddies—Terry Bradshaw, now 67; Henry Winkler, 70; and William Shatner, 85—on a six-city trek across Asia, the two-time heavyweight champ jumped.
"Can you imagine," says Foreman, "since I won the Olympics in 1968, I've never taken the time to do anything just for myself. From boxing to preaching to business, I've been busy, busy. This was a bucket-list chance."
The resulting show, optimistically titled Better Late Than Never, debuts on Aug. 23. And while the exotic locations, including Kyoto, Hong Kong and Chiang Mai, Thailand, offer colorful backdrops, it's the spectacle of the four long-in-the-tooth B-listers—under the guidance of comedian Jeff Dye—interacting and struggling to function far from their personal assistants that drives the show. "These were some of the most spoiled celebrities in the world!" says Foreman. "But you know what? They were ideal traveling companions."
George's take on each?
BRADSHAW: "Like a bad little kid, getting into everything. I had to keep my eye on him."
WINKLER: "A show-stealing artist. He stole Ron Howard's show back in the day, and he'd try to steal every scene here."
SHATNER: "One of the smartest guys I know. And his energy—he's one 85-year-old who is more like a 25-year-old."
Amid the high jinks—capsule hotels, Samurai school and a DMZ visit—exotic food plays a major role. (Think: live octopus.) And, as might be expected, the champ rises to the occasion: "I decided that whatever was put in front of me, I was going to eat it." Reminded that he pretty much built a second career on that credo, he replies, "But on this trip I got to eat locusts!"
Whether that was on Foreman's actual bucket list, he doesn't say. But the trip and the good times linger. "I miss those guys. We should do it again."