Hosting the 19th annual Days of Our Lives Celebrity Basketball Game, James Reynolds (Abe) invited many of his castmates to show off their athletic abilities for a good cause. Benefiting the South Pasadena High School basketball program and Reynolds’ own Fremont Centre Theatre, fans of Days had the opportunity to attend the game, bid on several auction items and of course mingle with their favorite Salemites. As a member of the soap press, I was invited to the event where I was able to chat with some of the actors during their pre-game warm up.
According to James Reynolds, this event is something of a labor of love for him, as well as his wife and son, who also participate in the yearly game. “We’re huge basketball fans. We’re big fans as a family so it’s a natural for us. It’s a great way to express something we really like and at the same time, really help people.”
As for garnering support for the game, it’s pretty much a no-brainer as James marveled, “Fans come out and support it and they get very excited about it. We’re excited; the actors love to do it. We have a great time with this so it becomes relatively easy for me to get people involved.”
Aside from the Reynolds family, this year’s roster included a few players from the women’s team that James coaches, as well as actors (both past and present) from the NBC sudser. Those showing their support included, Bryan Dattilo (Lucas), Kyle Brandt (ex-Philip), Kyle Lowder (ex-Brady), Arianne Zuker (Nicole), Rashaan Orange (ex-Tek,), Jay Kenneth Johnson (Philip), Jason Cook (ex-Shawn), Shawn Christian (Daniel), Darin Brooks (Max) and Brandon Beemer (ex-Shawn). Even though they didn’t play, Mary Beth Evans (Kayla), Rachel Melvin (Chelsea), Shelley Hennig (Stephanie), Nadia Bjorlin (Chloe) and Martha Madison (ex-Belle) came out to cheer on their fellow actors.
Explaining why she wasn’t suited up, Nadia joked, “I don’t want to show up the guys. I don’t want to embarrass them because I am that good!” She then added, “Honestly, I have played before and I just kind of chickened out this year because they are damn good! They are very competitive and take it very seriously.”
That competitive spirit she referred to led to Bjorlin’s boyfriend and former Days star Brandon Beemer breaking a bone in his knee during last year’s game. While that didn’t stop him from participating this year, he did express some reservations regarding his skill level, noting, “I used to play pretty good back when I was younger, but I never play basketball anymore so it’ll be interesting to see what happens. There’s a lot of good people here.” He then quipped, “I think that Shawn Christian is a pro basketball player!”
While Reynolds was very diplomatic when asked who he thought the best players in the group were, stating that there were many fine athletes on the court, both Jason Cook and Darin Brooks were quick to point out they don’t exactly excel at the sport. Jason speculated, “I am going to be quite possibly the worst abomination on the court today”, while Darin exclaimed, “I suck! I’m gonna play, but I’m gonna look like a total spaz out there.”
After Reynolds introduced each actor and Kyle Lowder sang the national anthem, the game got underway with Reynolds helming one team and Bryan Dattilo coaching the other. While Lowder got the edge over Rashaan Orange at the tip off, the first basket wasn’t scored until four minutes in and the score at half time was a mere 27 to 18. Needless to say, it was a pretty scrappy game of hoops without much finesse. We did however learn throughout the course of the game that Lowder can do a back flip, Bryan Dattilo can easily make a three pointer and Shawn Christian is in fact a good basketball player.
While the first half of the game was a little spastic, everything evened out during the second half. The game even went into overtime, where an at the buzzer three pointer (from a non-Days player) won the game for Dattilo’s team by one point. There was much good-natured debate over whether or not it was a legitimate three point shot, but the ref let it stand. Then, as soon as the game ended, the fans ran out to the court where they were able to receive autographs and get their pictures taken with their favorite soap star.
Since I had the opportunity to talk to some of the actors before the game, I did my best to dig for scoop on upcoming storylines. Unfortunately, that Days bunch is a pretty tight-lipped group of people, but I did manage to get a little peek at what’s ahead for the summer.
As her character Chloe recently heated up the screen with Philip, Nadia shared that fans can expect to see a little more of that. “It’s gonna keep happening,” she previewed. “It’s getting very steamy in Salem with a lot of people and you’re going to see a lot of unique combinations and interesting combinations of people that you wouldn’t expect. It’s definitely going to be a very tangled web that we all weave this summer on the show. It’s gonna get crazy!”
While she didn’t really give much away, Darin Brooks was even cagier when I asked him what was up with Max and his mysterious brilliance, as he teased, “We’ll see what happens. It should be coming out fairly soon what the deal is and why Max is so upset at the people around him.” I pressed the issue by bringing up Roscoe Born’s (Dean Robbins) arrival in Salem, to which Darin grinned and replied, “He’s the dean of the college, so we’ll see what happens. I can’t tell you a whole lot! You know! You know I can’t tell you a lot.” Oh well, a girl can try.
Someone who was more forthcoming when it comes to their storyline was James Reynolds, who filled me in on what the Carver family will soon have to face. “It’s a story that we’re looking forward to playing. It’s about Theo being autistic and we’re looking forward to playing this because so many thousands of people have gone through this issue. We hope to bring it in a real way, not only so those people can have their concerns shown to the greater population, but also there’s an understanding that they’re not alone in all of this.”
Even though they’re not on the show anymore, both former Shawn Douglas’s will be playing new characters on other soaps this summer. I jumped at the chance to get some juicy dirt on their new roles, but alas, they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) shed much light on their alter egos.
Jason Cook, who is going to General Hospital, could only tell me his character’s name, which will be Matt Hunter. He apologetically explained, “I would love to give you a lot of information. I would love to give you a lot of background on the character, but I just found out his name yesterday and they have not told me anything yet.”
As for Brandon Beemer, who has only shot two days so far on The Bold and the Beautiful, he would only share, “It’s all a big mystery. I know stuff, but I think it’ll be more fun to let it develop throughout the time.” He did however say that he’s enjoying his new home at B&B. “It’s great! They know what they’re doing, they move quickly. They know what they want. So it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to be a challenge.”
It looks like we’ll all just have to wait and watch it unfold, which is often more fun anyway. As for the basketball game itself, while it may not have been the most impressive display of athletic ability, it definitely served its purpose by bringing soap fans, soap actors and good deeds together all in one place.
Check out Darin Brooks reaction to his Emmy Nomination, along with a little teaser.
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