Credit: Jay Johnson and Brandon Beemer (Lori Wilson)

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.”