RJ Barrett was invited to the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend 2020. Surrounded by former teammates and opponents he looked at home and in his element with all the NBA’s other young rising stars.
Being invited to the Rising Stars Challenge at the 2020 All-Star Weekend must have felt great to RJ Barrett. It had to be such a relief from the daily drama of the New York Knicks, if only for a weekend.
RJ was at one of the biggest stages in the NBA, on the league’s greatest showcase weekend. This is when the best of the best get to compete, hang out and have fun showing off their amazing talents. A place where the elite shed whatever drama is happening on their team or in the NBA at that moment.
This was a somber weekend also. The first All-Star weekend the league would celebrate without one of its greatest legends, Kobe Bryant. Bryant, along with his daughter Gianna, were killed in a tragic helicopter accident along with seven others, including some members of her youth basketball team, their parents and the pilot.
For a few days, Barrett was able to shake off the New York Knicks difficult 2019-20 season. He didn’t have to think about playing for one of the three worst teams in the league. This weekend RJ stated he was “getting a break.” We all need a break sometimes.
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Barrett’s performance lived up to the hype of him being the third pick in the 2019 NBA draft. In 23 minutes, he was 11-of-17 from the floor and was the World team’s high scorer with 27 points. In addition, he had six rebounds, five assists, three steals and was five-of-six from the free-throw line. Unfortunately for him, the United States team defeated the World team 151-131.
Barrett did get to watch his former Duke teammate, good friend, and brother Zion Williamson dunk with such might that he damaged the rim, bending it to his will. With the minutes winding down and out of reach for the World team, players passed the ball to each other showcasing their various dunks. RJ had a highlight dunk of his own. At the end of the game, they were passing only to Zion, hoping to catch another of his amazing throwdowns.
After an incredible All-Star game, one we will all remember, the weekend was over. RJ returns home to join his team as they face the Indiana Pacers on Friday at home.