The Rising Stars Challenge got NBA All-Star Weekend started as two former Duke basketball legends took center stage on Friday night.
NBA All-Star Weekend is officially underway as the Celebrity Game and Rising Stars Challenge took place in Chicago on Friday night.
Williamson, a South Carolina native, played for Team USA while Barrett, a Canada native, played for Team World.
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Both players had injury concerns coming into the game as Williamson has only played in ten NBA games due to a meniscus injury to begin his career and Barrett was dealing with an ankle injury weeks before the challenge.
Zion Williamson replaced former Blue Devil Wendell Carter Jr., who is dealing with an ankle injury but hopes to return shortly after the All-Star Break.
Williamson and Barrett both started for their respective teams as the Canadian led all scorers with 27 points, six rebounds, and five assists on 11-of-17 shooting and 5-of-6 from the free throw line but missed all four of his 3-point attempts.
The No. 1 overall pick played just 20 minutes and scored 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting, although three of those misses came on last-minute highlight-reel dunk attempts.
While Williamson couldn’t get the big dunks at the end to go, he was able to slightly alter the backboard before halftime while catching one of the many alley-oops thrown his way.
The facilities and maintenance staff had to re-center the backboard and the rim at halftime.
Zion also finished with two rebounds and an assist in Team USA’s 151-131 victory on Friday night as Miles Bridges walked away with the MVP Award with his 20 points for Team USA.
The All-Star Weekend events for the rookies concluded on Friday night as neither former Blue Devil is in the events on Saturday night nor the All-Star Game, although fans should expect to see the two players for the next handful of years throughout All-Star Weekend.