Team USA forward Zion Williamson, of the New Orleans Pelicans, goes up for a dunk against Team World during the second half of the NBA Rising Stars basketball game in Chicago, Friday, Feb. 14, 2020.
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The Knicks State of Mind Podcast joins forces with The Saturday Sports Report to talk Rising Stars Challenge, All-Star Game, and more.

NBA All-Star weekend is upon us and the Knicks State of Mind Podcast has a special bonus episode for the occasion. Matt Castillo hosts The Saturday Sports Report on Fox Sports 1400 Spartanburg. Danny Small and Chip Murphy joined him to chat about the Rising Stars Game, Saturday’s competitions, and Sunday’s All-Star Game.

In the Rising Stars Game, all eyes were on the rookies. Zion Williamson and Ja Morant, two South Carolina natives, electrified the crowd with high-flying dunks and a few nasty alley-oops. In fact, the final minute of the game devolved into an impromptu dunk contest.

From a New York Knicks perspective, RJ Barrett showed out in a big way. The Canadian led all scorers with 27 points, but he wasn’t all about the scoring. The rookie also added six rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Still, Barrett’s explosive night wasn’t enough to overcome Williamson, Morant, and Team USA. Team World lost by 20 points.

The guys also give their (wrong) predictions for the Saturday events before moving onto the main event: the All-Star Game. Both Danny and Chip agree that the main reason to tune in on Sunday surrounds Kobe Bryant. The tragic passing of the NBA legend looms large over an event he dominated for close to two decades.

The new rule changes are interesting, but again, the Kobe tributes are the real reason to tune in on Sunday. The NBA is even renaming the MVP trophy after Bryant, who won the award four times in his career.

ESNY staff reports.