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Last season, the NBA decided to nix the Rising Stars Challenge due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if the game went on as planned, though, the Philadelphia 76ers wouldn't have had a representative.

This year, that changed. With the Rising Stars Challenge coming back with a twist, Sixers' second-year guard Tyrese Maxey found out he would be a participant this time around as he's been thriving during his sophomore effort in the NBA.

With the league putting together four different rosters via a draft, Maxey ended up on Team Worthy playing alongside Cole Anthony, MarJon Beauchamp, Josh Giddey, Jalen Green, Herbert Jones, and Jalen Suggs. 

On Friday, Maxey participated in just one game. Although he's averaging 16 points per game during the regular season with the 76ers, Maxey didn't put his best scoring effort on display in Cleveland.

The young guard scored zero points off of three shots. While it wasn't his sharpest showing, Maxey wasn't bothered. After the game, the young guard was all smiles and made it clear that he still had a great time despite his offensive struggles.

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"I had a blast out there," said Maxey after the games. "I wasn't trying to do too much. I just wanted to have a little fun, see a couple of guys fly and dunk, and we almost had a chance to win, actually. I had a rebound down there, man. Thought I had a game-winning rebound, but it's okay."

For Maxey, Friday's event wasn't about putting the league on notice. Instead, the young guard had a plan to go out and simply have a good time. As the Rising Stars challenge won't be something that Maxey will do again -- he just wanted to make the most of the opportunity and enjoy simply being there.

"I just wanted to go out there, run around, have fun, talk to guys, and just be myself," Maxey explained. "I'm very competitive, but today was about fun. I told myself before we even got here last night after the game that I was gonna go here and just have a lot of fun." While Maxey accomplished his goal on Friday night, he was also looking forward to his next phase of the All-Star break. 

"It's been crazy," said Maxey, in regards to the last 24 hours. "We're coming off of a big win right before All-Star break. It took us a long time to take off. I think I ended up getting here, I think at five o'clock? I fell asleep around six, and I had to be up at 8:30, and I've been awake ever since. So, now I'm ready to go to sleep."

After participating in the Rising Stars Challenge and the Clorox Clutch Challenge, Maxey will get the rest of the All-Star weekend off. In addition, he won't have a game for the next six days as the All-Star break kicks in officially for Maxey. The young guard looks forward to that time off as the Sixers gear up for the final stretch of the year.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.