Before Becoming an Oscar winning Actor, Mahershala Ali played College Basketball

You already know Mahershala Ali is a talented actor, but did you know he was once a Division I basketball player as well? It's true, and there's a highlight reel to prove it!

Ali, then known as Mahershala "Hershal" Gilmore, attended Saint Mary's from 1992-1996 and was a member of the Gaels' basketball roster for all four years at the school. The 6-foot-3 guard wasn't a standout by any means -- he averaged a career high 7.0 points during his senior year -- but it appears that he was a scrappy contributor on both ends of the court. 

Just look at the grit! 


Unfortunately, Ali doesn't appear to look back on his college basketball career with particularly fond memories. 

"Honestly, I kind of resented basketball by the end of my time there," Ali said in an interview with Saint Mary's website in 2012. "I'd seen guys on the team get chewed up, spat out and I was personally threatened with being shipped off to the University of Denver. All in the name of wins and productivity."

Ali admits that he more or less mentally checked out of basketball due to the deteriorating health, and eventual death of his father during his time in college. 

Luckily, things have worked out quite well for Ali since graduation. He took home his second Academy Award for Supporting Actor on Sunday for his portrayal of Dr. Don Shirley in "Green Book." Ali previously won an Oscar for his supporting role in "Moonlight" in 2017. Both films also went on to win Best Picture from the Academy.

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