Mahershala Ali's college basketball reel went viral after he won his second Oscar, for 'Green Book'

Albert L. Ortega/Getty ImagesMahershala Ali posing with his best supporting actor award for ‘Green Book.’
  • Mahershala Ali, at 6-foot-4-inches, was a talented basketball player in college.
  • He got his undergraduate degree while on a basketball scholarship, and later received an MFA in acting.
  • After he won his second Oscar, for “Green Book,” his reel of basketball highlights went viral.

Before he was a two-time Oscar winner, Mahershala Ali was known as Hershal Gilmore, a talented 6-foot-4-inches point guard on the Saint Mary’s College of California basketball team.

A Twitter account for a TV station devoted to basketball shared his highlight reel for the team after he won his second Oscar Sunday night, for “Green Book.” It went viral when it was shared to other accounts. Ali averaged 3.6 points, 1.1 rebounds, and 0.6 assists in 97 games, according to Bleacher Report.

Ali won his second best supporting actor Oscar for his performance in “Green Book,” previously winning in the same category in 2017 for his performance in “Moonlight.” Ali’s birth name is Mahershalalhashbaz Gilmore, but he went by “Hershal” in college. He changed his last name to Ali when he converted to Islam in 2000.

Ali entered St. Mary’s College and played for the Saint Mary’s Hoops before graduating in 1996 with a degree in communications. He went on to get a master’s degree in acting from New York University in 2000 and, after a stint as a rapper, made waves in projects like “House of Cards” and “Moonlight.”

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