Mahershala Ali’s hoops career at Saint Mary’s back in spotlight after second Oscar win

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Mahershala Ali captured his second Oscar on Sunday night as he’s quickly becoming one of the most respected actors in America. Winning Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Dr. Don Shirley in Green Book, Ali earned his second Academy Award, after previously winning Best Actor for his role in Moonlight two years ago.

But before Ali became a movie star, he was a Division I scholarship basketball player at Saint Mary’s. Playing four seasons and appearing in 97 games under his given name of Hershal Gilmore — mostly as a role player — Ali’s basketball past has started to make the rounds online over the last several days.

While some are clamoring for Ali to take part in a basketball-related role, the 45-year-old actor has stuck with dramatic roles not involving sports during his Hollywood ascension the last several years. Now that LeBron James and Space Jam II is being made, however, maybe The King needs Ali by his side as a worthy sidekick.

In the original Space Jam, Michael Jordan called on Bill Murray to help beat the Monstars. And Ali is a superior hooper who also now owns two Oscars. It’s unlikely, but it would be fun to see James and Ali share the court and the screen together.