Mahershala Ali: Basketball is the perfect preparation for Hollywood

Mahershala Ali: Basketball is the perfect preparation for Hollywood

Mahershala Ali thinks playing basketball is the perfect preparation for starring in a film.
The 44-year-old star won the Best Supporting Actor award at the BAFTAs on Sunday night (10.02.19) for his performance in ‘Green Book’ but he previously attended college in California thanks to a basketball scholarship, and he believes the sport is strikingly similar to the movie business.
Speaking to the BBC, he explained: "In basketball, there’s a sense of everyone touching the ball, everyone contributing, there’s only five people on the team, so you can see what everyone else is doing.
"I think there’s this sense of real collaboration in sports. Michael Jordan knows he wouldn’t have won the championship without Bill Cartwright. It prepares you for being able to work with other people."
In 2017, Mahershala won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the Barry Jenkins-directed drama ‘Moonlight’, thereby becoming the first Muslim star to win an Oscar for acting.
However, Mahershala has admitted to being tired of "always" being asked "about diversity" within the movie business.
He said: "It’s just that white actors are only asked about race if they’re doing a civil rights project.
"In interviews like this, they talk about their process and life, but black actors are always talking about diversity, where the culture’s at, where it’s going. We have to be professors of cultural studies, where a white actor can just be an actor!"
The Hollywood star also insisted that his passion for acting has never been motivated by fame or money.
He explained: "It took time but I learned that acting was about just being of service to stories and characters. And I always believed that if I just did my best work, it would naturally expand."