denzel washington holds a basketball in a scene from the film he got picture

9 Celebrities Who Played College Basketball

Before they were famous, they were ballers.

20th Century-Fox/Getty Images Mahershala Ali — Saint Mary's College, 1992-96 MJ Kim/Getty Images Mahershala Ali — Saint Mary's College, 1992-96 When he took home the Oscar for best supporting actor for "Moonlight," Ali became the first former Division 1 basketball player to win an Academy Award. After starring for Mount Eden High School in California, the 6-foot-3-inch guard — then known as Hershal Gilmore — played four seasons for St. Mary's. His best year for the Gaels came as a senior when he shot 40 percent from behind the arc and averaged 7 points per game. Leslie Jones — Chapman University & Colorado State, 1985-87 James Devaney/Getty Images Leslie Jones — Chapman University & Colorado State, 1985-87 Whether she’s cheering on Team USA at the Olympics, or screaming courtside at Madison Square Garden, Leslie Jones just loves sports. So it shouldn’t be a total shock that the "Saturday Night Live" star played college basketball — first for Chapman University, then transferring to Colorado State where she redshirted for the 1986-87 season before leaving school to pursue a career in comedy. Michael Clarke Duncan — Alcorn State University, 1983-85 Ethan Miller/Getty Images Michael Clarke Duncan — Alcorn State University, 1983-85 The late actor originally played for Kankakee Community College before transferring to Alcorn State. The 6-foot-5-inch forward appeared in 16 career games over the course of two seasons for the Braves, including a trip to the 1984 NCAA Tournament. Tom Selleck — USC, 1965-67 Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images Tom Selleck — USC, 1965-67 Long before rising to television stardom as a Ferrari-driving, gun-wielding, mustachioed private investigator, Selleck was a member of the USC Trojans basketball team. In his two seasons with the Trojans, the 6-foot-4-inch forward appeared in 10 games, scoring a total of 4 points — all without his famous 'stache. 2 Chainz — Alabama State University, 1995-97 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images 2 Chainz — Alabama State University, 1995-97 The 6-foot-5-inch hip-hop star was known as Tauheed Epps when he played as a reserve guard for the Hornets for two seasons, averaging 2.8 points over 35 career games. Bob Barker — Drury University, 1941-43 CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images Bob Barker — Drury University, 1941-43 The former "Price is Right" host entertained millions of television viewers for decades, but few know of Barker's exploits on the hardwood. The 6-foot-1-inch Washington state-native played two seasons for tiny Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, before leaving after his sophomore year to serve in the Navy during World War II. Sinbad — Denver University, 1974-78 John Sunderland/The Denver Post via Getty Images Sinbad — Denver University, 1974-78 Before choosing his now-famous stage name, the actor and standup comic went by David Adkins, and played basketball for Denver University. The 6-foot-6-inch forward (pictured, middle) averaged 4.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game in his four seasons coming off the bench for the Pioneers. Denzel Washington — Fordham University, 1972-74 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images Denzel Washington — Fordham University, 1972-74 The Academy Award-winning actor didn't need a stunt double for his game of one-on-one with Ray Allen in the 1998 film "He Got Game." Twenty-five years earlier, the 6-foot-1-inch Washington was a member of New York's Fordham University JV basketball team, led by former NBA and NCAA head coach P.J. Carlesimo. Beau Bridges — UCLA, 1960-61 CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images Beau Bridges — UCLA, 1960-61 The 5-foot-9-inch guard played just one season in Westwood, averaging 0.6 points and 1.4 rebounds per game for the Bruins' freshman team before transfering to Hawaii.
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