Matthew Cherry, who played for several NFL teams from 2004 to 2007, won the Oscar for best animated short for "Hair Love" on Sunday.
Cherry's movie tells the story of an African-American father learning to do his daughter's hair. The former wide receiver directed, wrote, and produced "Hair Love" alongside Karen Rupert Toliver.
In his acceptance speech, Cherry said he was motivated to make the movie "because we wanted to see more representation in animation" and "to normalize black hair."
Cherry dedicated the award to the late Kobe Bryant. The NBA legend was the first former athlete to take home an Oscar, winning in the same category in 2018 for "Dear Basketball."
Earning an Oscar is a feat few achieve, but Cherry apparently didn't doubt he would join the exclusive club. The filmmaker tweeted this seven-and-a-half years ago:
Cherry played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, and Baltimore Ravens before leaving the NFL in 2007 to pursue a career in film.