LeBron James v Zlatan Ibrahimovic: NBA star hits back at criticism


LeBron James has earned worldwide plaudits for his activism. 

The LA Lakers superstar has been at the forefront of speaking out against police brutality and racism in the United States. 

The one man who hasn't been impressed by James' political discourse is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. 

The AC Milan striker gave an interview earlier this week in which he hit the American with the tired jibe of 'stick to sports'. 

"(LeBron) is phenomenal at what he's doing, but I don't like when people have some kind of status, they go and do politics at the same time," Ibrahimovic told Discovery+. 

"Do what you're good at. Do the category that you do. I play football because I'm the best at playing football, I'm no politician. If I'd been a politician, I would be doing politics.

"This is the first mistake famous people do when they become famous and come into a certain status. For me it is better to avoid certain topics and do what you're best at doing, because otherwise it doesn't look good."

James, who was also a vocal critic of former US President Donald Trump, has now posted the following - and it has to be said, incredibly powerful - response: 

"At the end of the day, I will never shut up about things that are wrong," he says in the video.

"I preach about my people and I preach about equality, social justice, racism, voter suppression, things that go on in our community because I was a part of my community at one point and saw the things that were going on, and I know what's still going on because I have a group of 300-plus kids at my school that are going through the same thing and they need a voice.

"I'm their voice and I use my platform to continue to shed light on everything that might be going on, not only in my community but in this country and around the world.

"There's no way I would ever just stick to sports, because I understand this platform and how powerful my voice is. He can just ask Renee Montgomery if I would have shut up and just dribbled, just seeing that beautiful Black woman today be part of a group - she's part of the ownership group with the Atlanta Dream."


James also pointed out that Ibrahimovic has spoken up about the discrimination he has faced over his surname in Sweden. The veteran forward was born to a Muslim Bosniak father who moved to Scandinavia four years before his son was born. 

"It's funny he'd say that because I believe in 2018 he was the same guy who said, when he was back in Sweden, talking about the same things, because his last name wasn't a certain last name, that he felt like it was racism going on when he was out on the pitch," James added. 

"Right? He did say that, right? I thought he said that. I speak from a very educated mind. I'm kinda the wrong guy to actually go at, because I do my homework."

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