Basketball great LeBron James has hit back at Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the Swedish striker told him to stick to basketball and stay away from politics.
Zlatan said in an interview to UEFA broadcasted by discovery+ Sweden this week: "What he (Lebron) does is phenomenal, however I don't like when people with some kind of status are also doing politics together with what they are doing. Do what you're good at. Do what you do.
I play football because I'm the best at playing football. I don't do politics. If I was a politician I'd do politics. This is one of the first errors famous people do when they arrive at a certain level.
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"Keep yourself far from that and do what you're good at because it doesn't look good."
LeBron responded to those comments, saying he would not stop his political activism.
"At the end of the day, I will never shut up about things that are wrong," he said after LA Lakers' win against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.
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."
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The Lakers superstar also pointed out that Ibrahimovic clearly didn't feel the same way about spotlighting social injustices when he called out similar issues in his native Sweden just three years ago.
"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. 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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