LeBron James fired back at Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the Swedish soccer legend ripped the Los Angeles Lakers superstar on Thursday for being too political.
In an interview with Discovery+, Ibrahimovic said it’s “a mistake” for James and other athletes to get involved with politics. “Just do what you do best, because it doesn’t look good,” Ibrahimovic said.
Following the Lakers’ 102-93 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, James responded to Ibrahimovic, saying the soccer star didn’t feel the same way talking about social injustices when he called out racism in his native Sweden three years ago.
“I would never shut up about things that are wrong,” James said Friday. “I preach about my people and I preach about equality, social injustice, racism, systematic voter suppression, things that go on in our community. I know what’s going on still, because I have a group of 300-plus kids at my school that’s going through the same thing, and they need a voice, and I’m their voice.”
“I’ll use my platform to continue to shed light on everything that’s going on around this country and around the world,” James added. “There’s no way I would ever just stick to sports, because I understand how powerful this platform and my voice is.”
Ibrahimovic, one of the biggest names in soccer, plays in Seria A for AC Milan. He praised James for being “phenomenal at what he’s doing” but he believes he should just stick to what he does best.
“Do what you’re good at. Do the category you do. I play football because I’m the best at playing football. I don’t do politics. If I would be a political politician, I would do politics,” Ibrahimovic said. “That is the first mistake people do when they become famous and they become in a certain status. Stay out of it.”