LeBron hits back at Ibrahimovic as war of words escalates
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) gestures in the first half against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center. [Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports]

LA Lakers star LeBron James has hit back at claims from AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic that he should stick to what he’s good at and avoid social activism.

NBA legend James has been one of the most vocal figures in sport for spotlighting social injustices in recent years.

Last year James spoke out against former US President Donald Trump about kneeling during the national anthem in protest against systemic racism, a move which was criticised by the president, while Fox News host Laura Ingraham once told him to “shut up and dribble”.

However, despite his critics, the four-time NBA champion insists that he will never stay quiet over issues of social injustice, such as racism and voter suppression.

“I would never shut up about things that are wrong,” James hit back. “I preach about my people and I preach about equality, social injustice, racism, systematic voter suppression, things that go on in our community,’ James added.

“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.

“There’s no way I would ever just stick to sports, because I understand how powerful this platform and my voice is.”

LeBron hits back at Ibrahimovic as war of words escalates
AC Milan’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic [REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo]

The ever-confident Zlatan had 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.”

The ever-confident Zlatan had 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 is clearly familiar with previous comments from Ibrahimovic too, with the Swede suggesting that he suffers from ‘undercover racism’ because of his Bosnian father and Croatian mother.

“This exists, I am 100 per cent sure, because I am not Andersson or Svensson,” he told Canal Plus. “If I would be that, trust me, they would defend me even if I would rob a bank.”

Retorting to the comments from three years ago, James added: “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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