LeBron James has said he is “the wrong guy to go at” after Zlatan Ibrahimovic told the NBA icon to stay out of politics.
AC Milan striker Ibrahimovic – who spent two years in the US with LA Galaxy – said in an interview this week that “it doesn’t look good” when sports stars dabble in politics.
Referring to James, the Swede said: “[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.
“Do what you’re good at. Do the category you do…That is the big first mistake people do when they become famous and they become in a certain status. Stay out of it. Just do what you do best because it doesn’t look good.”
Four-time NBA champion James – well known for his social activism and feuds with former US President Donald Trump – has now responded, vowing he would “never just stick to sports.”
“At the end of the day, I’ll never shut up about things that are wrong,” James said after leading the Lakers to a 102-93 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.
“I preach about my people, I preach about equality, social injustice, racism, systematic voter suppression, things that go on in our community.
“I was a part of my community at one point, I saw the things that were going on, I know the things that are going on still because I have a group of 300-plus kids at my school who are going through the same thing.
“They need a voice, I’m their voice, I use my platform to continue to shed light on everything that may be going on, not only in my community, but in this country and around the world.
“There’s no way I will ever just stick to sports, I understand this platform and how powerful my voice.”
“I have 300+ kids at my school who need a voice and I’m their voice…I’m the wrong guy to go at, I do my homework.” @KingJames weighs in on the recent comments made by soccer superstar @Ibra_official that people should “do what they’re good at” and “stay out of politics”. pic.twitter.com/Scfp6HhnP2
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) February 27, 2021
James, 36, suggested that Ibrahimovic should know better after the Swede himself spoke about “undercover racism” he had suffered in his homeland because of his Balkan roots.
“It’s funny he should say that,” James said. “Because I believe he was the same guy who said back in 2018, when he was back in Sweden, talking about the same things, because his last name wasn’t a certain last name, he felt like it was some racism going on when he was out on the pitch.
“I speak from a very educated mind. I’m kind of the wrong guy to go at because I do my homework.”
James starred with 28 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and three blocks at the Staples Center on Friday as defending NBA champions the Lakers snapped a four-game losing streak.
Meanwhile, Ibrahimovic is set to line up for AC Milan at Roma on Sunday as they continue their challenge for a first Serie A title since 2011. The Swede, 39, has 14 goals in 13 league appearances this season.