Four-time NBA champion LeBron James has hit back at Swedish football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, saying there is no reason why he cannot have just as big an effect off the basketball court as he does on it.
James has been a force for social change in the United States, focusing much of his attention on police brutality and racial injustice against African Americans.
He was outspoken about the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin last year, and against former President Donald Trump, and he worked with other NBA stars to try and get Black people out to vote during the recent US election that brought Joe Biden to power.
“I speak from a very educated mind. I am kind of the wrong guy to go at because I do my homework,” said James on Friday after the Los Angeles Lakers 102-93 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
James was responding to Ibrahimovic’s comments earlier this week that athletes should “stay out” of politics, mentioning James by name and calling him out over his political activism.
“[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 said.
Speaking in an interview for UEFA for Discovery+ in Sweden, the outspoken striker said it is a “mistake” when athletes step out of their lane.
“I don’t do politics … That is the 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,” Ibrahimovic said.