Critics continue to tell NBA superstar LeBron James to stick to playing sports instead of speaking out against social injustices and political subjects. In return, the athlete continues to remind them that that is a request he simply cannot fulfill.
When James was recently questioned about remarks made by Swedish soccer superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who said that “people with some kind of status,” including the Los Angeles Lakers player, should not speak about politics, James had this to say: “At the end of the day, I could never shut up about things that’s wrong.”
James continued, “I preach about my people, and I preach about equality, social injustice, racism, systematic voter suppression, things that go on in our community,” James said. “Because I was a part of my community at one point and seeing the things that was going on and 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’m their voice, and I use my platform to continue to shed light on everything that may be going on not only in my community but around this country and around the world.”
The 36-year-old reiterated that there was no chance that he would just “stick to sports because I understand how this platform and how powerful my voice is.”
In full, Ibrahimovic told reporters, “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.” He added, “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.”
James further called out the soccer player when he cited comments made by the former Los Angeles Galaxy star about “undercover racism” in his native homeland of Sweden.
The ballplayer took a jab at Ibrahimovic, stating, “I speak from a very educated mind.” He added, “I’m kind of the wrong guy to actually go at because I do my homework.”
In 2018, Ibrahimovic called out Swedish media, claiming that they did not give him proper acknowledgment because he didn’t have a traditional Swedish surname. The soccer player may have blanked out on recalling those comments when he told James to stick to his athletic profession.