Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James clapped back at Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Friday after the footballer criticized him for getting involved in social causes.
In an interview on Thursday, Ibrahimovic said that athletes like James should avoid getting involved in political matters and focus solely on sports.
“I would never shut up about things that are wrong,” James said to reporters following the Lakers’ win over the Portland Trail Blazers. “I preach about my people, and I preach about equality. Social injustice. Racism. Systematic voter suppression. Things that go on in our community.”
“Because I was a part of my community at one point and saw 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,” he added. “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.
“So, there’s no way I would ever just stick to sports because I understand how this platform and how powerful my voice is. “
James also pointed out that Ibrahimovic himself once spoke up about experiencing racism over his last name in Sweden. He claimed he was treated differently than other players because he did not have a traditional Swedish last name like Andersson or Svensson.
“It’s funny because I believe in 2018 he was the same guy who said when he was back in Sweden … because his last name wasn’t a certain last name, that he felt there was some racism going on when he was out on the pitch,” said James.
“I speak from a very educated mind, so I’m kind of the wrong guy to actually go at because I do my homework.”
LeBron responded after Zlatan Ibrahimovic criticized him for his activism.
“I’m kind of the wrong guy to actually go at because I do my homework.” pic.twitter.com/VyKgBrYuiz
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 27, 2021