LeBron James will not stick to the sport, no matter who offers it.
In an interview with Discover + in Sweden this week, Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Milan said it was a “mistake” that “does not look good” when James and other “famous” people get involved in politics.
James responded to the football star’s comments after the Lakers’ victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.
“I would never shut up about things that are wrong,” James said. “I preach about my people and I preach about equality. Social injustice. Racism. Systematic voter repression. Things that happen in our community.
“Because at one point I was part of my community and I saw things happening, and I still know what̵
“I am their voice and I use my platform to continue to shed light on everything that can happen not only in my community, but also around this country and around the world. So there is no way I can just stick to the sport because I understand how this platform is and how powerful my voice is. “
James is one of the most politically and socially active figures in the sport – and the 36-year-old infuriates his words in the past. In 2018, Fox News presenter Laura Ingraham shamefully told him to “shut up and dribble” after James criticized then-President Donald Trump.
In the last year, athletes like James have become more vocal on out-of-court issues as a result of social protests across the country.
James and Ibrahimovic moved to Los Angeles for 16 months between 2018 and 2019, when Ibrahimovic was with the Galaxy and James Lakers.
“He was the same person who said when he returned to Sweden … because his last name was not a specific last name, that he felt racism when he was on the field,” James said. “I speak from a very educated mind, so I’m some kind of wrong person to actually go to because I’m doing my homework.”
James mentioned an interview in 2018 when Ibrahimovic said his Bosnian roots had made him an object of racism, especially in the media, in his native Sweden.
“I’m not Anderson or Swenson,” Ibrahimovic told Canal +. “If I were that, believe me, they would protect me, even rob a bank. They would protect me, I tell you. ”
On Friday, James also praised Celtic and NFL stars Patrick Mohammes and Alvin Camara, who use their platforms to fight for social justice. He also recognized Rene Montgomery, a former WNBA player who became the private owner of the Atlanta Dream franchise this week after the league pushed Senator Kelly Loeffler to sell.
“It makes me proud to be part of a generation where our voices are heard and the boys speak with educated thinking,” James said. “But more importantly, when you speak from the heart, it rings even louder.
“And we have a lot of guys who talk from the heart who didn’t believe they had a voice at one point, or now they go into it and see that they can have a voice and that their voice really matters. That makes me proud. “