NBA superstar LeBron James has hit out at another sports legend, Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who criticised him for getting involved in politics. In a recent interview with UEFA, Ibrahimovic praised James' performance, but noted that the Los Angeles Lakers forward should stick to sports.
"[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. I play football because I'm the best at playing football”, the football player said in an interview.
However, James disagrees. The NBA superstar said he would never stop speaking on important problems, because he understands how significant his voice can be.
"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 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 athlete told reporters.
James also accused Ibrahimovic of hypocrisy and reminded him that he himself spoke about social issues not so long ago.
"I'm kind of the wrong guy to actually go at because I do my homework. He's the guy who said in Sweden, he was talking about the same things, because his last name wasn't a (traditional Swedish) last name, he felt like there was some racism going on", the basketball player said.
In recent years the basketball superstar has become outspoken about racial discrimination and police brutality in the United States. He was one of the NBA players who backed San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick when he started taking a knee during the US national anthem, which is played before every major sporting event. The measure was aimed to highlight the mistreatment of African-Americans in the United States.
James has spoken out on several controversial issues, including the shooting of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Breonna Taylor, as well as the killing of George Floyd. The athlete harshly criticised former US President Donald Trump for what James described as attempts to divide the country.