LeBron James addressed critical comments from soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic after dropping 28 points in a Los Angeles Lakers win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night. Ibrahimovic was critical of James’ activism in a recent interview, saying “[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.”
James responded, saying “I would never shut up about things that are wrong. 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 are 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.”
You can watch the full video of James’ comments here:
Ibrahimovic made his comments during an interview with Discovery+ in Sweeden. The 39-year-old is considered one of the greatest goal scorers of his generation, and recently played for the Los Angeles Galaxy from 2018–2019. His criticism of James continued:
“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. 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.”
James has been outspoken politically and has led numerous initiatives focused on social change. His More Than a Vote organization combatted voter suppression and boosted turnout ahead of the November election. The initiative brought in more than 40,000 volunteers at polling stations. James also opened his I Promise School in 2018 which aims to improve the lives of disadvantaged youth in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
James was famously criticized by FOX News anchor Laura Ingraham in 2018, who said James should “shut up and dribble.”
“I speak from a very educated mind. I’m kind of the wrong guy to actually go at, because I do my homework,” James said of Ibrahimovic.