Zlatan Ibrahimovic Battles LeBron James

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is in the news again but this time, the target is not Romelu Lukaku. You can recall that the Swedish and AC Milan striker was in a heated on-pitch burst up with the Inter Milan striker in their previous cup tie earlier in February.

This time around, Zlatan has stirred up reactions from NBA’s 2013 MVP LeBron James. In 2018, Zlatan said his home country’s sports media unduly attacked him because he lacked a traditional Swedish last name. He spoke out about the perceived injustice to French media and blamed “undercover racism”.

This is 2021 and Ibrahimovic is in the news for a similar incident. In his recent interview with Discovery Plus on Thursday 25th Feb, the AC Milan star said James is

“phenomenal at what he is doing, but I don’t like when people, when they have some kind of status, and they do politics at the same time [as] what they are doing. I mean, do what you’re good at.

“That is the first mistake people do when they become famous and become a certain status. Stay out of it; just do what you’re best at because it doesn’t look good.”

In response, after the LA Lakers victory against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, James said

“I would never shut up about things that are wrong,” James said after the Lakers’ victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night. “I preach about my people and I preach about equality, social injustice, racism, systematic voter suppression, things that go on in our community.

He further buttressed his point, saying;

“It lets me know that everything I’ve been saying is correct, for her to have that type of reaction.”

“But we will definitely not shut up and dribble. I will definitely not do that. I mean too much to society, I mean too much to the youth, I mean too much to so many kids that feel like they don’t have a way out, and they need someone to help lead them out of the situation they’re in.”

James pointed to the contradiction in Ibrahimovic’s comments.

“It’s funny he said that because I believe in 2018 he was the same guy who said … because his last name wasn’t a certain last name that he felt like there was some racism going on,” James said. “I’m the wrong guy to go at because I do my homework.”

This is coming from two heavyweights who have at some point, dominated the games in their respective sporting careers.

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