You knew Lebron James wasn’t going to take a “stick to sports” or “just shut up and dribble” from Zlatan Ibrahmovic lying down. On Thursday, Ibrahimovic said in an interview that James should stay out of politics and not use his very large platform for social issues like he has been doing repeatedly, and beautifully.
Ibrahmiovic said that people should only do what they’re good at it, and Friday saw Lebron answer to these accusations, and in the process call out Zlatan for his hypocrisy. James also said he’ll also never stop fighting for social justice., and against systemic racism.
Okay so by Zlatan's own rules, he also cannot publicly discuss anything except the sport that he plays.
Therefore, he's breaking his own rules right now in saying this.
Since he'll be retiring soon, he must be "pivoting" towards trying to get his own show on @foxnation https://t.co/bvHkrkS8cu
— Paul M. Banks (@PaulMBanks) February 26, 2021
Right above, you can see the full quote in the tweet, and I can example of just how hypocritical and problematic his comments were. Zlatan, by his own rules, is in violation of them. Because first, he’s using his platform to tell someone who is political to instead be apolitical.
That itself is a political act. Also, back in 2018 Ibra, like Lebron James, spoke out against the racism being perpetrated against people of his ancestry/ethnic group in his home country.
James pointed that out, and did so in a way that really says if you come at the King you best not miss. Because the LA Lakers superstar keeps receipts.
"I have 300+ kids at my school who need a voice and I'm their voice…I'm the wrong guy to go at, I do my homework." @KingJames weighs in on the recent comments made by soccer superstar @Ibra_official that people should "do what they're good at" and "stay out of politics". pic.twitter.com/Scfp6HhnP2
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) February 27, 2021
“I will never shut up about things that are wrong. I preach about my people, 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, seeing things that were going on, and I know it is going on still,” James said as part of his response.
You can see and hear the full response in the tweet video posted above.
“There is no way I will ever stick to sports because I understand this platform and how powerful my voice is…” Lebron James continued.
“It’s funny he said that because I believe he was the same guy in 2018, when he was back in Sweden, talking about the same things because his last name wasn’t a certain last name.
“That he felt like there was racism going on when he was out on the pitch.
“I speak from a very educated mind. I’m kind of the wrong guy to go at because I do my homework.”
As for what Zlatan said about racism back in 2018, here is that quote in full.
“What does the Swedish media do?
“They defend me or do they jump on and attack me? They still attack me, because they cannot accept that I am Ibrahimovic.
“If another player would do same mistake I do, they would defend him. But when it comes to me, they don’t defend me.
“This is about racism. This is about racism. I don’t say there is racism but I say there is undercover racism. This exists, I am 100 percent sure. Because I am not Andersson or Svensson.
“If I would be that, trust me, they would defend me even if I would rob a bank. They would defend me, I tell you,” Ibrahimovic said.
Well done Lebron James.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.