Though LeBron James hasn’t been overly political on a specific issue over the last few months, he still finds himself as a topic of political conversations. A.C. Milan star Zlatan Ibrahimovic recently called the Los Angeles Lakers star out for mixing politics with sports. Ibrahimovic’s comments made the rounds and many athletes responded.
One former NBA player whose message stuck out was Jeremy Lin’s. He defended LeBron in an Instagram Story, via Lakers Daily.
Lin was recently in the news for political reasons when he alleged that opposing players have called him “coronavirus” during games. Politics and the NBA have become more intertwined than any other sports league in America. Players are likely to stay political whether people like Ibrahimovic like it or not.
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LeBron Defended Himself
LeBron has been called out for his politics a number of times in the past, but that hasn’t stopped him. He made it clear that he wouldn’t let these recent comments from Ibrahimovic stop him either.
“I would never shut up about things that are wrong,” LeBron said. “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.”
LeBron also made it clear that he informs himself on the topics that he speaks on.
“I speak from a very educated mind. I’m kind of the wrong guy to actually go at because I do my homework,” LeBron said of Ibrahimovic.
Ibrahimovic is far from Los Angeles these days but it appears the feud between him and LeBron is just beginning.
Ibrahimovic Doubles Down
Ibrahimovic isn’t one to back down and it doesn’t look like he’s going to be backing down from LeBron. He recently had a chance to clarify his comments about politics and sports. He reaffirmed his original statement.
“Athletes unite the world, politics divide it,” Ibrahimovic said, via ESPN. “Our role is to unite the world by doing what we do best. Athletes should be athletes and politicians should do politics.”
Ibrahimovic’s views on this subject aren’t unpopular. There are those who have pointed to the NBA’s collapse in ratings as directly connected to the fact the league has gotten more political. Whenever one starts to talk politics, there is always going to be a large chunk of the populace that doesn’t like what that person is saying. LeBron knew that risk and he’s fully embraced it.