LeBron James has responded to criticism from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and vowed never to stay silent about social causes.
In an interview on Thursday, Ibrahimovic said sportspeople such as James – who has been one of the NBA’s leading voices against racial injustice and police brutality – should avoid involving themselves in political matters and focus only on sports.
“I don’t like when people with a status speak about politics,” he said. “Do what you’re good at doing.”
After the Lakers’ win against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, James told reporters: “I will never shut up about things that are wrong. I preach about my people and I preach about equality, social justice, racism, voter suppression – things that go on in our community.”
“I’ll use my platform to continue to shed light on everything that’s going on around this country and around the world.
There’s no way I would ever just stick to sports, because I understand how powerful this platform and my voice is.”
James also pointed to comments made by Ibrahimovic in 2018 when the Swedish forward claimed “undercover racism” had caused the media to treat him differently from players that had names like Andersson or Svensson.
“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,” James said.
“I speak from a very educated mind. I’m kind of the wrong guy to go at, because I do my homework.”