Published on : 27/02/2021 – 23:55
Controversy between the two football and basketball stars. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scratched LeBron James over his involvement outside of sport, especially politically. According to the Swede, athletes should not take a stand and confine themselves to their role. The American basketball player is not of this opinion at all. And he makes it known.
Should the most famous athletes remain only athletes and not engage in social and political terms? Or, can they use their notoriety to take a stand on extrasport issues that they consider important? This old debate, very popular in recent months in the United States against the backdrop of the 2020 presidential election, came back to light this week. And it is one of the most famous footballers in Europe who ignited the spark, although the exchanges by interposed media are still cordial between him and the icon of American sport that he criticized.
“Stay in your domain”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, known not to have his tongue in his pocket, opened the subject Thursday, February 25. The AC Milan striker spoke in an interview with UEFA for the channel Discovery +, in Sweden. The 39-year-old striker reckons that famous sportsmen do ” a mistake By getting involved politically. ” Please abstain. Do things where you are good at “, did he declare.
And the Milanese cited the example of the American basketball star. ” I love LeBron James he is phenomenal at what he does “, He first indicated, before continuing:” But I don’t like it when people with a certain status get involved in politics. Stay in your domain. »
Zlatan Ibrahimovic appreciates basketball player Lebron James but does not think he should get involved in politics: “Lebron is phenomenal at what he does, but I do not like when people with status get involved in politics”
— discovery+ sport 🇸🇪 (@dplus_sportSE) February 25, 2021
The words of the Swedish giant have crossed the Atlantic to reach the ears of “King James”. And after the Los Angeles Lakers’ victory against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, February 26, the quadruple NBA champion winger responded to Zlatan Ibrahimovic at a press conference.
“I will never be silent about things that are wrong”
Very committed to the fight against racism and the education of young people, the basketball player was one of the leaders of the movement printed in the NBA last summer for more equality and to denounce police violence in the United States. Strongly opposed to Donald Trump, he also supported Joe Biden during the last presidential election. So, invited to speak on Ibrahimovic’s criticisms, James counterattacked: ” I’m not really the type of guy to come and attack because I do the right thing. »
No, the Akron, Ohio native doesn’t plan to just play basketball: ” I will never be silent about the things that are wrong. I am committed in favor of my people, for equality, for equality also in terms of access to the vote, I am committed against social injustice and racism. There is no question that I am content to play sports. I know how powerful my voice is. »
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LBJ surprised by the speech of Ibra, himself a victim of racism in Sweden
Support of the Black Lives Matter movement, LeBron James assumes he words, even if this divides: ” For a long time, we heard that as athletes we should be grateful to be able to throw a ball, dribble with a ball, hit with a baseball bat. We were told that we were neither able nor authorized to talk about anything else. This is no longer the case today. And that won’t be the case for a long time. »
And the basketball player added about Zlatan Ibrahimovic: “ It’s funny that he said that, because I remember in 2018 it was the same guy who said that when he was in Sweden he was talking about these same topics. Because his last name was not common, and he sometimes sensed racism when he was in the field. »
In the documentary “Ma part d’ombre” broadcast in January 2018 on the French channel Canal+, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, born in 1981 in Malmö to a Bosnian father and a Croatian mother, explained racism ” latent »Of which he is a victim in Sweden. ” If another Swedish player made the same mistakes as me, they (the media) would defend him. When it’s me, they don’t defend me. (…) It’s a story of racism. I’m not saying it’s assertive racism, but latent racism. (…) Because my name is not Andersson or Svensson. »
Disagreeing on the commitment of the most famous athletes, LeBron James and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have at least one thing in common: their freedom of tone. The debate they have reopened is proof of this.