AC Milan star Zlatan Ibrahimovic criticized Lakers star LeBron James and others Thursday for their activism in what the former LA Galaxy star called “politics.”
In an interview with UEFA for Discovery + in Sweden on Thursday, the forward candid said that while he admired James’ talent, it is a “mistake” for athletes to get out of their lane and become socially and politically involved.
“[LeBron] He’s phenomenal at what he’s doing, but I don’t like when people have some kind of status, they go and do politics at the same time, “Ibrahimovic said.” Do what you’re good at. Do the category you do. I play soccer because I am the best playing soccer. “
“I don’t do politics. If I were a political politician, I would do politics. That’s the first mistake people make when they become famous and acquire a certain status. Stay out of it. Just do what you do best because it doesn’t look good.”
James has been a force for social change and political action. His organization More Than a Vote attracted more than 42,000 volunteers to work at polling stations for the November elections, helped some regain their voting rights, and pushed for black and youth voter turnout.
He has also focused on his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
The I Promise school that opened in 2018 now has more than 450 students in grades three through six. When the pandemic closed the school, James and his team made sure that students received hot meals at home, including full Thanksgiving meals. This year an affordable housing project was started for 50 families. And this month, plans were announced for House Three Thirty (a nod to the Akron area code), detailing how James will offer things like accessible family financial health programming, job training, and a community gathering space.
“I still know what I’m doing on the court and obviously I give my all for the game,” James told The Associated Press in December. “But I can make a bigger impact from the court right now, more than I can on the court. And I want to continue to inspire people with the way I play basketball. But there are many more things I can do outside of the game. court to help cultivate people, inspire them, unite them, empower them. “
However, his frankness has not always been well received. In February 2018, a prominent conservative commentator told him to “shut up and haggle” in response to his “talking politics.”
Ibrahimovic has made headlines for acrobatic goals, bombastic bragging and on-field controversy throughout his successful soccer career.
In January, he faced accusations of racism following a clash with Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku during a Coppa Italia quarter-final clash. Ibrahimovic, who often refers to himself in the third person, was accused of using offensive language during his dispute with Lukaku and later posted a message on social media reiterating that he is against racism, with his coach later endorsing your claims.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.