Is it now officially a 'feud', 'beef' or even a 'celebrity spat'?
Call it what you like, but this back-and-fourth between two of the biggest athletes on the planet in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and LeBron James is intriguing to say the least.
And in the latest update on their running battle, it appears football megastar Zlatan has doubled down on his claims that NBA legend LeBron should "stick to sports" and "steer away from politics".
"Athletes unite the world, politics divide it," Ibrahimovic recently told ESPN.
"Our role is to unite the world by doing what we do best. Athletes should be athletes and politicians should do politics."
This comes after the AC Milan striker publicly criticised LeBron James for his off-court activism.
"What he does is phenomenal, but I don't like it when people with a certain 'status' talk about politics," Zlatan said last week during an interview with Disney Plus.
"Do what you are good at. I play football because I am the best at it. If I was a politician, I'd have gone into politics. This is the first mistake that famous people make when they feel like they've arrived. I think it's better to steer clear of these issues and do what you're good at."
This remark sparked a response from LeBron, who was quick to remind Zlatan of exactly why he continues to use his platform to help others in need.
"At the end of the day 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.
"I know what's going on still, because I have a group of 300-plus kids at my school that's going through the same thing, and they need a voice, and I'm their voice. 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.
"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 when he was out on the pitch. I speak from a very educated mind. I'm kind of the wrong guy to actually go at, because I do my homework."
LeBron responded after Zlatan Ibrahimovic criticized him for his activism.- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 27, 2021
"I'm kind of the wrong guy to actually go at because I do my homework." pic.twitter.com/VyKgBrYuiz
But regardless of what LeBron says, it seems Zlatan isn't budging on his stance.
And so far it remains to be seen whether the four-time NBA champ will actually return serve again.
Either way, you can imagine the words "athletes should be athletes and politicians should do politics" probably won't please a bloke who is revered for his work off the court just as much as his work on it.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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