LeBron James came under fire from an unlikely source last week.
Football megastar Zlatan Ibrahimovic took aim at 36-year-old LeBron for "talking about politics" outside of his sport.
In an interview with Discovery Plus, the Swede said it was a "mistake" for people of "status" to delve into politics and urged them to "steer clear of these issues and do what they're good at".
But if Zlatan wanted to criticise socially-aware athletes, he probably should have picked on someone else instead of LeBron.
While his impact on the court is unquestionable, LeBron's presence off it is what makes him arguably one of the greatest athletes of all-time.
The Los Angeles Lakers star transcends basketball by using his platform to tackle issues surrounding racism, poverty and police brutality while also making constant contributions to charitable organisations across the United States.
I mean, the bloke has even opened his own high school in Ohio.
In most people's eyes, he's the model professional sportsman.
So upon hearing Zlatan's comments, the four-time NBA champion couldn't help himself but respond.
"At the end of the day I would never shut up about things that are wrong," LeBron said.
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
"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."
With a response like that, AC Milan striker Zlatan will probably think twice about going after LeBron again.
His remarks took a lot of people by surprise and left many sports fans divided in opinion over whether he was speaking the truth.
"What he does is phenomenal, but I don't like it when people with a certain 'status' talk about politics," Zlatan originally said.
"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."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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