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Soccer Legend Calls Out LeBron James Over Political Activism

LeBron James in the Los Angeles Lakers Black Mamba alternate uniforms during an NBA FInals game against the Miami Heat.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 02: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during the second half against the Miami Heat in Game Two of the 2020 NBA Finals at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on October 02, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

For as incredible as LeBron James has been on the court during the latter part of his career, he's making an even bigger impact off of it. The NBA legend hasn't been afraid to speak his mind when it comes to politics either, which rubs another elite athlete—A.C. Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic — the wrong way.

Ibrahimovic, who spent 2018-19 playing in MLS with the LA Galaxy, recently sat for an interview with Discovery+. During the discussion, he said that he admires LeBron as a basketball player, but thinks that he and other players are making a mistake when they speak out about social and political issues.

"[LeBron] is 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, per ESPN. "Do what you're good at. Do the category you do. I play football because I'm the best at playing football.

"I don't do politics. If I would be a political politician, I would do politics. That is the first mistake people do when they become famous and they become in a certain status. Stay out of it. Just do what you do best because it doesn't look good."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has never shied away from controversy, so while it isn't surprising that he'd share his opinion about LeBron James here, it is that he believes players should "stick to sports." Obviously, if someone isn't comfortable wading into politics, that is their right, but LeBron has more than proven that he is passionate about trying to make the lives of others better.

In 2018, he opened the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron. In 2020, he launched the More Than A Vote organization, which helped register voters and promote turnout among the Black community for the 2020 elections.

Ibrahimovic has been a major force in international soccer since he made his senior team debut for Malmo FF in 1999. He has played for some of the world's biggest franchises, including Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, and now for a second time, A.C. Milan.

[ESPN]