NBA superstar LeBron James has developed quite a few rivalries throughout his career. On the court, James had one with the Golden State Warriors back when he was on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Off the court, James had a back-and-forth with former President Donald Trump. Now, there may be one in the works with an international superstar. That international superstar is one of the greatest soccer players to ever play, too, as it is Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is an international superstar
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been one of the most successful soccer players of all-time.
According to ESPN, Ibrahimovic has played for nine clubs and seven leagues during his remarkable career that started in 1999. He has played for Malmo, Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, and LA Galaxy.
Ibrahimovic returned to AC Milan at the end of 2019, and he has since had a remarkable year at 39 years old. His talents have AC Milan contending for a Serie A title, and his 14 goals are only behind Romelu Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ibrahimovic also reached an impressive career milestone earlier in February 2021, as he scored his 500th career club goal.
The numbers and his longevity prove that Ibrahimovic has been an international star throughout his career. Now, he is calling out another international star.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic called out NBA superstar LeBron James
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has always been one of the more vocal soccer stars, and he recently called out one of the more vocal NBA stars in LeBron James.
“(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 to UEFA for Discovery+, according to USA Today. “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.”
James has been critical of former President Donald Trump in the past. He has also voiced his opinion on several issues over the years.
Ibrahimovic continued: “That is the big 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.”
That’s certainly a bold take. It gives off a similar vibe as to when Laura Ingraham of Fox News told LeBron James to “shut up and dribble” Many people share Ibrahimovic’s opinion, too, as they believe athletes should just do the jobs that they get paid so much to do. However, history has proven that Ibrahimovic is wrong — especially in the case of James.
LeBron James’ choice to not just stick to the NBA and to basketball has ultimately paid off for many Americans.
LeBron James won’t just ‘shut up and dribble’
Sure, James has criticized former President Donald Trump in the past and has supported the likes of current President Joe Biden. But James isn’t just talk.
James helped form More Than a Vote in 2020, which helped improve voter turnout and reduce voter suppression in Black communities. He also has his I Promise School and House Three Thirty. According to the Los Angeles Times, House Three Thirty is a community center in his home of Akron, Ohio, for families in his I Promise program. His program includes the school, low-cost housing, and the plans for the center which include “financial planning, job training, physical activity, and community events” all in one location, per the LA Times.
Yes, LeBron James is an unreal basketball player. He is a four-time NBA MVP, four-time NBA champion, four-time NBA Finals MVP, and he is third in NBA history in total points scored. However, while basketball helped make him who he is today, it also gave him a platform to make a change.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is also great at what he does in playing soccer. It is completely fine for him to not get involved in politics, too. However, based on the impact that the LA Lakers star has made in his life, it’s hard to see a world where Ibrahimovic is justified in calling out NBA superstar LeBron James.
It will be interesting to see if James responds.