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Zlatan Ibrahimovic criticizes LeBron James for activist role: 'Do the category that you do'

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AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has found a new way to say "stick to sports" and is aiming it at the most common target in Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.

Ibrahimovic, a former Los Angeles Galaxy star, doesn't approve of anyone with "status" getting involved in politics and took issue specifically with James.

Ibrahimovic doesn't approve of James' activism

Ibrahimovic, who is from Sweden, told UEFA and Discovery+ in Sweden James is "phenomenal, but I don't like when people with 'status' speak about politics at the same time as what they're doing."

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"Do what you’re good at. Do the category that you do," he said. "I play football because I’m the best at playing football, I’m no politician. If I’d been a politician, I would be doing politics. This is the first mistake famous people do when they become famous and come into a certain status. For me it is better to avoid certain topics and do what you’re best at doing, because otherwise it doesn't look good."

Ibrahimovic, 39, was with the Galaxy for two years. He joined AC Milan in December of 2019; the club is in contention for the Serie A title.

James' activism part of life as U.S. citizen

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) warms up before their NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) warms up before their NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

James' work off the court is lengthy and since everything can become political, his work is seen as political. As a citizen of the United States, James is entitled to voice his opinion for changes and work to put it into action.

He was critical of the leadership of former President Donald Trump, taking aim at the divisive rhetoric and backing current President Joe Biden during the election. Last summer, he founded "More Than a Vote" to help improve voter turnout and squash voter suppression tactics in the Black community. The NBA and WNBA players and teams worked in their bubble seasons to urge people to vote — just vote in general — and it worked. His "political" work goes beyond these moves over the past year.

Athletes and celebrities have used their platform to advocate for policies that typically fall under human rights categories. Some in those "status" categories have gone on to political jobs as senators, governors and even president of the United States. While most politicians have aspirations at a young age and are "career politicians" with previous jobs as lawyers or in business, there are many others who start elsewhere. Individuals in other labor categories use their voices and platforms while there to run for and win office, then using their experience to pass legislation helping others.

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