Last week, star footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic made some interesting comments that sparked controversy regarding Los Angeles Laers star LeBron James. The AC Milan forward suggested that James should "stick to sports" and not focus on politics. 

Since those comments, James responded basically saying that he won't stick to sports. It is not the first time James has been told this, such as when racist Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham said the same sentiments.

It has since prompted Zlatan to comment back recently. We are unsure if this back-and-forth is going to continue, but here is what has happened so far in the exchange between the two sports icons. 

February 25, 2021: Zlatan Calls Out LeBron

"[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.

"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."

February 26, 2021: LeBron Responds to Zlatan

"He was the same guy who said when he was back in Sweden ... because his last name wasn't a certain last name, that he felt there was some racism going on when he was out on the pitch," James said. "I speak from a very educated mind, so I'm kind of the wrong guy to actually go at because I do my homework."

Several years ago, Ibrahimovic said he was subject to "undercover racism" in his native Sweden because his Bosnian roots gave him a surname that doesn't sound traditionally Swedish.

"I am not Andersson or Svensson," Ibrahimovic told Canal+ in 2018, referring to what he considered racist treatment from the media. "If I would be that, trust me, they would defend me even if I would rob a bank. They would defend me, I tell you."

James was undeterred by Ibrahimovic's stance against him and explained why he approaches off-the-court issues in the manner that he does.

"I would never shut up about things that are wrong," James said following the Lakers' 102-93 win over the Trail Blazers on Friday night. "I preach about my people, and I preach about equality. Social injustice. Racism. Systematic voter suppression. Things that go on in our community.

"Because I was a part of my community at one point and saw the things that was going on, and I know what's going on still because I have a group of 300-plus kids at my school that are going through the same thing, and they need a voice. And I'm their voice. I'm their voice, and I use my platform to continue to shed light on everything that may be going on, not only in my community, but around this country and around the world.

"So, there's no way I would ever just stick to sports, because I understand how this platform and how powerful my voice is."

March 2, 2021: Zlatan Doubles Down on LeBron Take

Speaking in a news conference Tuesday ahead of the start of the Italian music festival Sanremo, which Ibrahimovic is co-hosting, he addressed his comments.

"Athletes unite the world, politics divide it," he said. "Our role is to unite the world by doing what we do best. Athletes should be athletes and politicians should do politics."

Will this beef continue? I guess we will see.

Personally, I am on LeBron's side in this one.  


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