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Zlatan Ibrahimovic mocks LeBron James social, political activism

LeBron James is among the most socially and politically active professional athletes of this or any other era. In fact, James was named Time’s Athlete of the Year in 2020 precisely for his activism.

Despite such an accolade and the influence James wields beyond the basketball court, AC Milan star Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes the Los Angeles Lakers star is making a “mistake” being so outspoken on issues and topics outside of basketball.

Ibrahimovic, who starred with L.A. Galaxy from 2018-19, belittled James’ activism during an interview for UEFA for Discovery+ in Sweden on Thursday.

“[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, via 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.”

Ibrahimovic’s arguably dubious broadside is not the first time James has been told to “shut up and dribble” in some or another, and it certainly will not be the last. Interestingly enough, the phrase was the inspiration behind the title of James’ three-part documentary series for Showtime in 2018.

James was disparaged a few years ago by FOX News host Laura Ingraham, who suggested the NBA superstar should stop involving himself in political and social issues. Instead, Ingraham argued James should “shut up and dribble” in a harsh critique.

James has made it abundantly clear time and time again that he will never heed such advice, especially from Ibrahimovic.