NBA stars have has rallied around LeBron James after he was criticised by Zlatan Ibrahimovic over his political activism.
The AC Milan striker started the row last month when he expressed his disappointment at LeBron James and other influential figures getting involved in politics and told them to stick to what they are good at.
The LA Lakers star then hit back, stating he is never someone who is going to just ‘shut up about things that are wrong’, insisting that he will never stop using his platform to speak out about political issues such as racial inequality.
The Swedish football legend responded and refused to back down on his stance, saying “Athletes must be athletes, politicians must be politicians,”
Some NFA stars have now come to James’ defense following the Swede’s repeated attacks.
Portland Trailblazer star Enes Kanter, who has been outspoken about the Erdogan regime in Turkey said: ‘Someone has to tell Ibrahimovic that there is a difference between political opinions and speaking out against persecution, oppression and calling out dictators.’
‘Black Lives Matter is not a political statement, we are speaking against oppression. In the United States we call it freedom of expression.’
He also wrote on Twitter: No, what divides humanity is dictators and authoritarians.
When athletes speak up, it’s not for fun or attention. It’s to hold these regimes accountable When you are arrogant and have no empathy or sympathy & only care for yourself, you can tell people not to stand up for justice.”
Former NBA All-Star Baron Davis was also critical of the former Manchester United striker.
In a Twitter post, he wrote: ‘Zlatan stay yo a** out of LA. Galaxy suck anyway. And you dumb as hell. Take that stolen Zoohan look and give it back to Sandler.’
Another former NBA star, Jeremy Lin, pointed to the hypocrisy within the world outside of sport saying: “When athletes donate money from the salaries they earn, no one seems to have a problem accepting it.
‘When athletes speak from the platform they earn, then we have problems? Double standards.’