Richard Jefferson comes to LeBron James’ defense, destroys Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Brendan O'Sullivan
2 Min Read

A day after international soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic ripped LeBron James for speaking up on political topics, James’ former teammate jumped to the 17-time All-Star’s defense.

Richard Jefferson most recently played alongside James with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016-17 season. He referenced multiple athletes that have been involved in politics, citing the importance of James to do so.

Bill Russell, one of the few Jefferson mentioned in his tweet, supported the NBA players’ protest in the bubble. He took part in an NBA boycott in 1961. Furthermore, Martenzie Johnson of the Undefeated wrote an article describing Russell as an “activist for the ages.”

Ibrahimovic’s comments came from an interview with UEFA and Discovery+ Sweden. He said he doesn’t want any athlete to get into politics — referencing James because of his prominence on the topics.

“He’s phenomenal, but I don’t like when people with a ‘status’ speak about politics. Do what you’re good doing,” Ibrahimovic said. “I play football because I’m the best 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: for me it is better to avoid certain topics and do what you’re good doing, otherwise you risk doing something wrongly.”

James has not responded to Ibrahimovic, but it’s fair to say he won’t stop talking about politics. He’s been a loud voice on the topic for quite a while. Recently, he slammed former President Donald Trump’s four years in office.

Ibrahimovic was also not the only person who’s spoken against James’ involvement in politics. In 2018, Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham told James to “shut up and dribble.”

After she said the phrase again in 2020, James responded potently on Twitter.

Without question, James’ political involvement will continue no matter who speaks against him.

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Brendan is a freelance writer for Lakers Daily and has covered the NBA and college basketball over the past few years. He’s also had experience writing and editing as the editor-in-chief of the Quinnipiac Chronicle, the university’s student-run newspaper.