Over the years, the sports world has evolved in pretty monumental ways. Now, more than ever, players are empowered and emboldened to not only do what they want in their sport but also use their platform to speak on issues they deem are worthy.
The result has been an unavoidable mix of sports and politics for America, with many athletes speaking up, voicing their opinions, and going to war with those who oppose or challenge their views.
For the NBA specifically, LeBron James has really not been shy about stepping foot in the political world. In the past, he has called out Donald Trump and other Republicans for their policies and behavior while also advocating and supporting liberal ideas and agendas.
Obviously, this sort of action by James has led to some controversy over the years, including from folks who feel he shouldn't be speaking on such things publicly at all.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with France Football, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (who has already spoken his mind on the activity of LeBron James) recently called out "The King" again for dividing the people on matters that aren't necessarily his area of expertise.
Does your opinion still diverge from that of LeBron James, who you have clashed with?
Zlatan: I said that we are not politicians. Politics divides people. Football, in my world, unites people. Big difference. Because I have had the chance to meet and get to know people that I would never have known if I did not play football. I have met people from all four corners of the world. We unite people. Politicians divide. If I wanted to be a politician, I would do politics. We should only do what we’re good at. Sports and politics are two different categories. If you are intelligent, you understand.
In Zlatan's view, it's not LeBron's job nor place to use his basketball platform in the area of politics, especially since he has no experience in that world.
Is it not more that you fear to take a position?
Zlatan: Whether I take a position or not is not a question. It relates to what you do, and what message you want to send. Us, footballers, we produce love and joy. You cannot bring your politics into the world. I am not here to send a bad message to people. I am just here to unite, spread love and joy. This is the best means we have to do it. Football or sport. Because we are good for that. I am good for that. I am good at football.
What Bron does behind closed doors is his own business. He's a grown man who can support any candidate or issue he wants to.
The problem for many is when James goes public with his views, speaking out on policies and politicians as if he himself was one.
No matter whose side you're on, or how you feel about athletes bringing politics into their sport, it's certainly an issue that generates a lot of conversation.