Saturday, February 27, 2021

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

You probably don't know about Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a Swedish soccer player of Croat-Bosniak descent.  If you are up on these things over the last forty years, the place name Malm√∂ might occur to you and you would be right. He is one of the all-time greats.  He came into the news this week after telling LeBron James to just shut up about politics, which LeBron answered in typical self-righteous fashion. The American press, especially ESPN which is the LeBron network, gave him very sympathetic coverage. Who cares about European soccer players 'Bron? You're...The King.

People who have had actual suffering in their lives, and especially from the Slavic groups who can list the dead relatives from the previous generation off the top of their head, don't have a lot of sympathy for American athletes. Ask Enes Kanter what he thinks about the level of danger you faced in Akron, LeBron. Do you think he's intimidated just because you are a better basketball player? No, that would be Americans. Ibrahimovic cannot be cancelled by the Washington Post or even Fox Sports, and so is free to speak. No one even asks LBJ about China anymore.  Amazing what freedom of speech can elicit. Zlatan is not a gentle man, perhaps not even a very nice one.

I have been reluctant to admit that James is the greatest basketball player of all time, but he is.  I think Wilt was better than Jordan, but LeBron is better than either.  Yet he is just a bully - a player of great physical discipline but not much moral character. I don't discourage you from seeking out his video interviews about the issue.  I encourage you to go watch a few.


RichardJohnson said...

Can't say that I disagree with him about LeBron's vacuous statements on politics and current events.

I ran across Malmo in a book I recently read, Che Wants so See You. This is the memoir of Ciro Bustos (1932-2017), a lefty guerrilla of Argentine origin. His guerrilla bona fides include the 1960s action in Argentina's Salta province-Che was supposed to come but never did (Ciro says the Cubans double-crossed the project.)- and with Che's Bolivian adventure. He was the only Argentine that survived Che's Bolivian adventure. Captured with Regis Debray, 6 months before Che got killed.

He ended up in Malmo as a political refugee in the late 1970s, having fled Chile after the 1973 coup and then Argentina after the 1976 coup.

What I found interesting is that Ciro Bustos never integrated himself into Swedish society.Although Ciro Bustos has spent decades in Malmo, his contact with Swedes and his grasp of the Swedish language are minimal. Not very multicultural, is he?

Regarding the best basketball player, my NE bias goes toward the winner of the most rings, Bill Russell. Not everyone will agree with me.

Donna B. said...
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Donna B. said...

Why is it difficult to separate athletic ability, the ability to mimic or pretend (acting ability), or the ability to sing from the morality of the individual?

Why can't I admire the music composed by... say, Willie Nelson, without admiring his personal penchant for partaking of pharmaceuticals? Why can't I enjoy Barbara Streisand's voice without endorsing her politics?

In a perfect world, Willie and Barbara would just compose and sing and not express their opinions otherwise. NOTE that they are only examples.