LeBron made a bin Laden translator angry, but it’s not for the reason you may think.
The former translator to Osama bin Laden isn’t striking out against American excesses or the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq when he calls out NBA world champion and Olympic gold medalist LeBron James. Instead the Lebron/bin Laden translator feud boils down to something more simple, USA Today reported — a beef over basketball.
The translator, Muhammed Rahim, is working through lawyer Carlos Warner to complain about conditions he live in under US custody. His primary complaint is that certain prisoners were given cats as pets and that he was passed over for a kitty, but Rahim also channeled his Akron, Ohio-based lawyer in taking a dig at LeBron.
“Dear Mr. Warner!” he wrote in a letter which was recently declassified. “Lebron James is very bad man. He should apologize to the city of Cleveland.”
Warner says the Lebron/bin Laden translator comments stem from the Afghan man’s deep tribal roots. In the Afghan culture, loyalty is prized and “betrayals are not tolerated or forgiven, although an honest apology from an offending peer is valued,” Warner said. So for the bin Laden translator, LeBron’s decision to bolt Cleveland and play with the Miami Heat in 2010 was seen as the ultimate betrayal.
Rahim is seen by American intelligence agencies as an important asset because of his willingness to testify against 9/11 conspirators, New York Magazine reported. That might allow his LeBron James digs and cat complaints to slide a bit.
For LeBron, the bin Laden translator’s comments probably don’t sting too much. In the span of just a little less than two months the superstar finally made it over the hump in earning his first NBA championship, then led the US men’s Olympic basketball team to a gold medal.