Los Angeles Dodgers got help from Kobe Bryant to convince Shohei Ohtani to sign record-breaking contract

Shohei Ohtani
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

How does a team convince a worldwide superstar like Shohei Ohtani to sign a record-breaking contract to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers? We imagine it wasn’t too difficult to convince Shohei Ohtani to agree to a $700 million contract so he’d get to continue playing baseball in sunny Los Angeles, albeit now for a team that gives him a much stronger chance at winning his first World Series.

Still, having a little help from the late Hall of Fame Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant probably didn’t hurt.

While Bryant obviously wasn’t able to grace Ohtani or anyone else with his presence this offseason, the Dodgers still had an old video clip the former Lakers recorded for the team back in 2017 during their original Ohtani pursuit.

Ohtani never got to see Bryant’s pitch the first time around, which only made the feature all the more surprising six years later when the Dodgers busted out the near-two minute clip for Ohtani to see.

“Back in 2017, Bryant had filmed the clip as a favor to the team. Now, more than three years after his death in a helicopter crash, Bryant’s reputation as the ultimate competitor spans all sports, and his message to Ohtani registered the same posthumously in 2023 as it would have then: There’s no better place in the world to win than Los Angeles, and there’s no better team in baseball to win with than the Dodgers.”

ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez and Jeff Passan on Dodgers’ Ohtani pitch

Through his interpreters, Ohtani admitted seeing the video from Bryant was “one of the highlights of the whole meeting.”

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