Los Angeles Dodgers Showed 6-Year-Old Video Pitch of Kobe Bryant to Recruit Shohei Ohtani

Ohtani revealed the video pitch won him over.

(Photo by Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images), (Photo by Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Dodgers had some help from the late Kobe Bryant in recruiting Shohei Ohtani to join the team.

According to ESPN's Alden Gonzalez and Jeff Passan, the Dodgers showed Ohtani a video package that included a message from Bryant that was recorded in 2017. That was the same year Ohtani agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Angels following his stellar career in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball.

“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,” Passan and Gonzalez wrote in their article. "This was their best pitch—the equivalent of Ohtani's sweeper to Mike Trout that ended the World Baseball Classic—and it suggested that even if 2012 and 2017 weren't the time for Ohtani and the Dodgers, now was.”

They continued, "Now was when he could build a legacy beyond the two American League Most Valuable Player awards and his reputation as the most talented player ever into something even better: championship rings."

Ohtani never got to meet the Black Mamba in person, but he was excited to hear Bryant call the 29-year-old baseball superstar's name in the video pitch.

"That was one of the highlights of the whole meeting," Ohtani said, per ESPN. "I was really surprised to see it. It was a strong and touching message."

Ohtani was announced as a Dodger earlier this week with a record-breaking contract where he’ll be making $700 million over 10 years. Both sides agreed to defer a staggering $680 million of his $700 million contract, according to ESPN's Alden Gonzalez.

Ohtani will earn $2 million per year throughout the course of his 10-year deal. The deferred money will be paid out in $68 million yearly installments from 2034 to 2043.

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