Sports celebrities react to Shohei Ohtani joining LA Dodgers in $700m deal

Contract’s claimed worth ranks alongside kinds of sums commanded by LeBron James and Lionel Messi

Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) lines out against the Cincinnati Reds during the second inning at Angel Stadium, in Anaheim, California, US on August 23, 2023. — Reuters

Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese baseball pro, has signed a $700 million 10-year contract with the LA Dodgers, making it the most expensive agreement in sports history, the BBC reported.

With the biggest contract in US Major League Baseball (MLB) history, Ohtani is now among the highest-paid sportsmen in the world.

The contract’s claimed worth ranks alongside — or even surpasses — the kinds of sums that legendary players like basketball player LeBron James and football player Lionel Messi have commanded.

In a statement posted on Instagram, Ohtani said the Angels would be “etched in my heart forever”, adding: “Until the last day of my playing career, I want to continue to strive forward not only for the Dodgers but for the baseball world.”

The 29-year-old designated hitter, considered one of the best in baseball, has been the most sought-after target, and his move to the Dodgers follows weeks of speculation about his future.

A major bidding war for his signature began when Ohtani, also known as “Showtime”, opted to leave the Los Angeles Angels as a free agent after his contract expired following a six-year stint, the BBC reported.

As soon as Ohtani’s latest move was announced, celebrity fans from the sports world posted their reactions online.

Red Sox’s Enrique Hernandez wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: “If anybody knows of a company that can pick up jaws from the floor, please let me know!!!”

Former NFL legend JJ Watt was almost at a loss for words.

Meanwhile, NL Rookie of the Year Michael Harris II didn’t have any words at all, just emojis.

Magic Johnson, a legendary athlete from Los Angeles, who owns a portion of the Dodgers, was happy with Ohtani’s decision to join the team.

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