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Rui Hachimura reacts to Shohei Ohtani signing with Dodgers: ‘It’s really big’

Rui Hachimura learned what it’s like when Los Angeles fully embraces you last season when he was traded to the Lakers. Now, he’s thrilled to see the city doing the same for Shohei Ohtani.

MLB: JUL 08 Angels at Dodgers Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Lakers are a historic franchise, a global brand. When you think of Los Angeles, they are as synonymous with this city as the sunsets, traffic and palm trees,

The only team that rivals the Lakers' popularity in L.A. is the Dodgers.

So when Shams Charania reported Shohei Ohtani was leaving the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the Dodgers, it was the talk of the town.

Now, while the Lakers didn't have a direct involvement in Ohtani joining the Dodgers, Kobe Bryant did play a role, as footage of him was used in the recruitment of the star pitcher, as reported by Alden Gonzalez and Jeff Passan of ESPN.

The news of Ohtani joining the Dodgers was still a topic of discussion days later, so it wasn't a surprise that Rui Hachimura was asked about it following the Lakers matchup on Friday against the San Antonio Spurs.

"It's really big," Hachimura said. "In Japan, of course, but he's a worldwide player, you know. He's the best player in the world right now. Baseball is the biggest sport in Japan. Everybody talks about him right now. L.A. has a big Japanese community."

Hachimura and Ohtani have a similar trajectory, even if the newest Dodger is clearly more famous.

Last season, Hachimura experienced firsthand the notoriety and attention that comes with playing well in L.A. when he was traded from the Wizards to the Lakers. His arrival helped turnaround the season for the purple and gold.

Like Ohtani, Hachimura is also of Japanese descent and spoke about how his presence will impact the Asian community in L.A.

"He's wanted to do that for a long time," Hachimura said. "Even for me, too. L.A. has a big Japanese community and Asian community. It's good for us. We feel more at home. It's good for Japan. I think it's good for him. I think it's going to be great."

Few have embraced being a Laker and supporting the Dodgers like Hachimura. He throws up L.A. with his hands at every opportunity and was all smiles when he threw out the first pitch at Japanese Heritage Night at Dodger Stadium.

I'm guessing that night will be even more special this season, with Ohtani wearing Dodger Blue and Hachimura likely present supporting the City of Angels' newest star.

You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.

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