Shohei Ohtani take by Bill Plaschke Credit: The Dan Patrick Show

Los Angeles has more sports stars right now than perhaps ever before. But longtime Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke believes new Dodgers slugger Shohei Ohtani has Lakers forward LeBron James beat in terms of star power.

In an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday, Plaschke argued Ohtani’s global fame and unique greatness put him above the 39-year-old James.

“Ohtani’s number one right now,” Plaschke said. “Because he’s worldwide, he’s bigger than LeBron right now. He’s huge, he’s global.”

Plaschke added that while Ohtani has a reputation for avoiding the media, his greatness is an unparalleled draw.

“I can’t tell you how big getting him was,” the columnist and Around the Horn contributor said. “He’s so magnetic, he’s so fun to talk to, he’s such a great athlete.”

Plaschke may be the only person to publicly say Ohtani is great to talk to. Not many reporters have been able to snag interviews with him, leading some to wonder whether his profile will actually rise with the Dodgers or instead pose challenges in the clubhouse.

While Plaschke was clearly hyping Ohtani up rather than hyping James down, the conversation is fascinating. Ohtani surely is a global icon, but James is as well. James is Nike’s signature athlete, and his sneakers sell like crazy across the world. The NBA is huge in parts of Europe and Asia, while Ohtani’s popularity may be more centralized to southeast Asia.

Still, when you consider that Ohtani is only in his first year on a premiere franchise whereas James has been in the spotlight forever, perhaps Plaschke is telling the future here.

[The Dan Patrick Show on YouTube]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.