LOS ANGELES -- Hollywood rolled out the red carpet for LeBron James on Sunday as the basketball superstar confirmed his blockbuster move to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Tinseltown celebrities and Lakers legends expressed delight at news of the deal while NBA rivals digested a move that sent the odds on a Los Angeles revival next season tumbling.
Lakers icon Kobe Bryant was among the first to congratulate James on his four-year, $154 million deal.
"Welcome to the family @KingJames," Bryant wrote on Twitter. "#lakers4life #striveforgreatness"
The Lakers have not made the NBA playoffs for five straight years, the longest streak of futility in franchise history.
But Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the six-time NBA champion who was part of the Lakers dynasty through the 1980s, expressed hope that James's arrival signaled a change in fortunes.
"I am sure the Lakernation is rejoicing," Abdul-Jabbar wrote on Twitter. "The acquisition of LeBron James means that the Lakers are just a smidgen away from being real contenders."
That belief appeared to be shared by Las Vegas oddsmakers, who rapidly installed the Lakers as contenders for next season's NBA crown.
The odds on the Lakers lifting the NBA title in James' first season fell to 7-2 on Sunday on the Westgate SuperBook following a flurry of betting.
Only the reigning champion Golden State Warriors are ahead of the Lakers in the betting.
Rival NBA players appeared to have been shocked by the move. "Damn," was the one-word verdict of Golden State's Nick Young.
Milwaukee Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe meanwhile added: "Didn't see that one coming."
ESPN analyst Adrian Wojnarowski said James' move represented a "seismic shift in the league" which sees him follow in the footsteps of Lakers icons such as Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O'Neal.
"They all went from the East to the West and all found their way to LA," Wojnarowski said on ESPN. "In a lot of ways it's the logical next step, maybe the final step, for LeBron James."
'Sweet Baby Jesus!'
Entertainment industry luminaries, fellow athletes and public figures were also ecstatic.
"LeBron welcome to Los Angeles," former action hero and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared on Twitter in a video message.
"It's so exciting that you're coming to the city of stars. And you're without going to be the biggest star of all, on the court and off the court. I love it," Schwarzenegger added.
Hollywood director Ava DuVernay added: "Welcome to LA, @KingJames! You’re gonna love my hometown. And we're gonna love you back!"
Iconic Hollywood horror director John Carpenter was similarly impressed. "Staggering news. LeBron James is coming to the Lakers. Sweet Baby Jesus!," Carpenter wrote on Twitter.
Rapper Snoop Dogg wrote simply: "Welcome home @KingJames."
Model Chrissy Teigen meanwhile gave James some friendly tips to life in Los Angeles.
"Welcome to LA! Friday is sunset rosé, laser facials on Monday," Teigen wrote.
"The rest of the week is running into people you don’t like at Soho House," she added, referring to a popular celebrity haunt.
Swedish football superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who joined the Los Angeles Galaxy earlier this year, added: "Now LA has a God and a King! Zlatan welcomes @KingJames."
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti meanwhile chimed: "The world's best player comes to the greatest city in the world. Welcome to the @Lakers, @KingJames!"
© Agence France-Presse
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