The Los Angeles Rams already understand the market.
For longer than Kobe Bryant has been a Laker, there has been no NFL team in Los Angeles. With that vacuum (and the fact the Dodgers had terrible ownership and stunk it up for most of that window) the Lakers owned the Los Angeles sports market. Kobe was a deity, the Lakers the top dogs.
Thursday morning, the just-returned L.A. Rams announced a blockbuster trade with the Tennessee Titans that gives the Rams the No. 1 overall pick in the draft (which they are expected to use on North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz). It’s huge NFL news in a market just getting used to caring about NFL news for it’s hometown team again.
The deal was agreed to Wednesday night, but the two teams decided not to announce the trade until the next day out of deference to Kobe Bryant’s farewell night, something Rams coach Jeff Fisher confirmed. This was something that other Rams officials had said earlier in the day.
Well played Rams.
Take it from a long-time Angelino, the Lakers, despite their stumbles of the past few seasons, remain the biggest draw and story in town (the Dodgers are closing that gap with Clayton Kershaw and playoff appearances). The Rams will jump up near the top quickly (their players are almost as well paid as USC’s), but Kobe is the biggest sports star in town, bar none. If the Rams had clumsily stepped on his toes, it would have been noticed.
Now we can just hope that Wentz goes on to have half the success Kobe did.