Kobe Bryant’s final game held up the announcement of a blockbuster NFL trade by 12 hours

Kobe BryantRobert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports

Kobe Bryant’s final NBA game wasn’t the only big story in the world of sports on Wednesday night. In fact, neither was the Golden State Warriors’ 73rd win.

Around 9:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Rams and the Tennessee Titans agreed to a blockbuster trade that will give the Rams the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft in exchange for a boatload of picks. It’s a massive trade — by far the biggest news right now in the NFL world.

But according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, both teams decided to postpone the announcement of the trade because of Kobe Bryant.

Rams and Titans agreed to trade at 9:30 pm ET Wednesday and withheld announcement so nothing would detract from Kobe Bryant’s last NBA game.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 14, 2016

Now, you can look at this one of two ways. The first is how Schefter frames it, which is that the teams withheld the announcement in order to honor Kobe Bryant, one of sports’ greatest stars.

That’s all well and good, but almost certainly not what really happened here. Rather, the Rams — new residents of L.A., remember — likely wanted to wait out the 12 hours with the hopes that when they did break the news of the trade, on Thursday morning, it would have a better chance to dominate the news cycle. Now, the narrative can be about which quarterback — Carson Wentz or Jared Goff — will be the new face of Los Angeles sports, in the wake of Kobe’s retirement. If the news broke on Wednesday night, you likely would have read it on the ticker tape during NBA Countdown.

It makes sense. Just consider the TV ratings for last night’s Lakers game:

Overnight ratings, head-to-head: Warriors 73rd win on ESPN got a 2.7, Kobe’s last game got a 2.6 on ESPN2.

— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) April 14, 2016

Kobe game is highest rated regular season game on ESPN2 ever. Warriors is highest rated regular season non X-Mas game on ESPN since ’14

— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) April 14, 2016

Of course, the sports news cycle on Thursday has been dominated by both Kobe and the blockbuster NFL trade. And in case there were ever a doubt about Kobe’s popularity, his finale causing a much larger, more important piece of news in an entirely different league to be postponed for 12 hoursshould clear things up.

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