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Hangin' with the Heismans

A night with Bush, Leinart ... and the real photo story

Posted: Friday December 16, 2005 4:15PM; Updated: Monday December 19, 2005 6:46PM
Reggie Bush (left) and Matt Leinart lived it up in New York after the Heisman ceremony.
Reggie Bush (left) and Matt Leinart lived it up in New York after the Heisman ceremony.
Walter Iooss Jr./SI

It may be a Saturday night and a line of limos may be parked outside, but perennial Manhattan hotspot Marquee looks dead from the outside. While barricades are lined up around the front of the club, a couple of doormen wearing parkas and sipping on coffee wave off people like flies until there is no one left.

"If you're not on the list don't even bother tonight," says one to a group of women wearing clothes that would be deemed skimpy on South Beach. "I don't care who you know, it doesn't matter tonight."

With Kanye West's Gold Digger audible from outside with the constant opening and closing of the club's doors, the large entourages rolling with Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush a few hours after the Heisman Trophy ceremony at the nearby Nokia Theatre walk into the club without a hitch, and are quickly escorted past the roped off stairs leading up to their respective tables which are right across from each other.

Soon after sitting down, the area around Leinart's and Bush's tables becomes ridiculously crowded, ridiculously fast, making it nearly impossible for anyone to move, causing Leinart and Bush to soak in the atmosphere from atop the plush couches around their table. As the Black Eyed Peas' My Humps plays to the delight of all the girls wearing Seven jeans and True Religion, Leinart puts his arms around a couple of his friends from USC and tells them to order whatever they want. "I'm so glad you guys are here," Leinart says. "Thanks for coming out."

Although Leinart likes to party more than he'll admit -- he hit up Marquee, Butter and Bungalow 8 during his three-day stay in New York -- he loves being with his old friends more than hanging with the occasional C-list celebrity. Last year, he made sure backup quarterbacks Brandon Hance and Billy Hart flew to New York to be with him for the Heisman ceremony. This year, Hart returned as did receiver and former roommate Greig Carlson and tailback LenDale White, who split time sitting at the two tables. "I want everyone to know I'm here to support Matt and Reggie," White said. "I love those guys."

While Leinart, who changed out of his suit for a more comfortable black shirt and slacks, held court at his table with his brother Ryan, Carlson, Hart, Pete Carroll's daughter, Jaime, and professional surfer and USC student Bron Heussenstamm, Bush was still in his blue pinstriped three-piece suit and blue tinted glasses, taking in the night with his friends with a bottled water in hand, passing up on the bottles of Grey Goose and Belvedere that sat nearby.