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The Beat

DESPITE TELLING teammate Matt Leinart that he was in "game mode" before last Saturday's Heisman Trophy announcement began, eventual winner Reggie Bush, the star running back from USC, couldn't help being overcome with emotion when he heard his name announced as the 71st winner. "I wasn't nervous until they called my name, and then all hell broke loose," says Bush, who teared up when he thanked his parents. "I prepared and prepared and prepared a speech, and I didn't remember half of it when I got up there." Afterward Bush hopped in a stretch limo and headed to Manhattan hot spot Marquee, where Leinart celebrated his Heisman win last year. Bush and Leinart were shown to tables on the club's velvet-roped-off second floor, where they were joined by teammates LenDale White, Greig Carlson and about 50 other friends and family members. Bush shook hands and took pictures with clubgoers, including New Jersey Nets forward Richard Jefferson, who hugged Bush and kissed him on top of his head. "It still hasn't sunk in," said Bush on Saturday night. "Maybe it will when I wake up."

■ Struck, perhaps, by the number of successful TV sitcoms about dysfunctional families, George Clooney (above) and the Maloof family (which owns the Sacramento Kings) are planning to produce an HBO series about the wacky misadventures of an NBA expansion team. Vlade Divac, who spent six years with the Kings, must have left a lasting impression on his former bosses: He's rumored to be in line to star as a veteran player on the fictional franchise.

■ The Detroit area has produced or fostered many famous music figures, including Marvin Gaye, the Supremes and John Lee Hooker, not to mention Madonna and Eminem. So when the gig as the halftime entertainment at Ford Field for Super Bowl XL on Feb. 5 was given to several elderly gents from Britain known as the Rolling Stones, many in the Motor City were displeased by such blatant anti-Martha-Reeves-and-the-Vandella-ism. Even Lions players (who have already sealed their fates as observers on the big day) have spoken out. "Why not Motown?" offensive lineman Damien Woody says. "Why not have a little touch of that flavor?" The NFL made amends by announcing that Detroit native Stevie Wonder would sing during the pregame.... Ichiro knows what it's like to be a national hero in his homeland of Japan; now he's trying his hand as a heel. The Mariners outfielder will play a murderous villain when he guest stars on Furuhata Ninzaburo Final, a Japanese serial drama that's similar to Columbo. Ichiro's freshman acting effort will air in his homeland in early January.


So that's why they call it handball. Irina Pusic of the Netherlands probably isn't a palm reader, but she had no trouble getting the message from Croatia's Maja Cop on this play. The two countries faced off at the Women's World Handball Championship in St. Petersburg, Russia, last week. The Netherlands won the match, but it was Croatia that advanced to the tournament's final round this week.


An Illinois state representative is planning to introduce legislation declaring the 1985 Bears the greatest football team ever.

They Said It


Jets center, on how fans of the 3-10 team will react to its record:

"The history is, they'll root for us to lose so we can get a high pick so they can boo it on draft day."