Few athletes have captured the imagination of sports and pop culture quite like Reggie Bush did during the height of USC’s success as a college football powerhouse in the mid-2000s. Bush was part of the Trojans’ back-to-back national championship runs and won a Heisman Trophy during the Pete Carroll era in Los Angeles. Consider these numbers from Bush in 2005, his final season at USC: 2,218 total yards, 18 touchdowns and an immeasurable amount of viral highlights.
Bush, 38, went on to spend more than a decade in the NFL and is now turning this same competitiveness into another passion: golf. During an exclusive interview with Heavy Sports, Bush discussed the ever-changing college football landscape, USC’s reemergence into a national power and his exciting new partnership with golf apparel brand TravisMathew.
Our conversation took place days before the Big Ten snagged Oregon and Washington on August 4, 2023, adding to the list of former Pac-12 universities in the new-look conference. Bush admitted that things will look differently when USC faces opponents like Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State on a regular basis but said he was in favor of realignment.
“It’s gonna be weird, yes, at first, but I love change,” Bush said. “As much as everybody in college football loves tradition. … I love change, and I want to see USC on the big stage. We would have loved the opportunity to play more games against SEC opponents. … We would have loved the opportunity to play [against] other conferences.
“It’s going to be a little different at first seeing USC playing in the Big Ten, but I think quickly fans are going to love it. Seeing Ohio State come to LA. Penn State come to LA, Michigan, those are going to be some big-time games.
“I also can’t wait to see them play in the cold. I want to see them play in some of these cold-weather games, because when I was at USC, we always hated that teams saw us as strictly [a] West Coast team that couldn’t play in other adverse weather conditions. We didn’t get those opportunities as much as we would have liked to, but those are just things that we heard about the West Coast teams and teams like us.”
Reggie Bush to USC Head Coach Lincoln Riley: Embrace the Hollywood Culture
Just like when Bush was running through opposing defenses, USC is back to being a title contender under Lincoln Riley. The latest odds have the Trojans sixth among favorites at +1600 to hoist the trophy. Bush is getting flashbacks to his time in Los Angeles but has a message for Riley: embrace the Hollywood culture.
“Nobody really embraced the [Hollywood] culture like that since Pete [Carroll],” Bush said. “That’s one of the unique things that you have in L.A., that you have in Hollywood. If you embrace the culture the right way, it’s gold.
“I hope that Lincoln Riley understands that. I think he does, because I think he’s got something special there right now, and I haven’t felt that way since I’ve left about any other coach.”
Reggie Bush: ‘USC Will Always Be the Big Brother in LA to UCLA’
Bush may be nearly two decades removed from his USC playing days, but the star has not forgotten the crosstown rivalry against UCLA. The former running back gets candid noting that the Trojans “will always be the big brother in LA to UCLA,” a reality Bush sees continuing in the Big Ten.
“He’s [Riley] got the winning effect, obviously now he’s notched another Heisman Trophy winner under his belt,” Bush adds. “If they win the same way they did last year, maybe one or two more games and get to the Playoff and maybe even win it and he embraces that Hollywood culture, it’s going to be just like our 2003-05 era.
“It will be the same exact way. Because, again, LA can offer something that no other school can offer, not even UCLA,” Bush continues. “Not even UCLA can really truly offer that, because you gotta have the winning, right, on the football field. You gotta get the recruits and you gotta get the Heisman Trophies.
“That’s where USC will always be the big brother in LA to UCLA. But man, I just hope that Lincoln Riley understands, and if he doesn’t I’m gonna tell him. I got his phone number I’m gonna text him actually right after we get off this [interview].”
TravisMathew & Reggie Bush Are Partnering to Create a New Apparel Line
The longtime football player is just as passionate when the subject turns to golf. Bush is partnering with TravisMathew to help design a new apparel line that is expected to be available in spring 2024.
“I fell in love with golf around the end of my football career,” Bush said. “And it’s funny because that was around the time period where I was on these one-year deals, and I could feel I was on the way out of the league. I was kind of near the end, I just didn’t know how much longer [I would play in the NFL].
“When I got introduced to golf, it was through some of my teammates and friends that played and loved to talk trash and loved to bet money. So, it started off as a competitive thing for me because I wasn’t good, and I thought I could just be an athlete and go in and hit the golf ball. I quickly learned and was humbled when I learned that you have to put a lot of work and effort into hitting good shots. And so, I just started falling in love with the strategy to golf.”
Now, Bush is expanding this competitiveness from the golf course to the fashion world. TravisMathew and Bush share a desire to create apparel that can also be worn away from the links.
“I just want to bring a little fashion and design to it,” Bush remarks excitedly. “Make it look nice [and] add some of my own colors and patterns and things that I’ve been thinking about.
“I think the key piece for me is creating outfits, so it’s not just the shirt,” he said. “It’s a shirt plus plants plus shorts that all work together.”