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Art Heyman

(1941 - 2012)

Arthur Bruce “Art” Heyman was an American professional basketball player. Heyman, who was Jewish, was born in New York City. After attending Oceanside High School in Nassau County, New York, the 6'5" guard/forward was heavily recruited by many schools, and originally signed a letter of intent to play for the North Carolina Tar Heels. At the last moment, however, Heyman changed his mind and agreed to play for the Tar Heels' greatest rivals, the Duke Blue Devils.

Due to NCAA eligibility rules that prohibited freshmen from playing varsity sports, Heyman played his first year at then racially segregated Duke with the freshman team, which compiled a record of 10–5, including three victories over the Tar Heels. During one of the Duke-North Carolina freshman games, North Carolina freshman Dieter Krause attacked Heyman, leading to a melee where the two coaches had to be restrained from attacking each other.

During his sophomore season, Heyman starred for the varsity team, and North Carolina and Duke again were at each other's throats. On February 4, 1961, the Duke and North Carolina freshman teams had played the first game of the double header. There were multiple fights during the game, and North Carolina had finished the game with only three players on the floor (five North Carolina players had fouled out, and three more had been ejected for fighting). During the varsity game that night, Heyman was involved in two incidents, where he first pushed over a fan who he thought was attacking him, and then in the closing minutes of the game, while trying to protect a slim Duke lead, Heyman committed a hard foul against future Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown who was attempting to drive to the hoop. Brown threw the ball and then a punch at Heyman, touching off a general melee, which saw future basketball executive Donnie Walsh, then a substitute player for North Carolina, also attack Heyman. The melee lasted about ten minutes, and despite Heyman being ejected for fighting, his 36 points had given Duke the victory, 81–77.

Brown, Walsh and Heyman were all suspended for the remainder of the ACC season. Heyman finished the season averaging 25 points and nearly 11 rebounds per game, and despite his suspension, Heyman was voted to the All-ACC basketball first team. He also won numerous national plaudits, being named to the UPI and AP Third-Team All American squad.

In 1962, Heyman's junior year, he again had a great year (scoring 25.3 points per game, and averaging over 11 rebounds per game), but Duke failed to make the post season, being upset by the Clemson Tigers in the ACC Tournament semi-final. Heyman was once again voted to the All-ACC Basketball first team, and the AP and UPI Second Team All-American squad.

Art Heyman was named MVP of the 1963 NCAA tournament, even though Duke finished third.

Heyman averaged 25.1 points per game and scored 1,984 total points while at Duke University, which were both school records at that time. Heyman is one of three athletes in ACC History to have been elected unanimously to the All-ACC Men's Basketball team three times, along with David Thompson and Tyler Hansbrough.

Heyman's success in college led to him being selected first in the 1963 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks. During his first season with the team, he averaged 15.4 points per game and made the NBA All-Rookie Team. However, his mercurial temper and frequent outbursts saw his playing time with the Knicks decreased during his second year, and his scoring average dropped to 5.7 points per game. Heyman parted ways with New York in 1965, and after brief stints with the Cincinnati Royals and Philadelphia 76ers, he left the NBA for the American Basketball Association in 1967. He played in the ABA for the next three seasons with the New Jersey Americans, Pittsburgh Pipers, Minnesota Pipers and Miami Floridians, winning a league championship with the Pittsburgh Pipers in 1968 as he averaged over 20 points a game.

Heyman retired from professional basketball in 1970 with 4,030 combined NBA/ABA points.

Heyman was inducted into the Duke Sports Hall of Fame and the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and his Duke jersey number #25 was retired in 1990.

In 1996, he opened Tracy J's Watering Hole in Manhattan, New York. Heyman died at age 71 on August 27, 2012 in Clermont, Florida.

Sources: Wikipedia