Who knows how the rivalry between North Carolina and Duke started but Art Heyman seem to be in the thick of it. While at Duke he was renowned to have been in some major incidents mostly with Duke's cross town rivals.
In their 1961 showdown Heyman made a calculated foul on North Carolina's Larry Brown (yes coach Brown as we know him today). Brown did not take too kindly to being fouled like that and responded with a punch. Donnie Walsh, NBA executive, came off the bench and sucker punched Heyman then ran away.
A fight ensued and fans even got involved though it was every man for themselves.
This is what Heyman said during an interview with Steve Bloom in 2006.
"With about seven seconds to go, he drove for the basket and I fouled him hard. He threw the ball at me and started swinging, and I cold-cocked him. I also hit Donnie Walsh [current president of the Indiana Pacers]. All three of us were suspended. It cost Duke the national championship because we had the best team in the country."
Turns out that Heyman had signed a letter of intent to play at UNC with his Long Island buddy Larry Brown but Duke new coach, Vic Bubas, managed to convince Heyman's parents that Duke was a better fit.
Indeed Heyman always had an attitude but he was a 6'5" 205 pound rebounding beast (college basketball's Dennis Rodman) and would probably be Duke's all time scorer if he had been allowed to play his freshman season.
Heyman averaged 25.1 points and 10.9 rebounds his three years on Duke's varsity squad. As a senior he won several national player of they year awards. He was also ACC player of the year and the NCAA tournament most valuable player even though Duke did not make the finals in 1963.
Heyman is currently in the Duke's Sports Hall of Fame and the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
After college he was drafted by the New York Knicks had a great rookie year but then fell out of favour with the coach and was benched. He eventually quit the NBA for the ABA.
Art Heyman is the first number one NBA overall pick in Duke's history and in 2002 he was named as one of the ACC's top 50 player of all time.
"I just didn’t care anymore." Heyman said to Steve Bloom."I had the ability, but I never had the right attitude. The worst thing that ever happened to me was being drafted by the Knicks. They thought I was the savior and I was wasn’t. I wasn’t 6’-10 and black. Back then you had to be Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlin."
Art Heyman, what a guy!