Art Heyman personally brought the Duke-North Carolina rivalry into the modern era.
One of the greatest Duke basketball players of all time, Art Heyman, died last night at age 71, according to a tweet from the Blue Devils' official team account. Heyman, the National Player of the Year in 1963, was recently named one of the five greatest Blue Devils of the past 50 years in ESPN's coutdown of the top 50 programs over that span (Duke came in at No. 4). In addition to those honors and the No. 25 that hangs in Cameron Indoor's rafters, Heyman holds a special place in Duke lore for one other notable reason.
College basketball’s most storied duel entered its modern phase in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Feb. 4, 1961, when both the freshman and varsity games featured fights. The most notable brawl occurred at the end of the main event when 10 Durham policemen attempted to break up a stadium-wide melee after North Carolina’s Larry Brown punched Duke’s Art Heyman (a former UNC commit) after a hard foul.
GoDuke.com's Al Featherston (a longtime Duke beat writer) wrote a much more detailed account of Heyman's recruiting and other events that led to the brawl on the floor. Give it read, if you've got a second. And, if you didn't already, watch the clip of the fight at the post of the post. 'Twas a fight, indeed.
The news of Heyman's death, which, as noted above, was announced via twitter, brought a wave of tweets from Duke alumni near and far:
Sorry to hear of the passing of Duke great Art Heyman. May he rest in peace.
RIP Art Heyman, No. 25, ACC Basketball legend. He was a tough player, and a true original.
Gods Bball team up in heaven just got alot better and tougher!! RIP ArtHeyman!
Thoughts and prayers go out to Art Heyman and his family... A Duke legend...His #25 will hang in Cameron forever!!
Rest in peace to Mr. Art Heyman, one of the best to ever wear a Duke uniform. Prayers go out to his family and friends.