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YouTube Find: Art Heyman Interview

Interesting insights into one of Duke’s greatest players.

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Art Heyman
Art Heyman takes on UNC’s Billy Cunningham
Forrest Jerome

You have to be a certain age to know what kind of a player Art Heyman was and you probably would have to have spent some time around him to understand what kind of guy he was and what his voice sounded like.

If we remember correctly, Vic Bubas used to call him Arthur from time to time and we bet he hated that. He was Art or Artie.

Anyway, back to the point: we came across this YouTube interview with Heyman from 1965. He was pitching an exhibition game with various recent college stars including Jeff Mullins, his former Duke teammate.

It’s a short clip and interesting in some ways. First, check out the microphone. Technology has really changed. That thing couldn't have been easy to hold for long.

Second, look at what he’s wearing. It’s an awkward suit to say the least. However, NBA guys in those days made a much more modest salary.

Finally, the voice.

It’s very New Yorkish of course - you’d expect that - but given his Duke legend, we expected something much more...what? Deep? No, that’s not it. Suave? Maybe. Or maybe more forceful. That’s probably closer.

There’s a lot more insecurity there than we expected and there’s a tension between Arthur and Artie.

Arthur’s basically running the show here but you can sense Artie is used to being in charge and he doesn’t like being second banana.

You don’t have to have seen Heyman play to get a sense of his ferocious energy or his ability to get distracted. He was famous for both. Even now, there are probably more great Heyman stories than there are about any other subsequent Duke players. No one could ever touch the Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Robertson story, or the massive fight with UNC (for years Heyman - Artie - gleefully said “I hit Frank McGuire in the nuts!” And in later years he said McGuire ran into him and said “it still hurts Artie.” Who could possibly top that?)

It’s a pretty fascinating piece of video in many ways.

At times we wonder what it would have been like if Heyman had come 20 years later and played for Coach K.

The game had changed enormously of course, but any coach would admire Heyman’s competitive nature.

We’re pretty sure he would have clashed with Coach K on disciplinary issues though, which is fine. Times change.

But still, when you get down to it in many ways, Heyman remains the living, breathing heart of Duke basketball. The fierce competitiveness, the desire to work hard and play hard, the intense dislike of UNC - he was the template for all of it.

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