Heyman, Art : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Heyman, Art

Arthur Bruce Heyman

A member of the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, the Helms Sports Hall of Fame, and the Duke Sports Hall of Fame, Heyman was a three-time All-America while at Duke University in the early 1960s. One of the greatest college basketball players in history (ranked No. 83 all-time in the book Legends of College Basketball: The 100 Greatest Players of All Time), he was named to the official ACC top 50 men's basketball players of all-time. In 1963, Heyman capped a stellar career at Duke University by being named College Player of the Year, leading the Blue Devils to the school's first-ever Final Four appearance. The No. 1 pick in the 1963 NBA Draft, Heyman played professionally in the NBA and ABA for seven seasons.

At Duke, a Methodist University in North Carolina, few people were aware that Heyman was Jewish. Many thought he was a Protestant from Connecticut, because they had difficulty comprehending a Jew being a great athlete. Heyman received letters of praise from The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Horace Shelton, the head of a KKK chapter, who urged Heyman to continue to uphold the principles of white Christian supremacy. His father, Irv Sondak, played basketball at NYU.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. June 24, 1941

Career Highlights:
Before Duke became a factory for Players of the Year, Heyman was the school's greatest player when he played for the Blue Devils in the early 1960s. Born in New York, he was a terrific high school player on Long Island before choosing to play for Duke over arch-rival North Carolina. Heyman's involvement in the rivalry came to the forefront in February 1961, in only his 17th game as a Blue Devil. In the game against UNC, Art got into a tussle with Tar Heel, and fellow New York native, Larry Brown. A scuffle ensued and Heyman found himself opposite a North Carolina male cheerleader. Following the game, a UNC fan who was a lawyer wanted Art arrested, which of course, did not happen.

By the time he began playing for the Duke varsity, Heyman was such a polished player that he was the team's co-captain as a sophomore in 1961. That year, he was outstanding as he averaged 25.2 points and 10.9 rebounds per game and was named Converse second team All-America, and Helms, UPI, and AP third team All-America. Art finished second in the conference in scoring and was named All-ACC first team and All-ACC tournament first team as he led the Blue Devils to a record of 22-6 (10-4 in conference) and a No. 9 UPI ranking (No. 10 AP).

Art continued his exceptional play in 1962, again finishing second in the ACC in scoring with 25.3 points per game (he also added 11.2 rebounds per game). He repeated as All-ACC first team and All-tournament first team and was also named Helms first team All-America, and second team All-America by Converse, UPI, AP, and the National Coaches Association. Duke remained a top team behind their co-captain Heyman and finished the season ranked No. 10 in the AP poll (No. 13 UPI), with a record of 20-5 (11-3 in conference). Although Heyman was having a teriffic career, he could not lift his team into the NCAA tournament during his first two years. The tides turned in Heyman's senior season.

The year 1963 proved to be an incredible one for Heyman. That season he was ranked the country's best player and led Duke to its first-ever Final Four appearance. He averaged 24.9 points and 10.8 rebounds per game and was a consensus first team All-America and the Helms, UPI, Sporting News, and Sport Magazine College Player of the Year -- he was also named All-ACC first team and was Duke's MVP for the third year in a row. Heyman led the Blue Devils to a No. 2 ranking (AP and UPI) and into the NCAA tournament on the strength of 24-2 regular season record -- they were the ACC regular season and conference tournament champion. In fact, their only two losses came early in the season and they entered the tournament on an 18-game winning streak. In his final regular season home game -- against North Carolina -- Heyman scored 40 points for a 106-93 Duke win.

Heyman's performance was equally remarkable in the tournament; he scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in Duke's 81-76 victory over NYU (with All-America Barry Kramer) in the East Regional Semifinal. In the East Final, he scored 16 points, had 10 rebounds and three assists as Duke beat St. Joseph's 73-59 to advance to the school's first-ever Final Four. In the National Semifinal, Heyman scored 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, but fouled out, and Duke lost 94-75 to the eventual National Champion, Loyola (Illinois). In the National Third Place game, Heyman capped off a great tournament with 22 points and 7 rebounds in Duke's 85-63 win. Art was named NCAA tournament MVP.

By the time he finished at Duke, Heyman had established a three-year scoring record of 1,984 points, which is still a Duke record (he also had 865 rebounds for a 10.9 average). His career average at Duke was 25.1 points a game (first all-time in Duke history), and his single game high was 40 points. Duke has retired his jersey, No. 25. Through the 2002-03 season, Heyman still ranked in the top ten in school history in career points (1,984 - ninth), points per game (25.1 - first), career rebounds (865 - 11th), rebounds per game (10.9 - fourth), and single-season scoring (third, fifth, and sixth).

As a professional, Heyman played in both the NBA and ABA. After being drafted by the New York Knicks as the No. 1 overall pick in 1963 (the only Jew to ever be picked No. 1 overall), Heyman was named to the NBA All-Rookie team in 1963-64 (he was the first ACC player to ever be named to the All-Rookie team). He was a bright spot for the lowly Knicks (22-58) as he averaged 15.4 points and 3.4 assists per game (16th in the league). The following year, the Knicks finished 31-49 and again missed the playoffs. In 1965-66, Heyman began the season with the Cincinnati Royals and then moved to the Philadelphia 76ers, which finished the season with a league-best record of 55-25. In the playoffs, the 76ers lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the eventual NBA champion Boston Celtics, 4-1.

In 1967, Heyman moved to the newly formed American Basketball Association. In 1967-68, Art had his best professional season when he played in 88 games, scored 1647 points (18.7 average), grabbed 603 rebounds (6.9), and passed for 334 assists (3.8), all career highs! That season, he helped lead the Pittsburgh Pipers to a league-best 54-24 record in the regular season. The Pipers defeated the New Orleans Buccaneers in the ABA Finals to become the league's first champions. Heyman played two more seasons in the ABA before retiring, finishing with 163 career ABA games.

Heyman also played for the 1961 U.S. Maccabiah team, and is a member of the Helms Hall of Fame and the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (located in Commack, New York). In 1998, Newsday ranked Heyman 16th on a list of the 25 most intriguing high school athletes from Long Island.

Rockville Center, New York

Career Dates:
Heyman played at Duke University from 1961-1963. He played in the NBA for the New York Knicks in 1963-65, and with the Cincinnati Royals and Philadelphia 76ers in 1965-66. Art played in the ABA for the New Jersey Americans and Pittsburgh Pipers in 1967-68, with the Minnesota Pipers in 1968-69, and for the Pittsburgh Condors and Miami Floridians in 1969-70.

Physical description:
6'5", 205 pounds

Career Statistics:
In the NBA:
Games: 147
Points: 1,519
Points Per Game: 10.3

Field Goals Made: 564
Field Goals Attempted: 1,322
Field Goal Percentage: .427

Free Throws Made: 391
Free Throws Attempted: 576
Free Throw Percentage: .679

Rebounds: 414
Rebounds Per Game: 2.8
Assists: 346
Assists Per Game: 2.4

Personal Fouls: 348
Disqualifications: 2
Turnovers: not available

In the ABA:
Games: 163
Points: 2,511
Points Per Game: 15.4

Field Goals Made: 854
Field Goals Attempted: 1,966
Field Goal Percentage: .428

3-Pointers Made: 72
3-Pointers Attempted: 256
3-Point Percentage: .281

Free Throws Made: 731
Free Throws Attempted: 1,021
Free Throw Percentage: .716

Rebounds: 1,047
Rebounds Per Game: 6.4
Assists: 513
Assists Per Game: 3.1

Personal Fouls: 415
Disqualifications: 3
Turnovers: 402 (incomplete record)

ABA playoffs:
Games: 22
Points: 417
Points Per Game: 19.0

Field Goals Made: 135
Field Goals Attempted: 286
Field Goal Percentage: .472

3-Pointers Made: 21
3-Pointers Attempted: 55
3-Point Percentage: .382

Free Throws Made: 126
Free Throws Attempted: 180
Free Throw Percentage: .700

Rebounds: 158
Rebounds Per Game: 7.2
Assists: 78
Assists Per Game: 3.5

Personal Fouls: 68
Disqualifications: 1
Turnovers: 71 (incomplete record)

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Great Jews in Sports by Robert Slater (New York: Jonathan David Publishers, 2000)
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
The Official NBA Encyclopedia: Third Edition, edited by Jan Hubbard (New York: Doubleday, 2000)
Inside Sports Magazine: College Basketball, by Mike Douchant with Jim Nantz (Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1997)
Ronald Encyclopedia of Basketball, edited by William G. Mokray (Ronald Press: 1962)
The Modern Encyclopedia of Basketball, edited by Zander Hollander (New York: Doubleday, 1979)
Legends of College Basketball: The 100 Greatest Players of All Time, by Mike DeCourcy (McGraw Hill, 2002)

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