SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Dan Roundfield, a former player of the Atlanta Hawks and three-time NBA All-Star, drowned off the Caribbean island of Aruba while helping his wife as she struggled in rough water. He was 59.
Roundfield, who played 11 professional seasons with Atlanta, the Indiana Pacers, the Detroit Pistons and the Washington Bullets, had been swimming with his wife, Bernie, off the southeastern tip of Aruba on Aug. 6 when they became caught in rough water beyond a protected reef area, said John Larmonie, a police spokesman on the southern Caribbean island.
The former All Star was apparently swept away in a strong current as he tried to help his struggling wife, Larmonie said. Police, firefighters, the Coast Guard and volunteers searched for him, finding his body about 90 minutes later, trapped by rocks underwater.
“It’s a real tragedy,” Larmonie said. “He drowned saving his wife.”
A six-year veteran with the Hawks from 1978-79 and from 1983-84, Danny was named to three NBA All-Star teams (1980-82) and second-team All-NBA (1979-80) during his time in Atlanta. He spent 11 seasons in the NBA, playing for the Pacers from 1976-78; the Pistons from 1984-85; and Bullets from 1985-87. In addition to his time with the Hawks, and was selected to five NBA All-Defensive teams.
Selected the 28th pick overall by Cleveland in the 1975 Draft, the Detroit native attended Chadsey High and played collegiately at Central Michigan University. Danny was the 1975 Mid-American Conference’s Player of the Year and was chosen twice to the MAC All-Conference team.
Bernie Roundfield was treated for shock after the incident and Larmonie said the government had provided a social worker to assist her and other family members as they remained on the island Tuesday.
His wife said he will be remembered as a family man.
“People knew he was a great husband, a great dad, a great grandfather,” Bernie Roundfield said. “They knew he would help his friends or any other person who needed help.”
Former Hawks teammate Dominique Wilkins called Roundfield the “most honest and upfront person I knew,” in a statement released by the team. “He taught me how to be a professional and took me under his wing,” he said. “My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, I will truly miss him.”
In addition to his wife, Roundfield is survived by his sons Christopher and Corey and two grandchildren.